Catherine Bussiere: Jenn & Cadence

it’s a cool morning
chances of frost last night
I decided yesterday to wait a couple more days before I transplant my sunflowers
I did transplant kale last week
my greenhouse is full of it
I like to let some plants go to seeds in the greenhouse
at the moment I have a carpet of young kale, dill, cilantro, and the odd lettuce

I woke up early this morning
sun right onto my bed
I finished a book that I had read a few years back
I like to reread sometimes
some books are like friends that you need to visit every now and then

I pulled the blankets off
– chilly –
I put them back on in a hurry
I assess the situation
t-shirt on the dresser, sweater near by, those cozy leggings that I could wear one more day
a farmhouse can be cooler in the spring then in the middle of winter
either you’re out of wood or you feel it’ll warm up soon enough, no need for fire
the wood stove is going on a diet

I visited my friend Jenn and her daughter Cadence a couple days ago
both will celebrate their birthday this week
one will be six, the other 35
I came to have this ongoing discussion about age
I was curious to know what Cadence had to say
she was thrilled to be interviewed

I have to tell you that Jenn is a potter
a few years back she left a secure job with Canada Post, build herself a cozy studio, and became a full time potter
she makes beautiful mugs, plates, bowls, vases, you name it
she started off selling at the local farmers market
when I visited her she had just completed a big order for a shop in PEI

Of course Jenn isn’t only a potter
she’s a mom, a gardener, a cook, she weaves, sows and knits, she teaches, she dances, she plays
she smiles and laughs easily
a lovely person

In a way it wasn’t much of a surprise when I asked her about age and aging that really, she didn’t think much about it. Here is what she had to say:
“My goal in life is to be in every moment, so to think so far in the future,
which is what I think when I think of age; it ends at some point, and that’s why people think about it … If I get ideas in my head about getting older I just roll down my imaginary window and I throw them out (laugh) like I’m driving a car.”

“I think that there’s so many things to do there’s no possibility that I will ever get them all done. So I trust in myself to be doing the things that I wanna be doing and that’s as good as I can get. I think that’s the best I can do, and if I start not doing those, I feel it, I just don’t feel like I’m in a good place, so then I change them (laugh).
I don’t know if it’s a good thing, I can’t make myself sit still.”

You’re an older lady; how do you see yourself?

“I wanna be a roaming around the world 80 year old … I wanna be fearless.”
“I think about attachment and I don’t want to be attach to anything”

Nice

Wiggly Cadence in her seat, mini cup of tea in hands gracefully answered my questions. She too doesn’t think much about age. Obviously there’s better things to think about when you’re five. Like her big brother not letting her play nintento at the level she’d like, how many friends she will invite to her upcoming birthday, and that hen that has been sitting on eggs for days… So much things to think about.

Cadence

What does age mean?
“How old you are.”

What is old?
“31 is old”

Is there a number you’re excited about?
“ 12 “

Why?
“I just like that number”

Is there something special that happens when you’re 12?
“well … it’s my birthday”

Jenn: what are you going to do when you are a grown up?
“ I will visit you sometimes “

mama’s heart swells, we drink more tea

I think I will visit someone today.

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Catherine Bussiere: Taroudant, another carpet ride

After a memorable stay in the desert (I missed last week’s blog for lack of internet but you will find a post on that experience here if you like) we are now in Taroudant, a town that the locals call “the small Marrakech”. We got off the bus two days ago after a long ride through more Atlas where stunning scenery of mountains and valleys, dry river beds, oasis, herds of sheep, dusty road stands with colorful potteries kept us entertained. The landscapes in these parts are rugged and beautiful.

As we got off the bus I started looking for a taxi when Thami, upon asking me where we were staying, offered us directions then took upon himself to lead us there and carry some of our luggage. When I offered Thami a tip for his service he promptly refused, welcoming us to his town and offering us to take a horse drawn carriage ride with him for a tour of the city the next morning at a very reasonable price. Why not. We’ve never done that.

If there is something I have to learn about morocco it’s to be open to whatever the day will give (or lead to). The ride with Thami didn’t last an hour as I had expected, it took most of the day. Not only did he show us the city rampart where here and there we hopped off to climb, get a good view and take photos (he knew of all the good spots for pictures) but he made us visit the souk and of course some shops. Now the nice thing about visiting shops with a tour guide is that you are made to feel that there is no obligation or pressure to buy anything. Have a look, ask questions, take pictures.

We visited a women cooperative where several products are made from the argan nut. I already had bought argan oil in Fes so there was no need for more. We visited a jewelry shop and there, since this region is famous for this art, and because we had not indulged yet, Charlotte and I splurged. We went into an ancient synagogue transformed into a art shop where I saw the biggest carpet show room I had seen yet on this trip along with several rooms filled with ancient and new art from Morocco and other African country.We might as well have stepped into Ali Baba’s cavern. I knew nothing there was within my budget but oh my, what a feast for the eyes.

We saw mountain of spices at the market, and several other small artisan shop. But what took the main part of our tour was yet another carpet shop owned by one of Thami’s relative. Soon after we got in and as a gentleman was about to show us some carpets (tea already on it’s way) we did let them know that we had already bought carpets and blanket earlier on the trip. In fact, that was the heavy piece of luggage that Thami helped us carry the night before. No problem my friends, just have a look, no need to buy.

Of course you know what is next. Next comes an array of beautiful thin blankets made of camel hair and cactus fiber. They are light and roll up to almost nothing. When will I ever have a chance to acquire such beauty. We ponder, we do not have enough cash, I plead that we must go back to the hostel and get a credit card if we are to make a purchase. I think that really we should finish our tour first. The gentleman doesn’t settle for that. It is Friday, couscous day, why don’t you join us for couscous. Finish the tour then come eat with us. Hum, homemade couscous is an invite no one should refuse. We agree, we finish the tour, we come back. I know already that we will get those blankets. After couscous and more tea we not only get three but four blankets.

Maybe because we are not good at bartering, maybe because we spend time, maybe because tourism is low at the moment, who knows, not only our gentleman lowers the price a little but he trows in a few cushion covers to go with the blankets and give Eric a Fatima hand for his mom. Hands are shaken, shukran (thank you) exchanged, we are all happy with our day. Moroccans depends on tourism and will do their best to give you a good time. I have seen here some of the most beautiful craft / art there is. Generation of men and women have passed down their skills from fathers to sons, mothers to daughters, and most of what you see has been made by hard working hands.

Thanks to Thami and extended family for a great day yesterday.

Here are some photos for you textile and art lover!

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ps. one more thing, we visited Amoon, a collaborative of Berber women in Taroudant today, there was one rug that was hooked!

Here is their website: anmoon.com

If you ever visit Taroudant do visit their shop.

