It is time for a good old fashioned letter as summer begins. So long June, here comes July. A lot of you are in your gardens and I admire that. My gardens are small containers. I can never seem to get the hang of weeding. I guess I am too busy pulling loops instead of weeds. Years ago I wrote letters all the time. My friends said I wrote just like I talked. Lately most of the writing I do is for this website. I still try to send out thank you notes, but very rarely do I write a letter. Just here…
Inspiration seems to be everywhere for me in June. It is in the first days of summer that I really feel the beauty of the season. You go from lilacs to lupins to roses. Does it get any better? I love the scent of roses in the air as I go by on my bicycle.
I have been busy pulling loops of patterns from the Pattern of the Month Club. I hooked two last week and hope to hook a couple of more in the coming weeks. Hooking does not stop over the summer for me. It changes. I work smaller. I sometimes use my laptop frame instead of my cheticamp. I find I still need that meditation of pulling the loops and when I go a while with out it I notice it. I begin to stir the pot, my own pot, so to speak. Hooking for me is a comfort and since I learned I rarely stop for any length of time. I hook because it comforts me.
Today the studio has been full of visitors. We have taught a few people how to hook but others came for a yard of linen, or to pick up a new kit. Some fell in love with a swatch of wool and had to have it. Most are on their way somewhere. That is the lovely thing about Amherst, it is on the way if you travel through the maritimes. We are in the centre of NS, NB, and PEI. I love the sound the voices and the oohs and ahas that people make as they look around. It makes me feel special, like I did something! Having a small business here in town is a blessing for me. I love having somewhere to go!
It is a real joy to see people come in and see in real life what they have been looking at on the internet. When it comes to life for them it is fun to be here and see it happen. I have been busy working on the private learning website for Pattern of the Month Club and WoolBox Club members. It is called Woolcake and will also be available as a separate subscription offering how to videos, lessons, tips and inspiration. It will be updated weekly. It is a lot of work but I am excited by it. I felt it was time to take this idea and run with it. It has been in the making for over three years. Usually I am good at getting things off the ground quickly but this one has been stewing a long time.
We have plenty of fun and foolishness here as you can se. Having Georgina and Denise constantly in everyday means that the studio has a lot more continuity. It also means for me that I have time to hook and to play with new ideas, and get pictures of us that make no sense what so ever.
When I think of the things that have inspired me lately I would have to say:
- Maudie, the movie about Maude Lewis’s life.
- The smell of wild roses.
- A bunch of books about how to draw things.
- The old Lighthouse in Spencer’s Island that is preserved by the community.
- Driving my bicycle down the yellow line on old country roads with no cars around.
Well that is just a few things lately that got me rolling. I hope you are finding lots in your community to inspire you. That’s one of our jobs in life, to inspire each other.
That is my letter for today…..
As always, I am happy you read this, Thanks so much, Deanne
Pattern of the Month Club
Once a month you will get a surprise in the mail…
Click on the above picture to hear Deanne describe the Pattern of the Month Club
$24.91 usd (subject to change) Shipping included
Do not forget when you join Pattern of the month you get FREE access to
WOOLCAKE , our online learning portal
Every once in a while I like to review the library of rugs I made. I did that today and found a few of theses I would like to share with you. Everything I have made influences what I am now making. Sometimes I cannot see it, but I know it is there. It is good to look back at your old work and review it because I think it can renew your current work in surprising ways. Sometimes you might even forget what you did really well.
I have just finished a series of houses and we have decided to have a party here in early June to celebrate it. Stay tuned…The details are coming.
I am two things, actually, like all of you I am many things. People are this lovely combination of many interests, ideas, values, loves and passions. That is what makes them so interesting. What makes them so beautiful. For most of us though a few things stand out.
Myself I am an artist and an entrepreneur. I like creating, whether it is a rug as art, or a job for a woman in my community. It is still making. I can see it. It is real.
Sometimes people wonder why I started a woman’s clothing store. They ask it like it is oddest thing I could have done. This morning I came up with one of the answers. It is about beauty. I think that most people like to feel beautiful. They like to feel good about themselves.
I have loved clothes since I was a little girl and they came second hand as my cousin’s hand me downs in bags from my Aunt in St. Johns. I have always enjoyed picking out what I was going to wear “where”. I remember my life in outfits, my polka dress that I wore to my sister’s wedding when I was three, my gold knit suit on the first day of school, my navy paisley skirt for the speech contest in grade seven, the tan jacket I was wearing the night I met my husband. It goes on. You have your own list I am sure.
Clothes to me are more than just stuff. They can help transform the way I walk, the way, the way I hold myself, the way I feel. Call me shallow. I don’t care. I love a pair of high heels and a bit of lipstick. They are another layer of ornament and decoration, another way of creating beauty. I love working with women and reminding them to reframe the way they speak and feel about themselves as they buy clothes. At 30 Church Women’s Clothing, there are no saggy arms, or fat arses, instead they just part of us, the way we are, and none of us are perfect. We are built for beauty if we want it. We just have to choose it.
I feel that this love of beauty is no different than my love of beauty across the street at my studio. At the rug hooking studio I try to make the wool the best it can be. When I come up with some little sketch, I dress it up with ornamentation and colour and texture. I try to make the most of what I have just like I want the woman who is getting dressed across the street to make the most of what she has. We all have something, we just have to see it and make the best of it. Beauty is what I seek.
So these two things I do, one across the street from each other are really not that different after all. My belief that beauty matters carries the same weight in either place. I am not foolish enough to believe that clothes make the woman, but I am certain that the woman can make the clothes.
