Sunday, December 30, 2012

Gift for the Studio

We have a tradition of drawing names and making handmade gifts for one another for Christmas. with 3 teenaged boys, edible items have been the recent choice...fudge, pie, cookies, peppermint bark. I, on the other hand, received a new hat rack to display my hats in the studio, courtesy of my "little one" with father-technical-assist.

 Little one recognized that my hat blocks with hats on top took up valuable real estate on a shelf and an alternative was in order. I love it and, after lowering a favorite painting (by local artist, Mark Graham- no relation), the rack fit perfectly and with the hats, looks wonderful with the painting!

The painting was commissioned in the memory of my best friend, also named Andrea, who died by her own  hand 11 years ago along with her beautiful son, Karim. We had planned a career in law together and I found solace in feltmaking when she died. My life changed forever in every way. She would be very happy with my chosen path. For the homage to our profound friendship to hang in my studio space is most fitting.

This post had not been intended to be sad or reflective, but I think is a testament to the fact that life does go on, even if in a very different way, in the face of tragedy. Life is full of bittersweet moments and my little studio wall is a fine example of past and present. What lies ahead? Well, I will keep you posted.

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Thursday, December 27, 2012

Getting the itch...

The studio has been pretty quiet. I have popped in a few times in the last few days to move things around, check the mouse trap (so far so good), to survey my creative space. I am getting the itch to get back to the wool, but have so many options that I am a bit boggled. I have scads of  ideas and each one will take time to execute. My mind has been jumping from one thing to the next so need to have some peaceful time to immerse myself in each at. a. time. I am also in "let's bake cookies!" mode and "Ahhh, wine and a book" (mid day, no less!) with the boys all home and hanging out!

I am looking forward to the next "thing" I felt and will document, step by step for you to see. Sound good? I sold a favorite bag I was keeping for myself (it went to a friend, so I was okay!), so perhaps and new bag is in order. Sounds like a plan, no?

I will be teaching a one day HAT class, followed by a one day SCARF class here in Odessa, Ontario in February (16th, 17th) If you are interested, you can contact my friend, Susan . She will give you the 411. Due to the time of year, I expect mostly locals, but if you are brave in nasty weather, you are welcome too! We will have some fun, that I guarantee. Should you be stranded, there is a couch at casa graham with your name on it.

I currently have a stack of things on my desk that also must be addressed. So much of being an artist has little to do with making art, I am afraid. Well, this wine is not getting drank by itself and my new book beckons. I am working my way up to some serious time in the studio, so watch out. I will keep you posted. 

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Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Good Golly

Patty- sleeping in the warm laundry
Wow. It has been a while, No? Amazing how life takes charge and habits quickly change. Your dedicated blogger and feltmaker has been a slacker. Yes, I can say it... and I did. Thinks slowed down in the studio as holiday time approached and since closing the retail business I ran with my mother (too busy with art :o), I think the slower pace beckoned and begged to be embraced to the fullest!

I have had some wonderful social time and time with my boys, which is the very best of all. Now that "boxing day" is past and the new year is looming, I am aware on the periphery that a new chapter is imminent. I still have days to loll around, sip wine mid-day and curl up with a book, but work commitments are approaching. I have my "Niche Award" finalist package to send off, a group of students in the studio next weekend and an article to write. I am a list maker, so that will happen first in the new sketch book I gifted myself. Careful not to get ahead of myself, I am also looking forward to a few hours in the studio painting with wax with the boys.

Holiday time can be a happy time, but for those with not such happy family memories or who have lost close family or friends, it can bring sadness. I hope that you all have found some joy for yourselves, some peace and moments of gratitude. I am grateful to each one of you for your support and encouragement, even if you do not comment I see your "hits" and know you are there! I work very hard to be recognized, acknowledged and respected in my craft and it brings me joy to know that you are all watching (in a non-creepy way). I will keep you posted. 

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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

World of Threads...piece for sale

Hi All,
I am missing my studio time as I have been busy doing other "business" stuff. So much of what I do is, sadly, not in the studio! I will do a complete update tomorrow (promise), but in the meantime, wanted to share a piece with you.

I sent a couple of pieces for the big World of Threads event and I have some inquiries about the piece on the invitation image...well, it had been sent off without a full image...I know, I know! I need to follow my own advice to never send a piece out without an out-of-the-ballpark great image. Sooo, here is a full shot of the piece. It is small, so easy to find a wall space for (hint, hint) at 12 inches by 12 inches. It is for sale for $250 and I will ship it for free!