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Catherine Bussiere: Chaouen blues

On the ferry we saw the edge of the Rif mountains
Africa
looking for a culture shock
looking for extra heat

we had been told many things
the cabs, the haggling, the food, the art, the hospitality
go to: Chefchaouen, Fes, Marrakech
do this, don’t do that
and
it won’t be much warmer

we experienced the cab first thing
an old Mercedes
the grand taxi
from Tangier port to the city
a good half hour drive
full speed

as soon as we step out a young boy is offering us direction
I know where I am going
I have my map
it’s around the corner
still he is one step ahead of me
pointing to where I am going
I tell him I have no money
which is true, I will need to find a bank first thing to get some local change
it doesn’t make any difference
one step ahead of me he goes

we’re at the hostel
still the boy and now another one are waiting around for us to be done with checking in
they want to take us to their uncle or other relative for dinner
we are exhausted and just want to settle in
it has been a long day
the clerk who knows them shoos them off

welcome to Morocco

Next day Chefchaouen or like people say Chaouen
the blue city
the Medina (the old city) is so pretty
just big enough to think you may get lost
but really, small, so you don’t

cats are everywhere
most of them look good
I think it’s a good sign
our hosts at the Riad are most welcoming
our house is your house
truly

we venture around
I click away
every door, every step
every shade of blue
catches my eye

there are shops everywhere
everything is beautiful
I don’t dare let my eye linger too much
the vendors know
they will catch me
once your caught it’s hard to get out

eventually I get caught
come to see this carpet shop one says
I will take you there
innocently I go
sure, let’s have a peak
we are treated the royal way
the place is large
mounds and mounds of carpets and blankets
all of them absolutely gorgeous
two men are busy picking several out to show
unrolling them on the floor
tea is offered
we agree
it’s a ritual
it’s also a trap

I really didn’t have any intention of buying anything that day
I was going to be smart and inform myself first
I had been told to bargain
I was not going to buy anything big
we are backpacking

you see where this is going

a couple hours later I came out with a large carpet
two small ones
and two blankets

did I bargain?
no
I couldn’t get myself to do it
the craftsmanship shown to me was so beautiful
how could I undermine it

later I felt a bit like a fool
my daughter and I, on another walk, got caught in a different shop
the vendors are so slick
so nice
like fine fisherman, they know how to hook you and slowly get you in
I am the biggest fish around
he offers prices that are way below what I just paid
I feel tired, I had enough
we manage to get out of this one empty handed

my daughter tells me what we got was way better
thanks Charlotte

there is much to adjust culture wise
as a foreigner I don’t want to offend anyone
we are in Muslim country
what do I know
much to learn

we are in Fes today
biggest Medina in the world
this time we will get lost

here are some Chaouen photos
enjoy

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Diane Krys: The Sweater

I’m in the thick of downsizing and transitioning my parents from the house they’ve lived in for over 40 years to a small condo. They are excited for the change so spirits are high despite the amount of physical and emotional work. It’s a sensitive transition going through a lifetime of possessions and then having to part with most of them. Our things can be so embedded with our histories, stories and identity.

For the last few days I’ve been working in my Mum’s old sewing and craft room which was my childhood bedroom. Talk about layers of history-my Elton John Captain Fantastic poster from the 70s is still clinging to one wall. Mum hasn’t done a lot of sewing or knitting in the last years so it’s become a catch-all space. A couple of old Singer sewing machines and stacks of boxes lined the walls and an assortment of bags filled the centre. It was a bit of an archaeological dig but as a maker with a penchant for vintage things it was potential treasure trove to me. In short order I spied a hand knit sweater I clearly remember Mum wearing a lot when we lived in Nova Scotia in the 60s. Now that I’m a knitter I could appreciate the complexity of the pattern and how well made it was. It was a sweater with a story and it was a lovely moment to be able to bring it out to Mum, who was working away in the living room, and share it’s history. It even fits her again!

IMG_7301I also found a stash of vintage knitting patterns and books going back to the 40s. They’re coming home with me- I’ll worry about my stash later! I marvel at how elegant and stylish they are especially the Vogue Knitting magazines from the UK.  Mum and Dad lived in Scotland for a couple of years when they were first married so some of the books are from 1955-57 when she was knitting up a storm with all those beautiful Scottish wools.

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At the end of a long dusty, day I was going through one last box of stuff destined for the Goodwill bag and to my delight I saw a little magazine bent open to reveal the very pattern for the sweater I unearthed earlier. Another one for my pile and another story.

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My parents have given themselves a number of months to transition to the new place. Even so, the impulse for us helpers is to rush, rush, rush, like all the goodness is waiting on the other side. Who doesn’t want to get through a move like this quickly, however, now that I’m in the middle of it, I think the process of getting there has value and can be a quality experience too. Possessions can be memory triggers and there is something very powerful and meaningful in allowing some time and space for those stories to be told. I’m so grateful for these “sweater” moments. I will savour them and they will no doubt become fodder for future reminiscing when we’re all sitting around their new condo. This move is a whole lot of work to be sure but I wouldn’t trade this time with my parents for anything.

 

Note: I have an article in the new Sept/Oct issue of Rug Hooking Magazine where I write about my combination hooking and felting work.  The article also features images from my Illusions, Revelations and Transformations solo show. See you next month and thanks for stopping in!

Catherine Bussiere: rhubarb and fiddle heads

I woke up to a warm morning
how glorious is a warm breezy morning in the country side
no bugs yet
no bitting bugs anyway

I put the kettle on for coffee
looked around… no husband
I thought, and I was right, he must be gone looking for fiddle heads

the water wasn’t even boiling that my son was up
to my surprised expression he responded: happy mother’s day
smile (awww)
then offered to make a smoothie

the smoothie was on it’s way when my daughter came down
with a gift and a card in her hand
!!!
awwwww
I really was not expecting anything

I like to make the most of my adorable, most willing to do something for me, children
I had invited my mother in law for brunch and was about to make the first rhubarb pie of the year
to the garden we go, help me gather enough for a couple pies
the rhubarb isn’t high yet
but with three sets of hands it didn’t take long
as we were picking my husband showed up with a bag filled with fiddle heads
it’s the first year that he gathers them
last fall he found edible mushrooms in the wood, now fiddle heads
there’s something quite fantastic about foraging
it has to be some of the best food one can eat

the meal consisted of fish cake Benedict (that is a fish cake with a poached egg and hollandaise sauce), steamed fiddle heads and rhubarb pie with vanilla ice cream for dessert
we had some white wine with cassis liquor and frozen strawberries to go with that
which may explain why this blog is posted a little later than usual
a nap had to follow that scrumptious meal

it is a blessing to be a mother
to honor the ones that have nurtured us and to nurture in return

Happy Mother’s Day!

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Catherine Bussiere: April = Easter Eggs

you’ve heard them sing

you’ve seen it thaw

it’s crazy how fast a season can change

one week we are buried under a blanket of snow

and the next the narcissus are poking their noses out

 

I was busy in my green house yesterday getting the ground ready, planting a few seeds

lettuce, spinach, beets

early greens that I hope to munch on in a month time

this morning thinking of Easter coming up

I looked for the eggs that were decorated last year

I wrote a blog then and I will share it again

if you have some old silk ties, or scarfs, or any silk with pretty patterns on it

round up some kids, empty a dozen eggs, and be ready to be awed

happy Sunday!

oh yes: the LINK

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Look with Lorna

Brenda made these great felted slippers for me. Love my Brenda Lou !

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James stopped in today to show us this sweater his wife made. Great job Sally !

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Diane Krys: Beginnings

I recently showed my friend Rita how to rug hook. It brought me right back to my first rug hooking experience. While nothing could be easier than pulling a loop, it can feel awkward until you get comfortable holding everything and handling the wool. I felt such tenderness for all beginners when I watched my friend take her hoop and hook out for their inaugural spin. She fumbled and wrestled a bit and was very intent on trying to make her loops the same height and perfectly spaced. I remember feeling the same way. In fact,once I had made some progress on my first piece, I wanted to go back and rip those wonky beginner loops right out. I’m glad I resisted the urge. They’re an important part of that rug’s story and I like that I can pinpoint my first steps.

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First loops,2004.

To start with I set Rita up with a bit of backing so she could noodle around. When she leaned over to show me her first doodles she was all too aware they were wiggly and wildly spaced. Where she saw imperfection, I saw beauty. There was a lovely innocent flourish to those sweeps of color. Honestly, I found them way more appealing than a tidy grid of loops. I didn’t think to take a specific photo of them at the time but later I made a few doodles of my own inspired by her baby steps.

IMG_5658To me, those inconsistent lines begged to be embellished, not ripped out, so I showed her an option to bring a bit of yarn in like another swoop of the paintbrush.

IMG_5668Now you might think I have something against neat loops and tidy rows but the reality is I like to rug hook corn rows too.  I don’t view any loop; big,small, tidy or wild, as right or wrong. They are all options and a design choice. Because there’s such a wide range of work you can create with rug hooking techniques,from functional floor coverings to art pieces,I like to play around and teach my hook more than one dance move.