I know that the birds in the trees and the flowers in the field are dressed more beautifully than any of us. Yet I believe that I was put here to create beauty everyday, in any way that I can, and that sometimes two things that do not seem to belong to each other are really very integral.
So I cross the street over and over again each day because I believe that beauty matters and that it needs to be redefined, so that as women, and as artists, we can own it.
At Deanne’s studio, we are always pleased when customers bring in their finished pieces to show us their work. Nilda dropped in a few weeks ago to let us have a peek at her work in progress and to select more perfect colours. Georgina then took a photo of her almost finished winter scene and many of you saw it posted on the studio FB page.
I was nicely surprised when Nilda came in again last Tuesday with not just one completed project, but two. Her hand drawn winter scene is shimmery and icy with sparkly snow, but warm and cozy at the same time. The skies tell us that there may be more snow in the way. There is so much Canadian winter in this piece!
Her second piece really surprised me. I had seen a small image that was the inspiration, centred around a birch tree, but as you can see, it is so much more. Aren’t the colours amazing? Quite a bit of studio dyed jersey made it into this fabulous piece.
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!
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.
As I sit here on a Monday morning in my office I see many small projects that need attending to, yet the only thing I think I really want to do is hook a rug so that is what I’ll do. I think I will put on something small because we have hardly any small rugs left in the studio right now. I want to always make sure that there is something here for everybody and that my pieces are affordable. It is something I have always managed to do.
We are in the process of creating a new Making Time Journal . It will be Volume two. You can get a sneak peek of it below on my desk. It is exciting to see a second volume come to fruition. Mary Williams has done much of the selecting and editing for it. It is a perpetual calendar and we are creating it rather than a yearly calendar this year. It has a little space beside each day for you to write a little note, or keep your calendar, keep track of birthdays etc. Each week there is a new writing and an image.
We also just got a new online lesson ready, it is a swimmers workshop! This one will include a downloadable pattern. So keep your eyes peeled for the new online course on the Swimmers. Last week we had a real live swimmers course in the studio. Everyone made each swimmer someone they knew or remembered so it was fun to see the personalities develop through out the day.
Many of you have been asking about Thirty Church, The Women’s Store. We are busy trying to get our inventory in and ready but it is coming in slower than we’d like. There are somethings we do not have control over. It is frustrating waiting but twit we must. We are in the process of making a webpage for it so you’ll see what great clothes we have and you can shop online if you like.
So as it rains outside I am here writing you a note, thinking of what rug I might put on my frame, and honestly, thinking about my lunch!
You can’t be inspired all the time. It is ok to be hooking, writing, or creating and thinking about your lunch.
Take it from someone who knows.
Theresa made her own tea today! and it was easy for her…..
Lorna is getting her own office, you see. She’ll be across the street at Thirty Church The Women’s Store.
I got a new bicycle..what does that have to do with anything?
Well see I wanted to be able to leave my bike at the studio but there was no room in my office because I shared it as the studio tea kitchen. The tea kitchen was hidden away a bit and if you wanted to make your own tea customers sometimes felt it was a bit awkward to come into my little space.
I was a little jealous of Lorna getting her own office with room for her bike.
See where this is going?
So we have been saying for months it might be nice to have the tea kitchen in our knitting room as we have a sink out there too. Last week Lorna, Brenda and I changed things around. Now I can fit my bike and my rug frame in my office. Yippee!
The tea kitchen is wide open in the knitting room. When you come you’ll feel comfortable storming the kettle on your own and making a drop of tea for yourself, just like Theresa did today. So come on over….we got the little drawers stocked with all kinds of herbals, and of course there is red rose or king kole.
Coffee too…french press is easy. Cream is in the fridge, help yourself.
The oatcakes are still on the table in the front of the studio. We want to give you incentive to wander around.
I have my very own office , first time ever.
I’m a big girl now.
Can’t let that Lorna out do me.
if we are busy you can help yourself, in fact we encourage you to
There’s Theresa with her cuppa
Lorna says…”You can’t out do me missy”
my frame and my bicycle …welcome home Deanne they say
Katie Allman from Ohio has asked that we post a video with a welcome to the studio for her group that is coming for a workshop next fall.
Welcome to the Studio…..A Five Minute Video Tour
So come join us for a workshop… see them here…Workshops 2014
Lots of news going on in the shop.
We have been busy with orders because with every order over $50 we are sending a pair of rug hooking scissors as a gift. As well we are drawing up all the patterns for the mystery pattern club. If you have been thinking of joining you should. We add lots of little extras for club members , including prize draws and a private Facebook page where you can see the progress of the patterns. I just finished the pattern for February and writing the members a note. I also created a few little tuckables…that is things we can tuck in the package.
We now have a steady group on our Wild with Wool Facebook Page.There are plenty of postings there. This page is set up only for members of the Monthly Mystery Pattern Club and for people who have taken our online courses, including the new Abstract Class. It is a great way to keep in touch with other members of the club or people you have taken an online course from.
You can join the Mystery Pattern Club here. We are drawing up February’s mystery pattern today and I am really happy with it. We feel that the members of this club deserve some special treatment so last month we drew for an original hooked rug. Peggy Blazek from Indianapolis was the winner and she chose the Red Anemone shown here. Peggy has been to the studio for a workshop all the way from Indianapolis so we are especially pleased to have mailed her one of my original hooked rugs. I was so pleased to see it mailed off. We will be doing more draws for club members because they are special.