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Friday, November 23, 2012

What's up

A new little hip bag I made yesterday...
The back of "new little hip bag"

The kids are home today for a PA day, so it feels like a Saturday. I ran around and tidied and vacuumed in the attempt to bring some sort of order to the house. It is mid afternoon and we are all still in our PJ's. This evening at the local Waldorf School there is a artists/craft vendor event and I will go to sell some wool and display some hats. Certainly not something I usually do, but I love the community and selling wool to people makes them happy! I pile the table high with half ounce balls in a big rainbow and it feels like a candy store! I will then have a wee glass of wine with an artists group...not bad at all. More later...

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Sunday, November 18, 2012

New Stuff...

I have been playing around with some stuff and still have a great deal to explore. I am using some new materials (wax and resin), and am running out quickly using them on the big monster in my studio, aka, the Behemoth. In for a penny, in for a pound? It is a process and I am picking away at it as I create other work. I look at it and think it is looking sloppy and look forward to having all the elements in place, so I can do the final clean-up and fine tuning that really make a piece well-done, in my opinion.

Working in a new medium for me and combining it in a unique way at least makes me feel as though maybe, just maybe, there are fewer "rules" to follow. That is what I keep telling myself. Oh, I know...there are really no rules, but yes there are...I still want people to think my work is well executed, clean, precise. I should not care but, alas, I do very much. I am a bit like in progress. I'll keep you posted...

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Tuesday, November 13, 2012

What's New...

Well, given my last post...I switched gears a bit. made some HATS, which I do to clear the cobwebs, it seems! Sometimes it is bags or scarves...or all the above. I also had a whole sale wool order to fill so hours balling up wool was a timely distraction.

I did revisit the behemoth again today. I have not given up on it. At this point, I have materials and time invested and will proceed as the alternative seems an utter waste. It is still ugly right now. Not in a creepy-weird-good-ugly way, just an ugly way.

I did execute a little side project that did leave me feeling hopeful and allowed me to see behemoth in new light. That was good. Here is a work is percolating!!

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Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Ahhh. The unsuccessful.

(okay, this made me LMAO)

It is one of those moments when you (think you) have a brush with greatness. An idea comes about that seems pure genius. You ponder, you plan, you begin execution and things look good...and then it all goes to hell in a hand basket.

Oh, has happened. "How is this possible?" I ask to the heavens, as materials have been wasted and my piece hangs from the ceiling like a crooked bleeding lump of...not sure what. Oh, perhaps it could be salvaged. Do I devote more time into this failing behemoth or shall I cut my losses and move on? The sad thing is that it is currently living, dwelling, and nesting in my cerebral cortex and haunts me...must I destroy it to rid myself of this epic fail?

Ah, yes. I have been telling you all of "new work to come" "exciting new direction", well, my dear followers, it is a work in progress! Aren't we all!!

On an UP note...I will be in the Australian felt magazine and have another exciting project I cannot speak of yet, in the works...I'll keep you posted! <3>

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Sunday, November 4, 2012


funk·y 2  (fngk)
adj. funk·i·er, funk·i·est
a. Having a moldy or musty smell: funky cheese; funky cellars.
b. Having a strong, offensive, unwashed odor.
2. Music
a. Of or relating to music that has an earthy quality reminiscent of the blues.
b. Combining elements of jazz, blues, and soul and characterized by syncopated rhythm and a heavy, repetitive bass line.
3. Slang Earthy and uncomplicated; natural: "At the opposite end of Dallas's culinary spectrum is funky regional fare" (Jacqueline Friedrich).
4. Slang
a. Characterized by originality and modishness; unconventional: "a bizarre, funky [hotel ] dressed up as a ship, with mock portholes and mirrored ceilings over the beds" (Ann Louise Bardach).
b. Outlandishly vulgar or eccentric in a humorous or tongue-in-cheek manner; campy: "funky caricatures of sexpot glamour" (Pauline Kael).
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Friday, November 2, 2012

Some new hats...just 'cause

 Hate to break it to Patty, but she IS going to have to get off the resist.

The grey one is a repeat design like one I sent to Toronto...Ditto on the blue, with some variation. The pink one has a great tri-spike and the green one is some hand-dyed in forest and spring green (concentric circles on both cute.)