We worked away side by side for a few hours and I found it refreshing to keep company with someone just starting out. I often find a lot of inspiration and charm in the unfiltered, uninhibited impulses of early work. We are all children again when we try something new.

Our afternoon had me thinking back to my earlier pieces and I realized my current rug hooking work has areas of wonky loops exactly like the ones I was so eager to pull out all those years ago. The difference now is I create them with intent. In certain projects I like mixing even rows and uniform loops with sections of kookiness for more textural variety.  Sometimes progress takes us right back to where we started.

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Detail of D.T., Diane Krys,2013

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Detail of Sawtooth, Diane Krys,2013

I spoke with Rita the other day. She hasn’t trimmed any wooly tails off the hooked surface yet because she’s unsure of the best way to cut them. She’s popping over this week and she’s anxious to mow them down. Personally, I can’t wait to see her shaggy pillow top. I’m thinking it might look kinda great.

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Serendipity, Diane Krys, 2006

Recent work on display at the Edmonton International Airport

http://flyeia.com/shop-dine-relax/relax/art/illusions-revelations-transformations

“It took me four years to paint like Raphael but a lifetime to paint like a child.”

Pablo Picasso

Thanks for stopping in!

Look with Lorna

As the Olympics’ start so does the excitement of cheering on our athletes and watching all the events.

So here in the studio we thought to celebrate the games we would have the knitting Olympics. Each of us has picked out a pattern we want to knit, and we have to finish it by the time the games are over.

I am doing a hat and maybe a matching cowl depending on how the hat goes. Brenda is knitting a beautiful sweater which I hope she doesn’t like and may want to give it away to someone. (Hint, Hint)

Megan is doing a pair of mittens and Norma a sweater. Deanne is working on a blanket.

So if you have a project that has been waiting for you to finish, now is the perfect time to get it out, watch the games and cheer on your country, and cheer us on too.

Go Canada Go

Here are the yarns we will be using

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Diane Krys: Thoughts on Home

Winter hones my nesting instincts. It reconnects me to my domestic landscape and gets me thinking about how we live in it. This year we made some changes to our open plan living, dining and  kitchen area. We parted with furniture that didn’t suit anymore and then rearranged the rest,editing and simplifying as we went. For me, there’s an aesthetic appeal to a simple layout and less furnishings but it’s just as much about taming the dust bunnies. I’d much rather be creating than cleaning!  At one point almost all the artwork was down and everything else sat in clusters all over the house waiting for a new spot.  A different seating arrangement  created new vantage points and suddenly everything needed to shift.  It took a few days but it was a brain teaser I enjoyed and I could feel the transformation with every move. It’s exciting to create with what you already have and make a space feel completely different. I find myself looking at our art and furnishings with new interest and appreciation. Just having a chair in a different place puts me in an afternoon sunbeam and has me purring like a cat. The house feels rejuvenated. It comforts and stimulates me anew. I feel rejuvenated!

To some degree we furnish our home environments like a puzzle and once we get things fitted and working it’s locked into place. It’s understandable,who has time to regularly do a wholesale switcharoo. We need our homes to provide a foundation of functionality as we go about our lives. Le Corbousier,a pioneer of modern architecture, believed houses are machines for living. I think both the structure and the interior furnishings should support our needs, interests and lifestyle. To me, it’s not about a particular style or precise order versus a scattering of possessions, our nests and arrangements express our individuality and ideally allow our homes to bring ease and joy into our daily lives. I want my home to feel like a nurturing hug when I walk through the door.

After a period of time with the most pleasing, practical set-up I still love to blow the puzzle apart to see what can be reconfigured. I believe different settings bring out different responses and interactions. I experienced a good lesson a few years ago at a week long wet felting workshop where we changed work tables and table mates every morning.  Why would the instructor take time to daily dismantle a perfectly functional set up? Surprise, surprise, as the week progressed I noticed things.

Although they were subtle, there were a lot of variables depending on where I worked in the studio space and who I was paired up with: outdoor views, interior architectural details, extroverts,introverts, proximity to a gorgeous buffet of class supplies or the instructor’s station. My work, productivity and creativity were all influenced. That daily exercise attuned my awareness to the different kinds of energy and opportunities that come with even a small change in space and surroundings.

My new home set up has inspired me to make a few new functional rug hooked textiles to spruce things up-something I haven’t done in a long time. It will be a nice contemplative stint of hooking while this year’s plans germinate and unfurl. My home is both an anchor and a launching pad.

Once a shipment of backing arrives in the mail I have my hook revved up and ready to jump into 8’ hallway runner.  In the meantime I’m using up my smaller pieces of backing to hook place mats. I like the cushy feel when I set down a plate or mug. To me,the most beautiful floor covering in the world is a hand hooked rug and I can’t wait to start mine. I hope the mailman is packin’ some backin’ tomorrow.IMG_5367IMG_5361IMG_5368

Catherine Bussiere: stormy day

it’s the first big one
it’s been announced for days
last week the teachers were planing for it
“it” being, fingers crossed, school closure tomorrow
but that is tomorrow
today is Sunday
winter storm day

lovely this week, my boys are home for the holidays
I did The Big Grocery (which will most likely be followed by several little ones)
I stocked up on spirits
cooking and baking and wrapping has kept us all busy

This year we agreed to dig out our percussion tree
originally it was a large branch on a stand that was covered with percussion instruments for a performance piece
over the years it has been used off and on as our christmas tree
it’s kinda like a Charlie Brown tree but without the needles
or like a Dr. Seuss tree if we attach evergreen branches on it
I’ll show you next week when it’s decorated
I love it

This year the plan is to dig out the old train set
that is my husband’s train set
it will be placed around the tree
we are wrapping all of our presents in boxes and plain craft paper
each box will be painted as buildings and will create a town

We did that once when the kids were little
they decorated all the boxes
it was great
now that they are grown up they want to do it again
I love it

yesterday I made salty pumpkin caramels for the first time
in all my years of baking and cooking and jelly making I never bothered once to get myself a candy thermometer but once I saw that recipe online (and the beautiful video that went with it) I just decided it was time
you don’t want to mess up when it comes to candy
you can very much do it but, hey, I thought I was ready for a new utensil

today I’ve cut them up
just to give you an idea, those caramel contain: cream, sugar, maple syrup, butter, pumpkin, pumpkin seeds, spices, and yes, corse salt to decorate, and enhance the whole melt in your mouth bring me to heaven experience

absolutely delicious
clic on CARAMEL for the link

alright, off I go, making tamales tonight!

Happy early Holidays

– hope there’s no school tomorrow –

 

 

 

 

Look with Lorna

I was going over to the bank during the Fibre Arts Festival and this is what I saw, this sweet picture of Kathy sitting outside after a long day from the Workshop.

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At the Zonta fair Claire was there selling her beautiful spun yarns, mittens and hats. Loving the chicken hat.

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Look with Lorna

Our Grand opening is today for the knitting studio. We have 15 % off  all yarns for in store customers and great door prizes. For our online customers we have 10 % off all yarns, just use the coupon code KNIT on your order form. So stop in and enjoy one of Janey’s delicious Cinnamon buns.

Just arrived this week are these beautiful  Noro Hitsuji yarns.

 

 

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Look with Lorna

Last week Catherine was here for the afternoon doing some photography for the studio and her daughter Charlotte came along for a visit.  She was going to write her driver’s license later that day so she had her hair all pined up so it would be curly for her picture. I remember my Mother doing this with me only she used brown paper bags to tie the hair up. I had to laugh that she was trying to get her hair to have curls and I was trying to get mine straight.

Charlotte is crafty but has never tried crocheting before until Brenda was showing us this cute scarf she had made the day before. Well it wasn’t long before Brenda had Charlotte all set up and crocheting. She finished her scarf in a couple of hours and was exciting about making more for Christmas presents.