All our blog readers are special of course and that is why tomorrow we draw for the Blundstones so we will post the winner next week. It is good to have a bit of cheer in February.
For Valentines and until February 22 when you order $50 worth of supplies from the online shop we will include a pair of stainless steel rug hooking scissors (value $22) in your order. I am really serious when I say we appreciate our customers. I do. All of us t the studio do. Thank you so much for your ongoing support.
Remember Wild with Wool online Course starts February 28!
I know we got a lot going on but there are a lot of you out there hooking rugs and you all like something different.
This rug has been mailed to Nystery Pattern Club Member Peggy Blazek. I wonder what we’ll draw for next. Brenda and Megan get your thinking caps on.
My rug is wearing well by the back door. I love the softness under foot when I go barefoot. All rug hookers deserves a rug on the floor. Why not?
I hope you will join the Mystery Pattern Club
A few weeks ago I went to Carsand Mosher in Truro. I had been thinking of buying a new pocket camera for quite a while. I did not walk in with the intention of buying a camera. I was just interested in knowing what was available and was considering it.
I have dealt with Carsand Mosher years ago. They did my slides of my rugs for years before digital images were the thing. They are a local company and they know their cameras.
When I went in I said that I was just curious and Carla gave me all the time I needed. She answered about forty questions for me, spending at least a half an hour with me. She showed me how to connect the wireless camera to my phone. Once I decided to buy it she said that they would be there ifI had any questions. What I am really buying is their knowledge and support, their service. It comes with the camera.
Good service will never go out of style. People like Carla who know their stuff and graciously share it with their customers making small town shopping such a pleasure.
As I venture out beyond my comfort zone and work with my husband to start a women’s clothing store across the street I really want to make sure we carry the idea of good service across the road. Today we tore out the walls of the office at 30 Church Street, so we are really doing, turning a plain old office space into a beautiful mid priced women’s clothing store. It will be a boutique I suppose. We do not have a name for it yet. If you have any ideas we are open to it. Just leave your thoughts in the comments. We’ll be specializing in service, and clothing for regular sized and larger women too. It is exciting to embarking on a new venture.
When I go to a store and meet someone like Carla, I realize that what we have in small towns will never really be overtaken by the big boxes. Good Service will always be valuable to many people. It gives me hope for my new venture, and all the small businesses in our little towns.
30 Church is just across the street from our two businesses now so we’ll both work there some.
Here’s Carla from Carsand Mosher in Truro. If you need a camera she’s there to help you.
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.
I planted a whole package of sunflowers and only a few came up. today the blossom peeked out at me. it is as tall as my door. It made me happy as I pulled into my drive way. Nothing prettier.
Today was really busy in the studio. I began working on a new design and have it all outlined. We also fixed up the website shop a bit, making sure it was up to date.
This weekend was exciting with Rockabilly Festival in town. We had plenty of good music and there was lots of interesting outfits around town. Polka dots would be the theme I think.
We had a reader request…Rebecca Humphreys was wondering if anyone wanted to call her if you can give her a drive (902-877-6879) she is attending the three day create beauty everyday workshop in October. She is coming ftom Halifax.
It has been a great week here at the studio with our Abstract Workshop taking place. Lots of people around and lots of rugs to look at and admire. The back studio is starting to take shape as we order more yarns, knitting needles, and the new shelving should be here in a couple of weeks.
Sandra was here for the workshop but stayed an extra day. She had the back studio all to herself just to sit and hook the day away. Love the bright colours!
Last week Meryl join our Thursday rug hooking group. She was working on one of Deanne patterns and buying supplies for her new rug.
Stocking up for the summer !
Yesterday I took a drive to my friend Edna’s in Joggins. She had a house filled with tulips. She had cut them all and put vases full around the house because the rains were coming. We sat for a nice visit, and had a few laughs.
One little road trip makes you want another so today I got up at eight and by nine I had hit the road again. I called the studio to say that I would be on the road. I called Doris Eaton this morning and said, “How about I come to take you out to lunch.” It was a three hour drive but you can imagine it was well worth the trip.
I get in the habit of thinking , “It is too far to drive.” and I talk myself out of doing all kinds of things. Today I decided to talk myself into it.
As soon as I arrived Doris was there in the doorway and I was so happy to see her and Ron both. She said, What would you like to do, and I said, ” Whatever you want to do.” We went to lunch at the Broad Cove Cafe where I had Ginger and Yam soup and a Quinoa Cashew Salad. Doris had a sandwich with grilled shrimp , apple and brie. I finished of with a piece of coconut cream pie. I brought one home for Ron too, as it is his favorite. Then we went to see her friend Jane, who has opened a rug hooking studio in Petit Riviere and it was lovely. I’ll show you pictures as the week goes on.
So today, I drove about six hours, there and back, with a few nice stops along the way and it did not really feel very far at all. Some times it is worth the trip and the time on the road is just a bit of time to say a few prayers, listen to the radio, and look around a bit. It flew by. Makes me want to go again tomorrow.
Tomorrow though I have to do an interview for at the KItchen Table, our radio show, and if I go too much, I’ll your visits to me and I ca’t have that. Thanks for all the road trips you take this way. Come again, and make yourself a cup of tea. You’ll be welcome.
Here’s a few shots of Edna’s tulips….
Here I am blurry me, on the phone. Catherine Bussiere who blogs here on Sunday took a bunch of pictures around the studio last week, including these of me. Catherine said to say she was sorry she missed last Sunday because she had no internet access but she will be back. Catherine is taking some time off for a little bit but will continue with her beautiful poetic Sunday posts. I love going to the blog and finding them there.