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What's goin' on...

Smoky Robinson

Are you singing it?

Last weekend, I toodled off to Massachusetts to surprise a dear friend for her birthday and had to beat it home fast before we faced the possibility of being stranded traveling through NY state. What a mess, those poor people :o(

I took a few days to get me ducks in a row and finish up some pieces, that I am still not sure if they are finished. The last two days, I have felt like playing a bit and with a Winter fair coming up, decided to make a few hats. I am not one to show at fairs etc, as it is just not what I "do", but the only exception is our local Waldorf School where I have been a member of the community for 17 years. I ball up wool to sell and get to chit chat and see the magical space they create. A fun day and cash in my pocket as they gobble up to colourful balls of fluff. I make 1/2 oz. balls and pile them high like a giant wool rainbow. It is pretty irresistible, must say. I think a few hats on a stand will be a nice addition and I know I will hear "oh, are making hats now?" , and I will be internally annoyed. acknowledging this will not make me any less annoyed.

I am working on a lovely green hat now and when done, I will post a picture of them all!

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Tuesday, October 23, 2012


The clock says 10:00 a.m. and I am looking at my options for the day. Dinner is in the crock pot...well, dinner that 3 out of 5 family members will eat, so still need to think of something else.

I could get my hair out of this perma-ponytail and go to the grocery store, but I don't wanna.

I have a piece drying in the dryer on the little rack so it will not tumble. I am ready to stiffen some pieces using a mixture of glue and water, but they need to be totally dry, before I do. The plan had been to add some other elements, but I really like them the way they are. So I will ponder further.

I'll keep y'all posted. 

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Friday, October 19, 2012

Staying Zen with the ups and downs...

So after my a.m. procrastination yesterday, I actually cuddled up on the sofa with my laptop and some crappy t.v. and worked on updating my artists statement and biography. Not a simple task to "explain" my work. The bio was "just", putting my c.v. in a nutshell, so you would think it would not be difficult, but deciding what to include is getting harder.

 I have been asked to do an interview for a very slick on-line magazine Creating Linus
and figure it is a very good reason to tweek things and focus more on the "art" aspects.

Also some fabulous, fist pumping news...I am a Niche Award finalist (Whoot!) You may think, "What is a Niche Award?" Well, it is a huge honor in the land of commercial craft. You won't see the finalists on the website yet for 2013, but it will give you a look at what it is all about. This is the 4th year I have entered. It is like anything, the jurors bring their knowledge and personal taste and it can be a shot in the dark. I went right to my c.v. and added it. Of course, this followed 2 "rejections" last week, which I don't really think about as rejections anymore. It is just the ebb and flow, the ups and downs, ins and outs of life as an artist....

Coffee with my best girl friend this a.m. and hopefully some wool time later. I will keep you posted, my friends.

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Thursday, October 18, 2012

How to Procrastinate...

-Drink coffee
-Look at email, surf news, "like" cute cat picture on Facebook.
-Bid on cashmere hoodie on Ebay
-Consume comfort food while surfing more: shepherds pie with ketchup (2 servings)
-Pour more coffee
-check email...already outbid :/
- Create Blog post what.

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Friday, October 12, 2012


step one


sometime day 2

after a day break, back at it...

Patty doing a pod imitation- see below :o)

hanging to dry...more to come!

Well, Patty is certainly happy I am back in the studio. She likes when I give her a fresh bowl of water to paddle around in (don't know why she does this, but highly entertaining) and then she settles in on the table just out of reach and remains there until she is in the splash zone.

This new piece has already taken me several days, with lots of downtime in between. I am sketching like a fiend on a serious creative spurt. I really love sketching...something I have done my whole life. We all have a doodle (those things you draw while you are on the phone, or at the top of your grocery list)...think about does your "doodle" come out in your work? My doodle has always been flowers and circles. I am all about the circle, for whatever reason.
As if just the sketching, planning, layout and felting were not new work is going to have a whole other dimension...a multi-media approach. Many levels... This is stage one. I hope you will forgive me that there will be some steps I will not share in detail as this is new work...special work I am developing for me to show and I think will be very unique from any other work I have seen. I, of course, will share my journey, as I have done and once I teach these things, I will be an open book as I am on most feltmaking matters! Everyone seems interested in making felt faster. I find greater value in making it good. I would rather take twice (or 3x) as long and feel good about what I have made than "It's good enough", because you know when you tell that to yourself, it probably isn't. Yes, I have told myself that and I don't love every piece I make, but the ones that go out the door have to meet some sort of standard that I have established for myself, not something that has been imposed upon me. No time in the studio is ever wasted...even just sitting in my space with the t.v. on connects in a (very) small way and is a lead up for things to come.