 

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Catherine Bussiere: boat rides and pies

it’s a drizzly day today
the sun is trying hard to break through
birds are hopping around delighted by all the worms coming out of the ground
my cats are sleeping
radio is playing
it’s a lovely Sunday morning

we’ve been invited my husband and I to a boat ride later today
If you’re thinking fancy styling boat think again
my friend who is man of all trade has inherited this old pontoon party boat
every time he invites us for a ride it is somewhat of an adventure
the tide is too low
we just about run out of gas
you never know
being a mechanic you feel safe enough that if something breaks he can repair it
plus we’re going down a river
we all can swim
the river’s edge is never too far

one thing that is always a given is that there will be plenty of delicious food
my friends love to eat and so do we

to add to the picnic today I will bring a fresh baked rhubarb pie
I have a huge patch of rhubarb in my garden and I just ignore the fact that rhubarb has a season and that the season may be over
as long as I see rhubarb there is potential for pies

Here is my recipe for 3 double crust pies

For the crust:

5 1/2 cups of flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 pound of shortening
about 1 cup of cold water with 1 tsp apple cider vinegar (sometimes I mix an egg in my water)

Mix all dry ingredients well. Cut in the shortening until the shortening bits look like bits of oats. Add the liquid. Mix as little as you can to make it hold.
Put aside in the fridge until ready to roll.

Rhubarb filling:

You will need about 6 cups of cut rhubarb per pie and the sugar ratio is 1 cup of sugar for 4 cups of rhubarb. It’s neither too sweet or too tart.

18 cups of cubed rhubarb
4 1/2 cups of sugar
3/4 cups of flour (or tapioca)

The flour or tapioca acts as a thickening agent. Cooked rhubarb is really runny and no matter what, the juice from my pies always bubbles over and makes a mess in my oven.
If smoke is coming out of my kitchen chances are I’m cooking rhubarb pie.

Alright, I better smoke my kitchen

 

 

Diane Krys: Hacktivism

It was June of 2004 when I decided to try my hand at  rug hooking. I was in Nova Scotia for a dear aunt’s funeral and looking to busy my mind and hands to help soothe the pain. Once I returned home, rug hooking became my grief counsellor and a solitary summer obsession until I connected with a local group come fall. A woman I barely knew gifted me with a bag of her leftover wool strips thinking a newbie might enjoy a little extra variety. Inspired by this gesture, I was soon rummaging through my stash to offer a women struggling to find suitable colors a bag of wool  from a beautiful old plaid  skirt I had cut up for my project. Some months later I found myself standing in front of two finished pieces by these women.  In one,I saw all the colors and textures in the  bag of leftovers now migrating into my work.  In the other, my repurposed skirt had become a vest of pitch perfect blues in a quirky self portrait. This tangible map of connection pleased me and warmed me. It was the precise moment when I  first glimpsed into the soul of the fiber world and felt a real connection.

I was reminded of this experience as I listened to Otto Von Busch’s presentation at the Surface Design Association’s conference last month in San Antonio, Texas.  Otto is a self described fashion hacktivist: hacker, activitst. theorist. He has done a lot of work rethinking the autocratic nature of the fashion industry and our relationship to it.  Whether we dress from  couture collections or chain stores we’re choosing from a predesigned, already made  selection. Unlike a true hacker, he’s not looking to disrupt and destroy the fashion industry, instead, he wants to hack into this one way dialogue and reshape the conversation.

He says every time you follow a recipe and cook you improve your skills and become a little better in the kitchen. Conversely, you could set up an entire Ikea showroom   and not be one step closer to becoming a furniture maker. Mastering the allen key doesn’t really expand ability and bring anything new to the table.   Building on this analogy he’s created a series of interventions and  projects  to interrupt  fashion’s “operating system” and invite the user to engage as  a co-creator to provide experiences  that  serve to develop community, build personal skills and create a sense of empowerment and  well being.

His  mending project provides an example. The first step in this group gathering was to cut a piece from your damaged clothing to pass on to someone else. By doing so a completely different story could develop to imbue the process and the clothing  with new meaning ,as well as,  create a greater sense of connection to each other.  This idea comes from the history of the Zen Buddist’s symbolic rakusu robe. Legend says the sixteen or more strips of cloth used to make this hanging neck piece were sewn together to represent the rice fields Buddha passed through on his pilgrimage.(wikipedia)  In Otto Von Busch’s  essay titled, “Taking Refuge In Restoration” he writes, “The pieces were scavenged from the robes of deceased monks, as a material memento mori but also as a proof of lineage. The student is not alone but wears the tradition and community as second skin.”  I can attest to  the connective powers  and comfort in  a  shared piece of cloth.

While Otto expounded on his  challenges to the  fashion machine and our relationship rescue, I began to think of how  choosing to hand make any commodity(or part of it) rather than buy a ready made, mass produced version could be considered an act of  hacktivism.  Hand work  intercepts and diverts the  flow of mass production and consumption into a side channel where you can be a part of the action. And you can engage in varying degrees.  You may not want to become a potter to replace  a dime store set of diishes but you might consider an afternoon with friends or family in  a DIY ceramics studio  painting a set of plates. If clothing is the second skin perhaps the things in our homes we use and surround ourselves with is our third skin and it too can benefit from the same critical thinking and some of the fashion hacktivism Otto puts forward.

Reflecting on my own experiences in the larger fiber community, I believe we have  history in some of the values and enriching  interactions Otto’s fashion hacktivism is aiming to  inject.  If we look to what our own hand made activities generate for our well being, what else  could we infuse with the  same quality of experience?  Any   challenge  to accepted norms starts by asking  questions.  Does this thing, organization, relationship,person enrich me and my life.  Does it support my values, beliefs, goals and dreams?If not,how could I “hack” into this dialogue and change the conversation to something more meaningful and stimulating.

It’s all so personal which is really the point.  We all have the ability to change the story or at least part of it and become hacktivists in our own domain. The power of  change starts with the power of one.

Listening to Otto Von Busch’s presentation was like a quarter turn on my inner kaleidoscope; a new thinking  pattern emerges, familiar yet  different.

Zipper by Diane Krys,2013

Sawtooth by Diane Krys,2013

Diane Krys 2013

Related Links:

Below are specific links to a few  projects Otto spoke about in his presentation.  For more information, his website selfpassage.org provides a well documented look at all of his work.

Taking refuge in restoration.

Community Repair.

DaleSkoHack ( the shoe factory experiment)

Recyclopedia 

He  cites other events  like Wendy Tremeayne’s Swap o Rama Rama as an admirable example  of how the DIY movement and fashion can come together to bring about a richer experience.

The Surface Design Association hosted Otto Von Busch along with  other speakers as part of their 2013 conference.

 

Thanks for stopping in!

 

 

Look with Lorna

Last week Meryl join our Thursday rug hooking group. She was working on one of Deanne patterns and buying supplies for her new rug.

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Stocking up for the summer !

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Diane Krys: A Visit with Gloria Daly

I had the pleasure of meeting and visiting fiber artist Gloria  Daly in her lovely Duncan, B.C. studio this spring. Using old blankets, she was busy creating works of art for an upcoming exhibit titled, “Blanket Statement: No Shame in Patches”. When I find old wool blankets the rug hooker in me wants to immediately cut them into hookable strips.  It was so interesting  to see another artist’s vision and process.  Gloria uses a wide range of fiber and surface design techniques as evidenced by the number of highly skilled,beautiful creations that fill her studio. I thought it was inspiration worth sharing. Thank you Gloria!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The  “Blanket Statement: No Shame in Patches” exhibit is scheduled for  the Mississippi  Valley Textile Museum, Almonte, Ontario in 2017. More information and  a gallery of Gloria Daly’s  other work  can be found on her website, Studio G Art.

Note:  All photographs taken and posted with permission.