Today I wrote the first words of a new book. I went off to a cafe and though I was distracted by the conversations around me I managed to get half a page written. It comes out slower than you might imagine, but still it comes. You might not see me posting too many new rugs for a while because most of what I am doing is for this new book so I want them to arrive fresh on the page. It will be a while yet, perhaps 2014 in the fall, I hope.
In the meantime there is the new book that Sherree Fitch and I have coming out next fall together. The rugs for this are also a surprise and have been seen by very few people.
So today after we did out At the Kitchen Table interview for CFTA where I volunteer, I headed over to Sackville and had lunch at the Bridge Street Cafe. I had planned to work and dine alone but while there I ran into Adrinna, who runs an etsy shop called Plum and Posy and had given me an etsy lesson, so I joined her and her husband for lunch and had a nice chat. I also dropped into the Fog Forest Art Gallery to see the end of year show, and headed off for a decaf latte at the Black Duck. It was a whirlwind tour of Sackville and it was at the Black Duck that I started writing. It just began with a sentence…that sounds so easy.
Then I dropped in on a friend to see her rugs and check out her wool stash.
Right now I am excited about the rugs I am making. As a matter of fact I had to choose between writing this blog tonight and hooking on my rug as the last of the evening light was fading. The blog won, promises to keep. Thanks for reading, as long as you do I ‘ll keep writing. I am though thinking of trading in Dear Diary, because it does not feel quite right anymore. When I first started writing the blog , it felt as if no one was reading but now I know you are and Dear Diary just is starting to feel a little inauthentic. So for now, or at least for tonight, but I think for longer, Dear Diary is gettin’ the boot. If this is a place where I tell the truth, then, the truth is, I know I am not writing in my diary.You might also notice I changed the look of the blog a little, letting you see all the weeks posts, and moving my favorites over to a little column on the side. I decided that I wanted the blog to be a little less crowded and to flow a little more. I hope you find it makes it easier to read through a weeks worth of posts.I also moved the categories up a bit so you could see them .
So I spent very little time in the downtown studio today as from there I came home and cooked Shepard’s Pie because my husband was returning home from a trip and I wanted a good homemade meal. Nothin’ fancy clearly, but tasty. Mashed potatoes, cream corn, and ground beef, if that don’t make you feel at home , what will? Once I was home for a bit, my daughter arrived with three friends, then two more followed. It was just after track practice for them and they ate everything that wasn’t tied down which is fine by me. I love to see them coming. I want this to be that kind of house.
So that’s the news from my corner of the world. I hope yours is happy and peaceful, I really mean that.
On Friday night I went to the local baptist church to see the African Children’s Choir. They were delightful and so was the church. It is in a magnificent stone building filled with stain glass windows. In the early evening the light was gracing the church and casting slight shadows then piercing them with light. It was a beautiful as the choir itself just to sit there and watch the light dance around the building.
I am hard at work and hopefully getting ready to begin working on a completely new project that I will share more about over the spring on this blog. We just finished our new catalog and it is hot off the press. I am curious as to your response to it.
Lots of fun this week as we prepared for a big fundraiser at the local curling club. One brave member, a well loved one, Carl Leblanc has agreed to let us roast him. It will be fun as he has some good stories to come back at anyone who roasts him. It will be fun. I was onthe decorating committee, and with no budget we managed to get it to look like a party.
Yesterday we had the years first bite of lobster caught along the straight. We came home from the shore with a fresh coldpack and made a lobster sandwich for supper. It is our season here so there is no better time.
Dear Diary, in the quiet months of winter a woman in a red wool coat would appear in my studio occassionally. In retrospect, she was a bit of a vision. When you live in a small place you do not see many new faces in January. My interest was piqued. It turns out she just moved near by.
In february we decided to start our weekly hook in and Megan the woman in the red coat started coming. In her Thursday visits she was was working on her second rug, and she would sit quietly away hooking. Sometimes you just get a good feeling from some one.
We were not really planning on hiring anyone but it just felt like Megan landed here, and kinda belonged with us. She ran a knitting store in Toronto for years and had just moved here and wanted some part time work.
I have been thinking about knitting supplies here. We have added some felting supplies. I have also been wanting to see young women hook and Megan is young and fresh, not like a loaf of bread, more like a sea air…we have all enjoyed her company as well as her knowledge.
As soon as she came she started dying wool, jumping in to help customers, and she knows her stuff. When I ask her what she thinks , she tells you and she has good ideas. She just feels like she belongs here. She makes us a little better for being here.
Dear Diary, I have been working downtown at the studio lots this week planning and writing for next week’s landscape workshop. We had two cancellations so if you want to come call us at 1 800 328 7756. As I lean over my computer examining hundreds of images of landscapes I made , I really began considering how I made them. Looking closely at each area of the mat and remembering, how I did what I did. That is the thing about doing, you are not always thinking about what you are doing, or how you are doing it. You are mostly just doing it on a sort of auto pilot so you really need to step back from it to figure out what it is you do. So when I look up from my desk, I see this birdhouse and rock, this gads been my view too much this week. I need to get out from behind the desk!
One of the fun things we did this week in the studio was the chalk board on our counter. Brenda and Meaghan ,hung this mac tac chalk board and then I wrote on it with some special chalkboard markers that I had purchased. It looks really pretty. I had wanted to be part of the hanging but Brenda said it was a tricky job and drove me out of the room. Anyone who knows me will understand that I would have had the mac tac stuck to me, to itself, and all kinds of places where it should not have been stuck. Brenda drove me away and enlisted Meaghan, who has just started working with us.
