I find if I paint what I am making, as limited as my skills are, it helps me to understand what I am doing. I am not working from a pattern or a prototype, but just a general sense of what the piece should look like and what the leather seems to dictate. The top is my new carry-on bag, quite a big one. I combined leather remnants and a black pebbly jacket. The bottom two, espresso and grape, as I have photographed before.
Molly Peacock is one of my favourite writers. (www.mollypeacock.org). Check out her biography, Paradise Piece by Piece, and her How to Read a Poem. You won’t be disappointed. Her meditation on craft from her latest book The Paper Garden captures what I think is the magic of creating.
“Craft is engaging. It results in a product. The mind works in a state of meditation in craft, almost the way we half-meditate in physical exercise. There is a marvelously obsessive nature to craft that allows a person to dive down through the ocean of everyday life to a seafloor of meditative making. It is an antidote to what ails you…is a key to understanding one’s personal wealth–and acknowledging that wealth in others, too.” (p.288)
The lovely photo of my hooking basket was taken by my friend, Nora.
This is the second in a series of bird chair seats. I began this one at Green Mountain and finished up hooking yesterday. Still must steam and sew on the backing before it can rest on a chair. The glowy bits are dyed nylons and silk ribbon from Jennifer.
My son sent me this image, a double joke for me since I am so adamant about spelling and of course I have been ‘putting birds on things’ for years. These days there are lots of jokes about birds on handmade items, including this which you have no doubt seen. So, for the record, here are some much older bird images which have been in our house forever.
This bird was painted on the crock in Picton Canada West, pre-Confederation Ontario. This was a pre-marriage gift from my husband, 35 years ago. I have always loved the image of the jaunty robin, painted on with cobalt.
Here are the original labels which I used when I was weaving, again over 30 years ago. They are beautiful woven labels which I still use for special items.
And I am still at it–putting birds on things. It wasn’t until I wrote this post that I realized how much my polka dot bird had been influenced by the lovely cobalt birds those women in Picton painted over 150 years ago.
I started making hooked bags with purchased leather straps and gradually began adding leather to make them lighter and more interesting. Then I began making my own straps. On the right is a selection of my hooked bags.
I still love the texture and variation of the hooked bag, but have also become smitten with leather. These two bags are made from upholstery remnants and leather jackets.
The linings are as enjoyable to make as the bags. I often use silk screened cotton canvas, but inside the expresso bag is wonderful Waverly fabric.
I have been asked how you go about purchasing one of these bags or the canvas bags which I wrote about earlier. If you are interested, please leave a comment with your email.
1. Elizabeth Hay’s luminous new novel, Alone in the Classroom. I was hoping to read the book and then give it to a friend for her birthday, but I find I am underlining passages and reading excerpts aloud. So I am about to order my second copy. I also have Emma Ruby-Sachs’ new book waiting. I heard her interview on Q and was entranced.
2. Heidi Swanson’s quinoa salad which you can find here. I had to make several substitutions as I didn’t have all the ingredients. It was still wonderful and got raves from my family.
3. Moo stickers. I’ve been meaning to post about these for a while. They are great fun to make and I’ve been using stickers of my hooking and drawing for labels, envelope closures etc.
4. A wonderful party to celebrate my son’s upcoming wedding. Family and old friends whom I haven’t seen for ages were there. Many thanks to my sister and her partner for That’s Amore!
This doesn’t seem like much progress for 5 days of hooking. But if you subtract the designing time, the pulling out time and the visiting time, it doesn’t seem so bad. I’m set now for the rest of the hooking, but I think the border will take as long as the centre of the rug.
Here is the second corner I finished. I always try to include a bird in my rugs, sometimes hidden. But this fellow is in a prominent place- the rug seemed to need a little levity.