Thanks for stopping in!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Look with Lorna

Are you looking for a great gift idea ?  Deanne has purchased these wooden frames that would be great for framing small hooked rugs. Wonderful way to give that  personal touch for a birthday or wedding gift.

 

 

Don’t forget our great selections of cards for any occasion.

 

 

Look with Lorna

We have a new frame at the studio, Hand Made Tilting Gripper Floor Stand

 

Guess Who ?

Deanne had a hair cut the other day. When she told us she was going short  Brenda and I were both a bit hesitant but were we wrong, we love it, looks beautiful.

 

 

 

Catherine Bussiere: Easter Eggs

A few years ago as I was visiting Louisiana I came upon this workshop on decorating eggs for Easter.

It is simple and the results are simply stunning.

Here are the things you will need:

– Thin colorful 100% silk with pattern (or not). Ties are often made of silk and can be found at second hand store and or in your husband’s closet.

– Eggs previously emptied and well rinsed

– Plain cotton squares big enough to cover the eggs

– Twist ties or thread and needle

– A bowl of water

– Flower petals or small leaves (optional)

First cut a silk square large enough to cover the egg, put in in water, squeeze excess water. Cover the egg placing the brighter side of material towards the egg

Using a twist tie secure the material as tight as possible to the egg

If you wish you may place some petals or small leaves on the egg before placing the material

Like this

Instead of using twist ties you can sew the material around the egg.

Cover each egg again with a piece of cotton and secure with a twist tie (this will prevent the dyes from the silk to bleed into one another). Place in a pot, cover with water.

Since the eggs are filled with air they will float. Place something that will fit in your pot over the eggs (like an aluminum pie plate) and place something heavy on it to keep the eggs immerse in water (don’t worry, they will not break). Bring to a boil and simmer for 30 minutes.

Remove eggs, cool down, remove cotton cover…

Remove silk cover…

et voila!

This can be done with kids and is incredibly satisfying.

Have fun.

Catherine Bussiere: Oatcakes

These are my favorite oatcakes
A friend of mine brought me a batch years ago
she then gave me the recipe
which I have shared several times
Buttery and just sweet enough, they are the perfect companion to that afternoon tea

here it is

1 cup of softened butter
1/2 cup of sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 cup of oatmeal
1 cup of flour
a pinch of salt

Combine butter, sugar and vanilla.
Add flour, oatmeal and salt.
Roll between wax paper to about 1/4”
Cut into squares.
Bake for 10 minutes at 375˚

Want to dress them up
melt some chocolate
and dip them in
or zigzag over

• you may need to share this recipe

 

Catherine Bussiere: to catch a whirlwind

I spent the day with Deanne yesterday
As you may know she has created a new online course about hooking people
She asked me out of the blue a week ago if we could shoot a video
I didn’t ask much, I said sure, when

There’s no point asking too much
I like working with Deanne
it’s always a little bit of a challenge and it’s always fun
so I just say yes

Working with her is like trying to capture a whirlwind
you never quite know which way it’s gonna go
Be ready, place your nets around and hope for the best

I had to be bossy a couple time
I actually had to take her sharpie away from her
when she wasn’t able to stop herself from moving on when the cameras were not rolling
Sure enough a sharpie magically appeared in her hands again
There is no stopping her

I tell you

I love seeing someone create
it is beautiful and somewhat magical all at once
In front of me over the course of the day
I saw different figures appear
as Deanne was talking away
I heard the story of these woolen figure come to life
In a group of sisters one got a flamboyant red dress
Not to be left out, pouting
the one in plain blue
was given a colorful scarf
She seemed content after that

No doubt
whoever is in for that course
is in for a good time
No one gets left out

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Catherine Bussiere: snow, tea and milk fibre

It’s a wet damp winter wonderland this morning
a mist filled wind is slowly working it’s magic on the trees
depending on how the weather goes
nature will be covered in bling or go back to mud
it’s a Cinderella kind of morning I guess
it could go either way

As far as I’m concern I know pretty well what’s on my board today
I have a hint of a cold naggingly scratching the back of my throat
I’m going to take it easy
drink some tea
have a sauna
watch a movie

that sounds like a great plan

In other news
to be random
I got some – Oh my God this is So Soft – wool at Deanne’s on Friday
I never buy wool.
I’m neither a knitter, a hooker or a crochet(er)
but this wool was on the counter begging to be touched
and it was less than half price
so I picked it up
read the label which said : 60% Milk Fibre
Milk fibre?
Have you ever heard of that.
Then: 30% silk and 10% cashmere
You can just imagine
So I picked up five bundles of an ochre color
with no plan except maybe
to ship it to my sister so she can knit me something
but
last night
bundled up with my two favorite girls and a sleeping son
while watching Funny Face
I attempted to knit (I was just practicing)
I don’t even have knitting needles around
I had to use chopstick
But it was fun and the feeling of that Milk Fibre…
well, you’ll just have to try it someday

Last but not least for anyone with a cold (or not)
Yogi tea (not the bear, the other yogi)

Bring 1 1/2 cup of water to a boil with: 3 cloves, 3 black peppercorn, 4 cardamon seeds, a pinch of powdered ginger, 1/2 stick of cinnamon. Boil for 5 minutes then add 1 tsp of black tea. Simmer for 2 more minutes. Add a little milk and a little honey. Very tasty.

 
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Hooking People is Coming Soon

Dear Diary, After an overwhelming response today from people who are interested in hooking people I have decided to try to offer the course in Mid March after Wild with Wool. I have been looking closely at the People rugs I have hooked over the years and one that stands out for me is Standing Before the Monument. It is a beautiful rug. I think I will use it as the title  picture for the course. Every time I look at it, I think, “My goodness, you made that.”  That is the thing about making art. When we look at what we made sometimes we are lucky and it surprises us.

This only happens once in a while but when it does you really hang on to that feeling for a long time. It is a feeling you savour.

Today in the studio we had fifteen new shelves come in. They are all white squares so  that we can display our wools and yarns better. After a year or two of improving our yarn selection, we have now started improving our cloth selection and wanted the right shelves to display it better. Brenda and Lorna and I lugged all afternoon and left the studio in a terrible mess. We’ll go back at it tomorrow. We love changing things around but fifteen shelves is a heft project. We are all tired tonight I am sure.

Remember tomorrow is our Fibre Arts Group, come if you can, 10 am to 2pm…….

standingmonument

Diane Krys: Hands

Most nights I read before I go to sleep even if it’s just a quick flip through one of the many magazines piled by my bed side. Right before I start reading I like to slather my hands with a nice luxurious hand cream. A delicate fragrance wafts as I turn the pages; some TLC for my paws and a little aromatherapy before I drift off  into the land of nod.

The funny thing is my hands don’t look like they get any attention at all. My nails are short and uneven. Working with wooly fibers in the dry Alberta climate takes a toll as well. One look at my sturdy digits it’s clear the gene for long graceful fingers bypassed me completely. I don’t give it much thought but I’ve always considered my hands unattractive.

On that note, I confess to an impulsive decision last fall.  In the final few days before my trip and presentation at The Nova Scotia Fiber Art Festival, excitement and nerves got the best of me and I decided my  hands just wouldn’t do. Before you could say “fake nails”, I was sitting in front of an esthetician getting some “work” done. My nails were lengthened and sculpted  into the polished look of my dreams.   I see many who wear gel nails naturally and gracefully but I couldn’t get used to them.  In fact, my hands felt  completely impaired.  I handled everything differently from a pen to a piece of wool. I knew I couldn’t do any serious work with them: I could barely tie a shoelace. Unfortunately(or fortunately for most) they’re chemically fixed so they don’t come off at whim. I must say I’ve never thought more about my hands than those  weeks  when me and my fake nails were bonded together traveling through Nova Scotia.

