First, Peg Irish. This piece, Fall Mosaic, has over 2000 1″ squares, some recycled from other hooked pieces, glued on to a backing. I’ve included a close-up so you can see the textures and variety including embellishments. Below that is another fall scene. You need to stand back to truly appreciate these wonderful pieces.
I have been at Hooked in the Mountains in Burlington Vermont this week. This is a spectacular rug show in a spectacular part of the coutry. There are over 500 rugs in the show! Doing a post on the ipad is a tedious process, so for now I’ll just give you a taste. This is Davey DeGraff’s marvellous depiction of her grandaughter, Ava Blossom.
This is Thanksgiving weekend in Canada. We were very fortunate to have most of our family with us to close up the cottage for the winter, to make and consume the traditional foods including GG’s turkey stuffing, and to enjoy the spectacular weather in southern Ontario. And GG was there at 95 to enjoy it all.
Carissa modelled some of the recent bags which have been on the blog. Here we are set to go for a walk and she is wearing her own green Part-time Backpack. Carissa tries out some of the new designs in her busy life and makes suggestions for changes. For this design we have added a clip to hold the straps together. But overall she reports that this bag converts easily from backpack to cross-body and is great to go from bicycle to board meeting. I have enough of this gorgeous leather for two more bags and the next will be slightly bigger than this one–a medium size. Here is the Full-time Backpack and a pair of the new mittens:And finally, another Part-time Backpack worn both as a backpack and a cross-body bag. And notice the pink mittens with sheep skin cuffs!
I’ve been making small cases with some leftover pieces. Normally I like lots of colour but I have fallen for these small neutral cases because of their understated elegance. They are the perfect size for throwing in a larger bag, but would easily take phone, keys, cards and more if you wanted to rely on them alone. Perfect for travel too. Each one is a slightly different leather, but all are lined with moss waxed canvas and have interior pockets for credit cards and licences. High quality metal zipper adds the perfect touch.
I have been saving this leather remnant. It is milk chocolate with a lovely hand and a great look. I thought it would make a good backpack, so I combined it with a pair of recycled brown leather pants to come up with this.
I’ve been exploring backpack designs since I had a request for one last year. I like the idea of a convertible backpack because of the versatility. This bag came together pretty quickly, but I was stuck on how to attach the straps. I tried various pieces of hardware to adjust the strap length and none looked right. Finally it came to me, when I really studied the leather and the design, that knotting the straps was the very best option. It allowed for a backpack mode as well as a shoulder bag and a cross-body bag. This is a casual everyday bag and the knots are a perfect solution.
This bag is 15.5″ tall, 13.5″ wide and 6″ deep. It is doubly secure–the strap snugs things in tight and then the flap closes with a magnetic clasp. It is lined with khaki denim and has three pockets, a zippered pocket with birdbrain graphics, a slip pocket behind and a leather phone pocket. At the backside of the bag is a small zippered pocket perfect for things you want to keep at hand like your phone or keys. This design is a prototype; there are some features I will modify, but many I like and will use in the next PT backpack.
I have owned a print of this painting for many years. I feel like I have always known it, so deeply is it imbedded, but actually saw the real thing for the first time at the National Gallery about 15 years ago. (As with other famous paintings which loom large in our imaginations, this painting is surprisingly small.) And I saw it again on Saturday at the Art Gallery of Ontario; it was part of an exhaustive retrospective of the work of Alexander Colville, the Canadian painter who died last year. Like much of his work, To Prince Edward Island, portrays a relationship and hints at the tension and isolation barely below the surface. The woman gazes off and the man is vulnerable and obscured behind. Other paintings are even more unflinching and bring a deep sense of foreboding and even terror, in spite of their somewhat ordinary subjects. Sarah Milroy’s 2013 article gives a good overview of Colville’s work and life and has a link to four of his most famous paintings, including Pacific, for me his most haunting.
In the afternoon I went to an open house of my favourite Canadian clothing designer. I’ve said here before how I limit my buying as much as possible to second-hand and hand made. And Jana’s work is some of the most inventive and easy to wear that I have found. Her fabrics are wonderful and her designs timeless. It was so good to see her again and be among others who were also interested in and support local design.
When I climbed on the train at the end of the day, I was full of ideas–and full of gratitude that this world of inspiration is so close.
We have been having warm and sunny weather in Ontario for the past couple of weeks. In fact, much nicer weather than we had all summer. But in spite of the sun and warmth, I’ve been thinking about winter and the pile of mittens in the studio is growing. I’ll admit making these mittens is mildly addictive–combining colour, pattern and texture to make something useful and playful. I’ve been making these mittens for several years now, and I love to hear people who have bought them tell me that their hands have never been so warm.
It is getting much harder to find good quality wool sweaters and scarves now; there is so much machine-made fibre, a sad substitution in every way. So for many of these pairs of mittens I am using the last of my favourite wool remnants (with some gratefully received donations from friends).
Below you can see the components which combine to make a pair of mittens: outer wool shell, wool scarf lining, wool and sheepskin cuffs. This pink is from a remnant I was lucky enough to purchase at the Geiger Mill in Austria this past spring where they produce beautiful boiled wool fabric. I have some other pieces in different colours–not sure yet what they will become.