We also changed around our back studio room so it looks more like a cozy living room now than a teaching space. I bought some new comfortable chairs for workshop participants.
Come if you can, we’ll have a nice week next week.
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.
As promised here is a tour of the new wools in the studio. If you want you can call us to order anything you want at 1 800 328 7756 as we have not got all of this on the website yet.
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
whoever is in for that course
is in for a good time
No one gets left out
Dear Diary, I am excited about the Fibre Arts group starting at the studio on Thursday. Whether we have three or ten come out, it does not really matter. The important thing is that we are using that beautiful back space for what it was meant to be used for. I feel terrible that it sits empty so much. I like things to get well used. I hope that over time we will build a strong fibre arts community centred around that space and that we will find all kinds of uses for it. I think whatever gifts you have, that you should use them and share them. It took me a long time to come to a hooking / fibre arts group at the studio downtown but now that I have decided I really look forward to watching it develop. We just had magnets made by Harry the Printer to remind people to come out, and we are having a sign made for the shop window. So we’ll make a real effort to build a nice community .
Tonight I just left my Tuesday night group and came home to write this post. We were a small group this week, but still we enjoyed ourselves. We caught up on each others lives, lent a little support to each other, and gave us a place to go on a cold winter’s night where the welcome was genuine. I hope we can build this kind of group at the studio, one where gossip is not heard, and kindness prevails.
As for using the studio backroom more, one of the things I have decided to do is host a guest artist. This July we will host April DeConick from Houston , Texas and she will teach hooking small impressionistic portraits at my studio. I just posted the workshop today. I am excited to welcome April.
I want this room to have a warm feeling and a strong community built around it. In the future I imagine having a bit of a resource room there for people to come and research about rug hooking, create their own designs, and sit and ook and read. Dream a little dream, and the next thing you know, there it is, it happens.
Dear Diary, the other night we went to visit friends of the family and while there we were shown some old hooked rugs that had been made by the friend’s mother. He said, “She used to sit with her sister in the basement by the wood stove and hook rugs and they’d laugh and laugh. ” I loved that idea of a couple of sisters sitting around rug hooking and killing themselves laughing. He has kept the rugs on the floor of their guest bedroom where they are still in perfect condition. I apologize for these pictures as they are just snaps but they give you an idea. As he is from Lunenburg you can also see a great hooked rug of the bluenose that he had as well. My pictures are not very good but you will get the idea.
I am still working on a couple of bags that I plan to get Brenda to help me finish. I have been looking on Etsy for purse handles. Someone also suggested to me that you can go to Frenchys or the Sally Ann or any second hand store and get an old purse and use the straps from it. God idea.
Be sure to come out next Thursday , February 7, for the inaugural meeting of the Studio Fibre Arts Groups. Bring your hooking, your knitting, any wool craft and come from 10 am to 2pm or any part of it. We charge $2 for charity. This year we are giving the proceeds to the NS Fibre Art Festival Society. I have no idea why I waited so long to start this group. I am really excited about building a little fibre arts group around the studio. I also hope that we will get weekly visitors and it will give people a reason to drop in to the studio on Thursdays or take a day trip and come and hook….and shop too of course.
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
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
Dear Diary, Today Mrs. Davis in Accounting as she is affectionately referred to, was ousted from our dye kitchen. We moved nearly every table, every skein of yarn to accommodate her in a new spot so that we could take back the dye kitchen and expand our studio space. We want more room for studio visitors to roam in. We are getting ready to open up that back room to guests so there is more space to wander when you come visit.
So we opened up two new areas that lets you be free to wander through when you come visit the studio. So be sure to come see us .
We’ll get some pictures up of the changes soon enough. Right now it is looking very pretty. Brenda , LOrna (mrs.Davis from Accounting that is) and I are looking pretty weary in comparison.
Dear Diary, When I was in my twenties I told my mother, “I’ll never wear lipstick.” She said, “Wait til you are in your forties.” I love lipstick now. The smell of it, the way the slick tube rolls up makes me think of mom. She was right.
A few weeks ago I learned about buffing my nails. Brenda Told me I could buff those little ridges of my thumbs if I wanted to. I wanted to. Vain? Yes, definitely.
Then she told me that you could buff your nails to make them shiny. I promptly bought a buffer at the grocery store. I used the rough side to file off the ridges. Then I used it on all my nails. Vigorously. It never occured to me that this was not necessary, or that I was filing off the strenth in my nails.Then I buffed them so shiny it looked like I had polished them. I was proud of myself, proud of my upkeep, kinda like I was keeping a tidy house.
The word “unkempt” is not unfamiliar to me. I was feeling well kept. Then, because a little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing, my nails started getting really weak and cracking. My nails started cracking and now several of my fingernails lok as if they have been chewed to the quick. Never having been a nail biter, I don’t much like the look or feel of these stubby over filed, over buffed weaklings. I over did it. I went at my nails with that buffer like I go at a pan of peanut butter fudge. With too much vigor and I feel terrible afterwards.
I have learned though. There is nothing better than a great beauty tip, well except when you mix it with a dose of common sense. I think I will try that next time.
Dear Diary, So for years I have watched women for my rugs. You never know when the pattern in their dress might strike a spark of beauty in a rug. You never know when the shimmer of an earring will lead you down another road in your next portrait rug.
At yoga I watch people stretch. I watch peoples hand as they do handwork. I watch their accessories, the scarves and belts, and rings and baubles all send off little bells for ideas.
