the inspiration of Sheila Hicks

I visited the Textile Museum last week to see the Sheila Hicks exhibit, Material Voices. This link will take you to Hicks’ site with photos of the full range of her work. The large wrapped and coiled structures are exuberant, brightly coloured and impressive. The show in Toronto contains some of these and also excellent videos of the installation of her enormous architectural pieces.


Bas-relief panel for an architectural project.

But it was the small framed pieces which intrigued me, her minimes. From the museum: “Working on a small scale provides her with the freedom to investigate colour, line and form; to test new techniques and to respond directly to her lived experiences. Indeed when she leaves her house or studio, Hicks often carries with her the small loom she build in the 1950’s should inspiration arise.”

I loved the thought of carrying a small frame and weaving on the spot. Testing out ideas in small hooked pieces is something I’ve been doing in the last few months–although in the studio, not on location! I have two big projects in mind and I’m taking my time working things out in my small mats.

By the way, I’ve updated both the Rug Hooking Gallery and the Leather Gallery to include all my work for the last year. It’s good record of what I’ve tried and helps me see where I want to go next. Check these out by clicking the link under Navigation on the right hand side of the blog page.



To all those who visit this blog, I wish you and your close-ones the very best for 2017. The world seems an uncertain place these days–and I’m hoping along with Liz Lochhead  that “the light comes back”. We can work together to make it happen for climate, for civic harmony and for peace. Let’s each do our bit, whether big scale or small.


more hooked trees, sky and water

In the quiet after the Christmas rush, when everyone was on their way, I started to hook this landscape. Pulling the wool through linen is so satisfying–the colour and texture entertain part of my mind, while the rest wanders. This is my version of an island near our cottage. The craggy trees and vegetation stand heroically on the bald rock of the Canadian Shield. We are city-bound for much of the winter, but still visit the lake in memory.


I’m using a balance of wool, fleece and yarn in this piece. I’m determined to use what I have in the baskets in my studio. I want lots of variety for the sky and as I was hooking I thought of my stock of wool and cashmere sweaters, some perfectly felted and easy to run through the cutter. I’m going to add them to the sky and the water–I’ve piled some below. I’ll report back on how they worked out. 3-trees-1

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house at night–another colour block trivet

I finished my last big project as those of you who follow the blog will know.  So, I am in an in-between time and am working out ideas for the next rug by hooking small trivets. It’s a great way to think through your ideas and, because each trivet goes quickly, quite satisfying as well. Each is a little design statement. I’ve been watching episodes of The Queen and working with colour blocks. What a great way to spend the last dreary days of November. house-at-night-trivet


colour block hooking

There are three colour block pouches left in the store. If you are interested click on the on-line store under Navigation on the right of the page. colour-block-4

I’m now carrying the idea of colour blocks to some hooked trivets. This is the first in a series using the same colours as the pouches above. A great way to use left-over strips and ‘sketch’ ideas for a bigger piece. I’ve drawn up a few more and will post as I complete them.colour-block-house-1


sketching in wool

I’ve been working some ideas out in small wool ‘sketches’.  This is a great way to experiment with shape and colour and texture. These are not the best photos as it is very overcast and snowing here today!

The first is based on a white oak tree ring, the second on the memories of my time in a village in Spain this time last year. I like the repeated pattern in both pieces but not sure where either will take me. I’m going to try another version of the houses and colour blocks and see if I can work out what I’m not happy with in this first one. Maybe be more organized and methodical in my overlapping pattern? Or maybe fewer houses? I’ll try out some drawings this week. After all with snow on the ground, it’s a perfect hooking time.tree-ring


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I am a retired educator and recovered administrator. I have always been interested in fibre, first as a weaver, now as a rug hooker and screen printer. Over the last few years I have become passionate about giving a new life to cast-off wool and leather. This is my journal where I muse about my creative life.

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