I sat in the window of a local cafe and sketched this scribbly fragment of a great old building. It’s sunny, but still very cold in my part of the world and it’s much nicer to sketch from the warmth of a cafe sipping a hot drink. I was fresh from a visit to the dentist and it felt good to let the freezing thaw out while I traced the lines of the limestone and brick. I haven’t been sketching very much for one reason and another–but I’ve taken on a small project which will have me sketching local buildings in the next few weeks. This is just a start–but with sun in the forecast for the next few days, I hope to post some more.
It has been a busy month and I haven’t been in the studio very much. But it’s been happy news that has kept me away–a new granddaughter and a little holiday. And now I’m home and back in the groove.
Here finally, are some new things. Most of these are orders, but if you see something you like, let me know. There may be enough leather to make another. This first is another version of this convertible backpack. This one is in a great colour combination of smoky grey-green and black. Like the first one, this backpack converts to a cross-body bag.
And here are a few large pouches. This first one has a wristlet and the following two are waiting for shoulder straps. The blue leather is a small piece I found in Savannah at Measure and I am delighted at its weight and texture. Check in the next few days for a bigger bag out of this great leather… and some new things. I plan to update the shop and have some sale items available by the end of the month.
I was uploading the last two pieces to the Rug Hooking Gallery (on the menu bar at the top of the page) and I realized that I had not added this piece done about a year ago called Houses on the Canal, based on my memories of Amsterdam. I decided to post it here as well, because it is interesting to see the evolution from this piece to the most recent two pieces. While I was at it, I thought I’d post a pouch I made using a piece of denim from my 20 year old NAF NAF coat and some coloured remnants. This vintage black denim is great. This was a chance to explore colour and shape — and just plain fun.
The second larger geometric village is finished. These two pieces measure 16.5″ x 10″ and the hooking butts up to a 2″ border of wool fabric which is sewn on to the backing first. This piece is the next in a series of colour block landscapes which I first talked about a year ago, and have been thinking about for much longer. I’m not sure why the idea has such a hold on me, but it is intriguing to work with light and shadow, bright and dull, warm and cool, vertical and horizontal–putting some parts of the landscape in secondary roles, why other parts have solos. And even after I took this picture I made some changes to the piece.
Ineke Berlyn is a quilter whom I’ve mentioned before. She too loved the geometric villages of Ton Schulten and below is one of her pieces from her book Landscape in Contemporary Quilts.
And here is one of my favourite New Yorker covers by Lonni Sue Johnson — of course featuring houses, Manhattan apartment buildings in fact. I’ve shown this cover on the blog before but it’s worth looking at again with its gorgeous lemon sky and its lovely interplay of vertical and horizontal, dull and bright.
I’m back and working on another geometric village, again inspired by the paintings of Ton Schulten. I’ve always been intrigued by geometrics and these village pieces are a challenge–a great lesson in value and composition. I’m aiming for a focal point and an interesting pattern of lights and darks. This is the second in a series of pillows.
One of the projects we worked on in a recent fibre retreat was designing pouches. Everyone got a blank pouch made of unbleached canvas and lined with unbleached cotton. The pouches had zippers inserted but were not sew up as you can see in the photos below. Stamps, fabric paint, stencils, markers, watercolour pencils, appliqé fabric and more were available. Here you can see us working away and then below some of the finished pouches. And at bottom is my first attempt at embroidery since I embroidered my name on my gym shorts in Grade 9. It’s something I hope to do more of. I found the book on my shelves to give me a hand.
The highlight of January was a trip to a fibre retreat in Georgia and a visit to Savannah. I especially loved the historic district and the fabric shops. Below are some of the gems of the neighbourhood where we stayed. Laneway houses are a particular favourite of mine, especially old ones. (Alas no time to sketch.)
There was lots of textile and leather inspiration at the Savannah School of Art and Design store.
And even more inspiration on the coast…
I know that I said I would post more regularly this year…but the month of January has had some amazing times and some hard ones–both of which kept me away from here. So on this second-last day of the month, I’m starting again with the completed Village Mat. You can see here how it began with the sweater patches sewn on the backing. I learned a few things with this first prototype: next time I will add a little stuffing under the sweaters or else double them so that they are more at the height of the hooking. I tried needle felting on top of the sweater pieces, but did not like the effect at all. I do think the sweater patch idea has possibilities, especially with striped and patterned sweaters. This piece is going to be a pillow and I already have the border fabric sewn on, so I think the gentle pressure of the filled piece will help to smooth out the occasional sweater ripple.
I’ll be starting a new one soon. So stay tuned. And thanks for your patience. xine <3
Here is the finished travel backpack. I’ve made a version of this bag a couple of times before, but the advantage of this one is it converts to a cross-body bag…very easily. I’m going to live with the knots at the end of the straps for now and see how it goes, but may modify and use metal adjusters instead for a cleaner look. I like to try out a new bag and see how it performs. This one is unlined with one pocket inside and two on the outside. It easily holds my Ipad and sketching supplies as well as the usual essentials. I like the zippered outside pocket which is securely worn against my back. I’ll let you know the verdict after 10 days of travel.
I am taking this piece to a textile retreat this coming week, so will work on the sky and water once I am there. But I wanted to share this updated photo with you so you can see how it is coming together. I hope I’ll get some ideas for stitching/embellishing the sweater pieces from the others at the retreat.
I am also hoping to have my travel bag done in time to take on the trip. Fingers crossed, I’ll post a photo of the completed bag tomorrow. And I have a third project to share with you before I go. Until tomorrow…