I am watching now as I consider creating an online course on hooking people. What does one teach? There is so much to learn for everyone of us is different with their own little spark.
Here are a few things I have learned watching…
that red cowboy boots kinda speak their own language
that shimmery skirts go great with worn boots sometimes
that prayer shawls are even more beautiful than the wool they are made with, they are about the process
That hands that have worked have an unmatchable beauty
That wool slipping through the fingers can ease the mind
Dear Diary if you come to town to see the NS Fibre Art Festival be sure to drop in to the studio and meet the gang who works with me. They are a joyous bunch, full of the create beauty everyday moxy that we like at the studio. We’ll be open all week , with lots of new yarns, wool cloth, great pattern and designs,
If you’ve been to the store or called on a Friday this past month you may have come across a girl with a French accent. She would have been somewhat slow at the till and most likely would have you “hold on for a second” as she would have double checked the price of this or the name of that.
My name is Catherine and I’m that girl.
I first met Deanne a few years ago at a health show where I had samples of my photographs and some of my videos on display. Liking what she saw Deanne asked me if I’d be interested to work with her on a short video project. Something beautiful about rug hooking. The collaboration was great. Like many of you, I love Deanne’s work, her energy, her “get her done” motto but most of all I love how she motivates and supports her community. She’s just great to be around.
So a little while ago when she asked me if I would work for her at the store I didn’t think twice. Sure, I’ll do anything. I’ll be honest; retail, till, wool, visa, orders, it’s all new to me. I’m more at ease behind a camera. But I’m up for it, it’s all fun. So here I am, every Friday, and for a little while yet, be patient, I’m still learning.
Have a great week, Catherine
Dear Diary, It is the time again where I get ready to prepare for workshops. On Saturday I went to the studio and I painted for two hours on a canvas that I have been working on for over a year. In the morning I drew a rug on the frame here. It is three Mothers with Babes. I could not decide what colour palette to even begin with so I sat and stared at it, then wet to the town studio to paint, visit with studio guests. It felt so good to be there in shorts and t shirt, an old apron, with my paints, that I have no idea how house. Beginner. Everyone is a beginner at something. As I prepare in my head for your visit in the fall to my workshops, I first must relax. You see I get all over excited about people coming. Then I must prepare. When you prepare, and know you are ready, relaxation is easier. On Saturday, I got the studio ready for tomorrows workshop on design and the sea. I have spent lots of time at the shore this summer walking the beach so I have lots of design ideas to share with the group tomorrow.Phyllis and I are meeting next week, to continue prep for the colour workshop. I need to sit down and think some more on Big Lessons on a Small canvas, though, I got a great idea for it on the weekend, and a surprise to add to it last week! As for the Art of Rug Hooking in September, I love doing this workshop because it is so very different every time. I just try to approach it as artfully as I can. So time to settle in and get ready for the beautiful visits to come. Looking forward to the experience.
Dear Diary, I so hope you are not tired of the idea cause I am just getting started with it. When I started thinking about my rug hooking, my writing and teaching in a broader sense, and started talking about it that way I think I discovered that I was doing more than just hooking rugs. I started to see that I was making something a little less tactile.
Over a cup of coffee, with designer friend , Susan Black, the create beauty everyday idea began to blossom. It started before that with a scribble pad at lunch last Christmas with my niece Bridget. I kept that scribble, showed it to Susan, who kept insisting that I was doing more than hooking rugs. At first I thought she was confused but turns out she was seeing things a bit more clearly than me.
So what is that about this create beauty everyday thing that I keep shouting about…
Well see it’s like this, create beauty everyday (cbe) is my creed or my motto…or what I remind myself of when I am a cranky arse. Cause I got some that in me too.
When I wake in the morning and I’m creaky I think once I make those pretty positions (there is no mirror around) with my yoga I will be less creaky…cbe
Then I remind myself that this is another day I can get up make a few meals, throw together some good ingredients and please a palette or too…cbe
Then I think about the rug on the frame and that even if I haul up ten loops I’ll be part of the revolution…cbe
Then if I have a laugh at the studio when Brenda or Norma I did it again…cbe
When I add a few flowers to a vase…cbe
When I take a picture…cbe
When I walk and remember….cbe
When I call a friend…cbe
beauty is a big thing but creating it can be quite little
Create beauty everyday can be a revolution in your own life in the littlest of ways
Join the revolution..cbe
Dear Diary, One of the things I love about the online course that I teach is that the people who take them come visit. Here is a visitor who took last winter’s getting Wild with Wool and she brought us her rugs to see. It was so much fun to see them, meet her, and see that the people who take the courses are real! See it’s not virtual…it’s the real thing! Quite often some one will tell me that they took my online course last winter.
If you get a chance this summer come vista the studio. We keep the tea pot ready to boil, and if we’re to busy we encourage you to storm the kettle yourself. Don’t drive by Amherst , Nova Scotia with out stopping in to see us…
Dear Diary, For years I did things like kept pens that had no ink in them, batteries that were worn out, pens that leaked. I hated to throw things out. I went to yard sales and brought home things and let them sit in my barn, just sit there. I kept clothes that I would never wear again. I saved books like I might read them twice.
I have changed. Not much gets past this door that is not going t be appreciated for it’s beauty, savoured for it’s goodness, used well, or at least loved. I like lean.