I realized the irony in showing and celebrating my hand made work yet somehow feeling the very hands that made it weren’t up to par.  I thought about how much my life revolves around my hands;  how they allow me to express my inner world through all the things I make.  They bring my creativity to life and let my soul breathe fresh air. I see my father’s hands in mine. We have the same odd curvature and taper in each of our little fingers. My mother always told me it was the first thing she noticed when I was born.

Oddly enough, this small, silly pursuit of perfection served to enlighten; fakery finds authenticity. I found love for a perceived personal imperfection.  I fully appreciate my hands just the way they are. I missed them so when they were under the beauty parlor spell. It’s my practice and my joy to work with them everyday.

When I massage my hands an night, I work in moisture and work out  kinks from hours spent holding a hook or manipulating fibers.  It’s a ritual; a transition to sleep and an homage to what brings me joy. I ease my mind out of a busy day with an inspiring magazine or a good novel and I lay my hands and heart to rest in a fragrant field: gratitude, rest and a promise for tomorrow to give my best to make it beautiful with what I have.

Organic Formations#1, Diane Krys, 2013

Diane Krys: A Short Yarn About Blankets

(One evening during the holidays,  I walked by our t.v. room and saw my favorite trio of seniors (mum, dad and auntie)  bundled up in  my blankets watching a movie. It felt like I was swaddling them with a wooly hug from afar. At one point, I was on a roll knitting blankets. You might even say I was obsessed.   I was a relatively new knitter at the time, looking to branch out from obsessively making scarves.  The way I explore and learn: make one, make one hundred!   Plus, we had recently converted a spare bedroom into a t.v. cave so I really did need one or two or ten blankets.

My training wheels came off my knitting needles when I made those blankets and I got to know the world of yarn in a more thorough way.  Their bigger scale gave me a different perspective and a lot more practice.  Although I didn’t  think about it at the time, repetition  builds skill and skill can exponentially move ideas forward. Creativity is not always so mysterious. Try a new technique or material, build some skill and new ideas will come. My combination knit/hook pieces  wouldn’t have developed  without  my blanket making marathon.

 (Detail from Jasper, Diane Krys, 2012)

I tried various types of needles as well. I abandoned metal needles in favor of bamboo and wood, and experimented with circulars(which I quite like). I made blankets with everything from sock yarn to luxury blends. It’s easy to fall in love with a ball of yarn but you really  have to work with it to fully understand and know it.    Colorways and textures can unfold in surprising streaks; some yarns knit up as light and soft as a feather, others are dense and heavy but oh so cosy.  Others need a little coaxing with needle size and gauge to get the right feel. A swatch of blended cashmere  against your cheek makes you forget the price tag. Who cares, just wrap me up from head to toe!

A couple of blankets were knit in smaller squares and then pieced together. It made it easy to increase the pattern from skimpy to a ‘mummified on the couch’ size. Mixing bold and unexpected colorways kept me entertained. I never knew how the yarns would blend until I knit them up and no two squares are alike. Piecing them to balance the riot of color was an enjoyable  puzzle.

When I finished with small squares  I tried my hand at crocheting by making one giant blanket sized granny square using my stash of sock yarn. It’s light, airy  and surprisingly warm, and I no longer feel guilty that I haven’t learned to knit socks yet.

I found a new rhythm  making these blankets.  Another beat to influence  other  fiber work. It’s like building a song  by laying down and layering different tracks. No matter how complex  I envision a future mix, it’s soul satisfying simply having  practical home made blankets  to use and give the cave a spot of color.  It’s their greatest honor to comfort; for movie nights, lazy day naps; they even make a pretty good fort.   The pile is right there by the t.v. so if you come over, grab one and make yourself at home.

Catherine Bussiere: Felting

cover cat

on a stormy December day
near the very end of the year
most like a blizzard really
how comforting to look at felting
in itself it makes you think of warmth
cozy colorful bundles of warmth
I have not wrapped myself in it
rather played with it
creating little people
it became contagious
my kids got to it
and a cat was made
and a princess was made
and so was a mermaid
the plain white Christmas stockings were hit by the needles
in an ongoing process that may evolve over the years
how fun
and refreshing
to see my teens
get away from a screen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4 rooms

by Catherine Bussiere

there is a distant buzz, a chatter, laughter
walking through the first two rooms
wools of all colors
on shelves, hanging, posing
woman, looking, feeling, pondering
busy hands cutting, arranging, tying
I walk in another room
the dying kitchen invites me to dream
long skein of wool hanging
pots, dye, washing machine, filled with promises
the chatter is louder
I enter the last room
it is everywhere
in all forms and shapes
busy hooks
backing of all kinds
piles of wool cuttings
a sense of community, of joy, of ease
and the best
the infinite variation of design
from the hands holding the hook

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Look with Lorna

There was a lady in the studio last week with a knitted scraf on that caught Brenda’s atttention. Once she asked her about it Brenda went online found the pattern and whipped up the scarf on the weekend. I must say it turned out quite nice, and it gave her a chance to try out some new yarn that arrived.

MAGIC SCARF

1  100 gram skein

Cast on 36 stitches on round needle or divide on three needles.

Knit every round until yarn is almost used up.  This will now measure 2 1/2 to 3 feet.  Save a bit to make a tassel for the ends if desired

Cast off stitches  in the following manner, *knit one stitch put on right needle, knit one stitch put on right needle, pull first knit stitch over second stitch and drop, next stitch which is on left needle let it drop, knit next stitch and put on right needle, pull first stitch over that stitch and drop*   , repeat to last stich.  Make sure every second stitch is now a dropped stitch.  Now begin to pull the stiches out all the way to the cast on edge.  Useing tail of yarn that is on each end draw the end in to make a circular neat end.  Make a tassel and attach to these ends.

 

Enjoy your scarf!

 

Needle work from away

My dad has a knack for finding treasures.
He is an artist, was an art teacher and has a good eye for things.
The last time I visited him I found two beautiful needle work framed on his wall.
When I asked where they came from (obviously from away, I’d never seen anything like it) he replied that he had bought the two pieces at a second hand store for $2 each framed and that he wasn’t sure where they were from but that it was probably from Central or South America.

The pieces really caught my eye and I had to admire the fine needle work that was done to create them. How by layering the different fabrics and neatly sewing them a design was created. It made me think of some beautiful quilt I had admired during the Fibre Festival here in Amherst recently. I love to see how one can be so creative with so little. A needle, some fabric, time.

After a little research I did find similar work on the web.
The pieces are called Mola and are created by the Kuna women from Panama.
To find more about their art and culture you can follow this link:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mola_%28art_form%29

For more images click on the artwork below and enjoy several examples of these beautiful Molas. Maybe they will inspire you!

Catherine

Mounting a rug

This is what a masonite box mounting look like.

As an alternative to glue you may use small nails or mat pins. The great thing with using nails is that you can interchange your rugs!

 

 

Look with Lorna

Brenda made this delicious rhubarb upside down cake for our Hooking People workshop this week.

2 Cups Rhubarb ( cut up in cubes )

1 Cup sugar

1 small package of strawberry jello

1 white cake mix

Line a 9×13 pan with parchment paper, spread the rhubarb over the parchment paper, then mix the sugar and jello (dry) together and sprinkle over the rhubarb. Mix the cake as directed on box ,then pour over the rhubarb,sugar and jello mixture.Bake at 350 for 45 minutes or until golden brown.

Enjoy !

playing house

Dear Diary, I love to play with my wool.  Folding and bundling wool into beautiful combinations is right up there with hooking the rug for me. I like putting colours together, imagining them in a mat even if it is not my own.  You can learn so much about wool just from handling it, piling it together in different combinations. Last Saturday, I cleaned the yard a little but was lead back to my studio to play with my wool. I decided I wanted to make bundles so I got right at it, and made three bags full. At the end of the day I was actually physically sore from folding. I did not know it was possible! It is.