As much as I love beauty, pretty , sweet, or cute is just not enough. It has to be beautiful. Now that beauty can be a piece of seaweed, an old book jacket, it can be broken, it can be cheap, it can be expensive. It just cannot be superfluous I guess. At least not my stuff. My family keeps a collection of broken hockey sticks, skates that are too small, and helmets that do not fit. I do not say a word for fear they’ll turn on my wool, or my shoes. They do not know about my lipsticks.
So every time I bring a bag in the house. I try to bring a bag out. To the Salvation Army mostly, or the local Bridge Workshop. i just do not want to be tripping over anything but wool. It makes for a soft landing. You know I think I need more wool. Honestly. In my home studio I have five shelves full, and sometimes I just do not have enough choice. I still struggle with finding just the right piece.
For example, you can have a lot of blues but you might not have Joggins blue, or Bay of Fundy brown, or the the gold that is the centre of daisies under a grey sky, or yellow that is the centre of daisies under a blue sky, or June’s green grass. There is no way I could have every colour I imagine. I wonder what my rugs would be like if I did. I wonder what they would be like if I doubled my on hand stash. Would they change?
Now I am gonna be bringing some bags in….but they will be going out in another form.
Dear Diary, The may workshops are done and I am now back to working on the seven sister courses that I am developing to teach online as part of The Getting Wild with Wool Series. We have added over five hundred more names to our newsletter list since we offered our new free guide to rug hooking. So far I have sent out 3500 of them. It is exciting to think that so many people are using the guide. I hope it spreads like wild flowers. Please share it with others or encourage them to sign up for my newsletter so that they can know what we are up to online.
I plan to offer a one day workshop in late January on things by the sea. It will be a one day class and I will give you the date as soon as it is all arranged. The tulips are up around here and looking pretty. I saw them a little differently this year and am feeling that this view would make a great abstract rug. When you decide on a style, whatever it is, it is like seeing everything through a new lense. It opens possibilities and broadens your ideas.
Dear Diary, My friend Delia came to visit for an impromptu visit this week while blog reader Betty Heath was visiting the studio. I think Delia gives new meaning to the term” five bags full” from the nursery rhyme. She dyed me some beautiful wool as she always did. She was on a road trip so I jumped in with her for the ride. Remember those pictures of Brenda, well they got lost when I transferred the blog to a new host this week. She was jumping in Delia’s wool. I will post them again.
So we have Delia’s wool in fresh if you want some be sure to order while there is tons of colour choice.
I love her wool because she loves her animals, because it is her passion, because it smells so good, and feels so natural and because Delia is Delia!
Dear Diary, today was spring. You just felt it. I knew it was coming. The other night my neighbour Wayne called at ten thirty. That’s odd, he would call so late. “I just wanted you to know”, he said, “that if you listen real close you can hear the peepers in the pond tonight.” That is a good neighbour.
The pussy willows are everywhere now, having reached their prime. Kim, who has her own blog, called Millie’s Mats, said that our door stoop needed to be decorated more, “That white house is just not doin’ it for me anymore” is actually what she said. It is too early for flowers but I did fluff up the front stoop today with area step stool and a few baskets of wool. Springing things up.
We got some fresh new aprons for ourselves with Create beauty everyday embroidered on them. Katherine and Brenda modelled them for you here.
Buds are starting to appear on even the barest of branches and people are wanting to get out. Brenda and I took a good walk to the top of the hill today. We did not go down to see the Tom the turkey, but I thought about it. I told Brenda , you have never really seen the colour turquoise til you seen Tom’s neck. Yes, Fred’s turkey has a name. He lives there with two wives. Even with a neck like that, he has two wives. He’s a breeder, you see, and Fred raises turkeys from the eggs that Tom and his fair maidens make.
Spring makes you want to get out on the marsh, to wander round your yard, to take a road trip. It stirs you up, and so it should. Spring Inspires you.
I hope you all make something beautiful tomorrow, create beauty everyday.
Dear Diary, If you want to create beauty everyday sometimes you just have to put your feet up. I am working hard lately, creating new content for a new online course for next fall. It still a bit of whirlwind in terms of content but as soon as things get firmed up I will put a post about it for you. I am excited with new ideas and plans to make it as exciting as the ;art one, maybe even better! I am at the same time, planning the abstract and people workshops for this spring. I work at this a few hours, or many, if you count all the stuff I do, even if it is the funner parts. Funner is not a word but it should be because some parts of everything are funner than other parts.
Today my big break was to go up to Lofoods to buy the groceries, and carry seven bags back down the street, and let people wonder if I was a character or just an ” everyday housewife” ( as if there was such thing!). I stopped at Flow for a coffee and a home made…oh my goodness…marshmallow covered in dark chocolate, with a tiny layer of caramel in it. Maybe the caramel is just chemistry, but I tell you that marshmallow and I had chemistry. Gorgeous. I should have taken a picture. Never mind , tell you what, I’ll go back tomorrow and get another one and take a picture of it. I suffer for art. Sweetly.
Then I stopped at Pugsley’s, the corner drugstore, my all time favourite drugstore, though I did love Manning’s in Placentia when I was a kid. There I bought the mocker a Moleskin travel journal cause it was so gorgeous and she goes places. I wanted it for myself but I don’t go anywhere. She has hotels and restaurants to record. I live vicariously through her, and she brings me back chocolate from exotic places. Well she brings it back for all of us at the studio but I eat most of it. Today she took the last of the Purdy’s Chocolates (Pink Himalayan Salt Caramels) that Brenda brought back from Calgary and yellow stickied them with Lorna’s name when I told her I had had five from the box. She is a mother at heart when she is not being a mocker.