Getting lost in mindless playfulness is one of the nicest ways to spend a day. I remember as a kid fixing up a house in our basement to play in. I would use old broken furniture, cardboard boxes and move things around, pick some posies in a jar for the table. I remember my daughter doing a similar thing in our barn.  In a way making those bundles felt like “playing house” which I played everyday for years when I was a girl. It might not have been the same activity but it had the same feeling. Time passed. I was completely in the moment, lost in thought and ideas. It is a kind of freedom to get lost in your self, and forget yourself at the same time.

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

Fleece Artist feathers my nest

Dear Diary, some people do things so well. For years I have sold yarns from the fleece wrist. Today I visited her website and saw this beautiful image that I thought you might enjoy. I have really enjoyed watching people do interesting things with yarn in photography. At Christmas the fleece wrist sent out a card with yarn in martini glasses. It was playful, then Brenda and I spotted this image on their website of  woollen eggs in the nest. I have used fleece artist yarns for years, loved them, enjoyed them, and continue to do so. Kathryn, and her daughters run the company, importing and dying their own special woollens. I love working with them because they answer the phone, they are around, they are their own business. They know beauty.

In my work I like to deal with people who create, and they create beautiful wools.

from the fleece artist website. I love working with people who like to make things beautiful

Image from Fleece Artist website

Diane Krys: Deck the Halls

During this busy season our rug hooking projects and normal creative endeavors often get squeezed right out of the picture.  Instead of resenting a daunting holiday “to do” list, embrace it. Look it right in the eye and tell it, “We are going to sing through this with joy and creativity.”

1. Deck the halls with boughs of holly, fa la la la la….la la la la….

Only a real tree will do. My topiary style Christmas tree was the answer to chewed decorations when Baboo was a pup. His palate has matured and now when your back is turned he’s into expensive dark chocolate. At least I can have a full size tree. Over the last years I switch it up between the mini and maxi look.   Mini tree has evolved to include a knit cozy inspired by Magda Sayeg and all those gangsta knittas.

2. Tis the season to be jolly, fa la la la la…la la la la…

Good point. It’s a season, spread out the jolly.   I like to turn some of my “to do’s” into socials. My mum, sister and I get together for baking. Sure all the kibitzing can hinder productivity but who needs twelve different kinds of cookies anyways?  Three out of twelve is just fine  as long as they’re delicious.

We always have at least a few pre Christmas play dates with our nieces.  Gingerbread houses, pompom making, whatever. Their unbridled creativity and enthusiasm remind me that finding the magic of the season doesn’t have to be complicated.

 

3. Don we now our gay apparel, fa la la la la…la la la la…

I don’t need new frocks but my outdoor trees do.  As if I could stop at only one tree cozy.

 

While I’m outside, I’m using my Christmas tree off cuts in a Suessical style creation for my front doorstep. Be sure to watch The Grinch Who Stole Christmas if only to brush up on your nonsensical vocabulary…..pantootlers or jimjamblers anyone?

 

4. Troll the ancient Yule tide carol, fa la la la la…la la la la…

Surf itunes for music to keep you movin’and groovin’. Florence and the Machine mixed with a few of Ella Fitzgerald’s swinging Christmas classics should do the trick.

5. See the blazing Yule before us, fa la la la…la la la la…

No pressure, but it’s only 15 days until Christmas. Deep breaths, have another talk with “the list.” Be tough and threaten severe cuts if it turns into a killjoy.

6. Strike the harp and join the chorus, fa la la la la…la la la la…

If I’m joining the crowds for some Christmas shopping, I’m heading to places that warm  my heart while I empty my wallet. For me, that’s farmer’s markets, hand made gift shows and independent shops.  Surrounded by such inspiration I must knit up a few hats to gift.  Hey, I also have 15 NIGHTS before Christmas. Revisit no. 5 if need be.

7. Follow Deanne in merry measure, fa la la la la…la la la la…

Hooked stars add a touch of whimsy and are quick to make. I’m going to display a mix of my hand made ornaments by my front door. Because of the shortage in the baked goods department, I’ll offer them to guests like a plate of cookies so they can choose one or two to take home.

 

8. Make some time for Yule tide treasures, fa la la la la…la la la la…

What special community events are happening?  Do I really need to knit a cozy for the exterior of my house? Yes, but I’ll do it next year. Instead I’ll check out our local “what’s on guide” and take some time to marvel at all the Christmas light displays around town.  Support and enjoy the efforts of others!

9. Fast away the old year passes, fa la la la la…la la la la…

Ain’t that the truth. I better wrap this up.

10. Hail the new, ye lads and lasses, fa la la la la…la la la la…

MERRY CHRISTMAS and HAPPY NEW YEAR..

FA LA LA LA LA…LA LA LA LA!

I wish everyone a happy and creative holiday season!

 

 

just the right amount

Dear Diary, Sometimes there is a time to know when to call it a day, or a night, when it is time to go home.

My mother in law always said, “Two hours is a long enough visit.” If you were having supper it could be longer. There is a little truth in this, and Robert and I sometimes remind ourselves of it. We laugh about it but know there is a grain of truth in it.

Last week Brenda and I went to a beautiful fine art craft show in the little city near here. It was full of juried artists. She bought herself some silver, I bought myself some wool. Each in it’s own form. We wandered, and pondered and looked closely at things. We left inspired.

As we exited the parking lot, I said, “You need anything in the city…ie. big box store or mall? . We both agreed, lets hit the road. On the way I said, ” Should we see if there is another sale somewhere?” and Brenda said, “Do we want to?” ?knowing that following something beautiful, with something okay is no good.

So we agreed we would go the Bell in for tea, and we did, a beautiful lunch in a 160 year old stone house in a little village called Dorchester. I asked if the ice cream was really home made as it was listed under home made desserts and they said it was and I ordered and Brenda watched as I ate four scoops of home made butterscotch ice cream. I left a little scoop as I could not finish it.

I figured that I ate in total twice as much as her….. that’s what we are like.

She eats like a bird though, I eat like a horse. A bird and a horse, but we like each other, ?and we both agree that things should finish with the same beauty they begin with.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Diane Krys: Thoughts on creativity….Castaways

Thoughts on creativity:   Castaways 

My fiber fusion  of separate parts always leaves a few  castaways.

In a nutshell, my home decorating style is, “shoreline of  flotsam and jetsam tossed with art and  design”.   Currently,  a front entrance table harbors  the  skilled  craftsmanship  of   Catfishmoon  bowls filled with   extra   felted beads,    a  charming thrift shop find that  looks like   a child’s school project,   and three palm sized  rocks  painted in  bright delicate patterns that I bought inexpensively from a local stationary store.

I quickly grouped them  based on color but   I’m also enjoying an inspiring happenstance of interesting contrasts;   bold ,polished, professional pottery anchored by    a primitive clay piece randomly incised with muted polka dots;     small scale     patterns  adrift    larger  motifs;   tactile, plush beads nestled inside a  hard, shiny, painted vessel.

Cast offs  are  imbued with a certain freedom.   With a project complete, they’re no longer burdened with expectation.  They can  hang out anywhere, float around at whim, add a flourish  or reinvent   themselves to   spark a completely new idea; they’re lollygaggers and  catalysts.

A  bowl of soft beads is eye candy for  me and a magnet for  little fingers.  My   nieces playfully scoop a handful   every time they scamper through the front door.   Recently, the youngest  rearranged the entire table terrain;  adding  beads  between  new   rock formations and separating  the  nesting bowls   so each one could cradle a few treasures.     Girls after my own heart!

An ebb  and flow brings new things to the surface and  changes the landscape.   Tides turn my home into an ever fluctuating  creative playground.   When  studio  jetsam meets  domestic shorelines I don’t think about it too deeply, I just fool around and  mix it in.  It’s  a gentle stretch for my mind. It  warms me up for a main event, and if all goes well, I’ll have a few more castaways to entertain me.

by Diane Krys
dkff@shaw.ca

Any other ideas for  leftovers, extras or an abundant stash?