Lorna you see has quit chocolate for lent but just through the week . She eats it on the weekends. I have no doubt that the lord would be pleased about that weak little offering, regardless the last few are for her. Well my travels might not be far but I did bring back a box of half price French Mint Laura Secord from Pugsleys ( there are three boxes left at Pugsleys …race you there tomorrow). I told the mocker that they were half price, and she said, “Don’t tell people the chocolate was on sale if you give it to them.” There are things you learn growing up in Montreal that just never came up in Freshwater.
She ate them anyway, happily. Lorna will save hers for Sunday I guess.
See, there, maybe I could of used that travel journal after all. There is one more left at Pugsley, half price too but I never told the mocker that.
So after all that writing and chocolate, and all those grocery bags, and finishing one beautiful flower power rug today, I am going to put my feet up, and just think.
Dear Diary, We are installing new shelves in the back of the studio as we just had cheap rough pine ones there that looked like some ones basement ( my basement actually I have the same ones down there). I bought some big beautiful wooden shelves that look more like furniture that gives us lots of room for wool storage where we make our kits on the way to the back workshop. I also bought Lorna a new desk. She called this morning after being away skiing yesterday and said,”I love my new desk”. When we went out to pick it out the other day I said it was not as functional as mine. She said,”But I like mine better , it’s way prettier.” She might be getting that beauty above function disease that I have. William Morris just groaned.
So the studio is in ship shape waiting your spring visit. Two weeks ago we did a Saturday workshop on hooking words, which was about more than hooking words, but about the beauty and importance of words when you use them in a hooked rug. I just loved seeing what people designed and came up with. It was an interesting day.
Old winter rose its’ head again here today, but as Wayne , my neighbour said,” March rides in and winter’s back is broke.” Thinking of it, poor Wayne’s back is not too good itself.” We had a few days of spring, and it will come again soon.
Remember there are only ten days left to sign up for April online course. The response from the last course was excellent and people learned a lot and made some wonderful rugs. It was a completely different experience than teaching people in the studio but it was a great one because people had time to play and discover on their own then come back and show you their progress. It is a good course with lots of useful ideas. We had beginners in it, and people who had taught rug hooking for years. It is designed so that they can all get the goodness out of it. I loved making it and teaching it.
Dear Diary, I sometimes pine to sit at the mat and hook. Like today I wanted to hook but there was no chance. It was a busy day, and my hands did not hold the hook for longer than a minute. The good thing is though that the days you do not get to the frame make you relish the days you do. I sometimes get a bit bored with my routine, and am a bit unappreciative of the creative habits I have. I think it makes me a bit dull, and probably on some levels it does, but how can you get anything done if you are not a homebody, a dull old soul who wants to sit with her hook instead of going out to see the world, to be in the world. You need the balance of both. You need fresh ideas , fodder for the creative habit, but you also need plenty of that sitting and making. Creating takes time, lots of time, and if you can’t sit still, you cannot “make”.
Megan Lewis of Gallery 8 took this photo of my basement stairs, the plainest of things can be lovely, there is hope for the filing cabinet…I hope I do not have to paint it red.
Dear Diary, The basement of the building that I work in has a life time of stuff in it. Several life times probably. There was a photography studio, and an insurance company in the building for years. So when ever I need something it is the first place I look. In the midst of looking for a table today I found a desk, an old oak desk with six drawers, one of them a file drawer. I went next door to ask if I could permanently borrow it. The answer…”Yes, we did not know it was there.” . Lorna’s son Luke, and her husband Ronnie moved it upstairs for me. I washed the dirt off it, and sprayed it with a nice natural cleanser, did a little happy dance ( not on the desk…I never thought of that) , and got to work sorting thing out. Thing is my desk was my old kitchen table that I got for $5 at a sale years ago, so now I have the long table that I needed as well.
I also needed a counter height sideboard to put a coffee pot on in the out back studio, my workshop room. I said to Brenda,”What about that old three drawer file cabinet with the shelves, the dark greeny blue one.”
She said, “It’s ugly.”
Most people agree with her but I have an unexplainable fondness for this old cabinet. It is right out of the fifties, and is as functional as a milking cow. The thing is so useful. I like the handles on the drawers. I said, “I’ll make it interesting.” She rolled her eyes, and helped me drag the drawers up. I washed it good, and now even as I write this my head keeps rolling back to that cabinet as I think what can I do with that thing to spark it up. I said to her I might glue polka dots on to, or cover it with magnets. I could hear her, even though she was only talking in her head…”She was saying I’m outta here tomorrow for my vacation.., so it’s not gonna be me who puts polka dots on that stupid thing.”
I bet she’ll read this blog on her vacation and tilt her head back laughing , at me here, with another puzzle….another challenge, “Just how do you make an army blue green file cabinet beautiful?”
Even the oddest plainest things can be interesting, even beautiful in some weird kinda way.
Dear Diary, This winter I made a lot of small rugs. Part of it was to get my mind in gear for net years workshop Big Lessons on a Small Canvas. It was my effort to start thinking about what I could make small before I started on the lessons.
I spend a lot of time creating and designing workshops, and that is the mode I am getting into right now. We have an abstract class and a hooking people class coming up in May. I plan to create something beautiful for both of them. Even though a workshop has been offered before, I try to approach it fresh and new so that new ideas come out andI learn something.
I also made a few bigger pieces this winter, including one for myself. I will post that here another time. Every year I try to hook a couple of my patterns so that we have colour images for people to see.
Katherine posted the new rugs on the rugs for sale gallery on this website today. There are lots of small pieces, and a few bigger ones.