 

Extra squares from  rug hooked collage work became a hanging mobile.  It hung on my front door for a time. When it moved back into the house,  I  pinned  hand dyed   wool to the wall for a new  backdrop and added  a few vintage flower pins.   Those map pins Deanne talked about are fantastic for these  kinds of experiments.

catherine bussiere..you make pretty pictures

Dear Diary, I have a friend and her name is Catherine Bussiere…but she is from Quebec originally so if you want to talk to her, you call her Katrine…here is what I think of her. I think she is creative, interesting, energetic and dynamic. I think she is an artist, an unpretentious hard working one who knows how to wear a pair of boots.

I think she is a great cook. She is someone who knows what she’s got and appreciates what she has. She knows how to live simply, but appreciates the good life, good food, good conversation, good books….

She is tiny but mighty I think with a creative will. She is a film maker, mother, and friend, who tends the earth, and turns her hands at whatever comes her way… she’s curious and kind.

Because she is a film maker, we made a little film story about rug hooking a few years ago called the Art of Rug Hooking. I am so glad we did it. When I look at it again, it gives me pleasure to know we did it.

She also made my DVD as lovely as it. Last night I went to youtube and found another video she made, a film really, called Handmade in Nova Scotia…here is a little beauty for you….

 

Here is the Art of Rug Hooking Video we made two years ago….

 

an hour at love, me boutique in Halifax

Celebrate the handmade

Dear Diary, I know you all love the handmade, the funky bits of interesting, that a little soul and her(his) two hands have put together so I thought I’d tell you about my visit to
Love me Boutique on Birmingham Street in Halifax the other day.

My husband’s cousin Anne has a cafe (I’ll show you that another day) right around the corner and I  had a little time to spend before meeting him there . At first I walked by love, me nearly missing it. It is up a few steps and the sign is small and pretty.  But I looked up at the light in the window and I thought, “Someone is doing something interesting there.” So I walked back and went in. It was hand made, modern, young, and hip craft from all across Canada.  These are the things I held in my hand and was tempted by….

….silk screened linen table runner with simple designs of silhouettes

…gorgeous cards and stationary

…felted rocks

…perfectly sewn camera straps in funky patterns

I really took my time and looked closely at all the bounty. I find holding, and touching the work that other people made with their hands a very personal thing.

I was there for a full hour and I looked at everything and I plan to go back next time, look some more and buy something…this time I just left with a tiny fridge magnet which I lost somewhere between  the boutique and Amherst.

The thing that really inspired me was the woman running the shop. She was the owner. She was open five days a week in downtown Halifax, off Spring Garden, and she was selling only Canadian Handmade. She was making a statement,. She was taking a risk. She was doing exactly what she wanted. That always inspires me….

When I came back  I visited her blog, and found some good advice on it for people who want to create and sell.  With Chera’s permission I have copied it here for you…

 

The following tips for people interested in selling their work are From Chera Kingston, of

Love, Me Boutique
at 1539 Birmingham Street, in Halifax

 

“A couple of tips I learned as a maker and learned here as a business owner which pertains to makers are:

  • “You gotta spend money to make money” is a farce (for the most part). There are plenty of inexpensive and free ways to do marketing, display, or production.
  • Do only what you can do well. As it relates to creating: Every once in awhile I get someone who comes in with a “bag of delights” (aka a little of this, a little of that). Pick one look/style or one medium and stick with it. As it relates to business: don’t do fancy website or e-commerce or open a physical shop or studio until you know you can do it really well and stay within your financial means.
  • Take risks but only one calculated risk at a time. As it relates to being a creator: Shows and fairs are expensive (booth fees, display items, packaging etc.). Pick one show, go to it and see if those customers seem to be your kind of customer, talk to other artisans about the show and then if it is a good fit, sign up for the next one of its kind. Add only one or two shows at a time. Don’t try and do it all, you will burn out and burn out of money faster than you can make it.
  • Have a map but learn to be flexible.
  • Find a support network. As a maker “import” to Halifax, I didn’t have a group of art school chums to network and socialize with so I networked with other artisans at the Farmer’s Market. They were my go-to peeps for questions about cash flow, craft shows, marketing, product pricing etc. It is also good to find like minded souls just to hang with because being an artist working from home is very lonely. Make sure you get out to things: openings, crafts shows you are not in, events held by shops like mine (we do the occasional artist meet and greet).
  • Keep in touch with your industry. Know what is going on and who is who.
  • Keep in touch with your customers. See my first point if you think it takes money. It doesn’t. (Fbook, Twitter, blogging…) It just takes time.
  • Find a time management style that works for you. Remember all those hats? Well even if we don’t like our accounting hat or our marketing hat, we gotta put ‘em on. Find a way to work in the things that have to get done with the things you like getting done. (It is hard. I struggle with that regularily.)
  • Finally, do what you gotta do so you can do what you love to do. When I began simply C I jumped in two feet first thinking I would be able to support myself right away. It didn’t (doesn’t) work that way. And it doesn’t work that way in a physical shop either. If you have a day job – figure a way you might be able to do your creating while keeping a stable pay cheque coming in. Think outside the box: job sharing, part time work, consulting, contract work.”

 

seeing people as they are

snow falls....

Dear Diary, Someone asked me yesterday if this rug depicted Phyllis Blumel, a local woman who sells jams at the market. I said no but it looks like her. The rug , made over five years ago now, was inspired by a photograph by Ted Pritchard in the Halifax Herald. It was taken  of a group of people , some of whom were survivors of the Halifax Explosion, standing before a monument of the explosion.

As it turned out though many of the women in the rug looked like older women I knew from the community. One day I was telling a visitor that the woman in the brown coat and blue hat reminded me of Marge Bowles, a neighbor at the shore. The visitor said, “Well I don’t know Marge Bowles but that sure looks like Faith Lusby to me. ” I was astounded, because Marge Bowles and Faith Lusby were sisters.  I was not just seeing the resemblance myself. It was actually there.

I think what I learned from this rug is that peoples habits, stances, movements etc sink into you. You see them and depict them without ever knowing that that is what you are doing. If you are observing all the time, your observations will emerge without you ever knowing the “hows” or the “whys” of it. If you want to hook people, watch people.

Queen of the Kitchen Rug

Dear Diary,

I finished hooking on the Queen of the Kitchen rug this morning.  It began with a small sketch which we now have available on an apron. I’ll let you know as soon as we get them on the online shop.  The rug , was a lot like the view of the room ion terms of tone of colour. It is upbeat and energetic, using strong bright colours.

Last night I managed to teach myself how to upload a group of photos at once to the blog posts. I’ll tell you about hooking this rug ….

I used lime green sub from the fleece artist to outline the leaves. It gives a sheen that I like, making the outlining stand out a little.

I always make the mistake of hooking in the white too early. When I added the red, it ‘s red dust coated the white. I have done this countless times, and I bet I’ll do it again.

As I started to dress her, I wanted a bold outfit underneath that white apron. The apron says a lot about her but you know, she is more than that white apron. She’s all about coral, and pattern, and being who she is. She may be Queen of the kitchen, but she’s got a lot going on besides bread dough and chicken stew.

When you hook letters, hook them close together in a colour that stands out from the background. I used a six cut so that I could do a double row.

As always when hooking people if there is something in her hand, that says a lot. She’s holding an apple. If you read the last bit about her outfit, and put two and two together, well you’ll know her even better.

The border background was the most difficult colour to choose. This colours indescribable really but it works perfect…it has to blend with the rug but the letters, hooked tightly together in six cut of a blanket weight wool have to stand out.

And her face…. a good close up so you can see the mixed tans

and here she is before she is clipped and pressed and ready to hang, a preview. You can read those letters but she is the real subject, the real focus.

Every woman who has a kitchen seems to like reign in it.

Are you queen of the kitchen?