Well, I have rambled. Thanks for reading and I will keep you posted.

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Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Open a can....

Is it age? Am I getting grumpy or just tired of seeing people behaving badly towards others?

Yesterday a woman backed out of a parking spot like a honey badger...didn't give a sh**. She completely ignored the honking little smart car (more of a beep, I suppose), first polite-like, "beep :o), hellooo, I am here!" Then with increasing urgency, length and frequency, "BEEP, Beeeep, You-a gonna hit ma' CAR, laydeeee!", drawing attention from all in the lot.

She was about to drive off when I stepped into her path, well, with my cart leading. I am not totally crazy. I "asked" if she was completely unaware, or just rude. She waved her hands around, I think more upset that I was delaying her than anything. What is wrong with people?!

The very best part: Two little old ladies hooted, "Good for you!" as a walked past. I would like to say this was followed by fist/chest bumps and high-fives (wouldn't that have been cool?!).  I went on to pick peppers feeling like a super hero.

This story has very little to do with the remainder of my day, other than giving some thought to giving myself permission to be true to my feelings in the moment and not always question myself; More action, less I-shoulda, less concern about how I will be perceived. Hopefully achieved without getting shot. I guess that could be art related, no?

On that note...

I am working on some new work that is actually getting more complicated rather that simplified. experimentation and samples seem to take forever and I don't seem to enjoy the process as much as I an excited to see the end I am also probably working too large so that "if" I am happy with the result it can be shown. This also means more time consuming, and the use of more of my new, more costly materials. Such a wonderful quandary. Okay, enough eating comfort food, websurfing and cat cuddling. Time to get in the studio. Those samples won't felt themselves. I'll keep you posted...

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Saturday, October 6, 2012

Turkey Day in Canada

Turkey Day

Momentary distraction
Tree killer
What did I do this week? Well, it began with thinking about work for my show in 2014 at the Mississippi Valley Textile Museum (a "joint" show with one other artist), which then led me to think about exhibition grants, which took me to the Ontario Arts Council website seeking deadline dates.

This led me to look at creation and development grants, which led me to 3 days of printing (and reprinting) my application...agonizing and re-thinking. Made some calls. Feelings of inadequacy and trepidation, committing to projects that hinge on money I am not sure if I will receive...and finally, an almost complete application (waiting for hubby to put images on the CD). It is amazing how something I had not given much thought a couple of days ago is now of paramount importance.

I had a mid-night sketch book frenzy the other night with thoughts and ideas spilling materials, new forms, new installation ideas...I am on that creative climb that causes a continued feeling of anticipation and a ball in my stomach until I can assemble everything and begin to execute the is also possible (okay, definitely) I have been consuming too much coffee.

last night hubby and middle one brought home a sweet little stray kitten that was so starved for attention she was practically mauling us. She spend a cozy night here and was taken to a local shelter today where she will, hopefully, find a family that will give her lots of love. Would have loved to keep her, but Pattycake is the "big boss" and enough of an distraction and responsibility along with my beastly dog (who is aging and slowly getting less beastly).

This is Thanksgiving weekend for us Canucks and we are lucky to be guests rather than hosts, for a change. I hope you enjoy this weekend...give thanks. Gobble, Gobble.

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Sunday, September 23, 2012

My Day...

I was so happy to have such a beautiful Autumn Sunday. Sweater and wooly socks with scraggly hair pulled back. Nothing but natural light spilling in and a chilly breeze through the open windows. Hot coffee...I spent the a.m. getting all my hang tags on my work headed to Toronto in the next couple of days. I was taken by the months and months of work that will fit in a couple of boxes. The inventory sheet includes thousands of dollars worth of art/art to wear and I hope they will all be well received and....that I get none of it back (not likely, but I can dream!) Commission sales can be such a must produce so much work hoping the pieces will strike a chord with the right person at the right time.

The afternoon bought me wondering the aisles of the grocery store with every crazy person with a day job that leaves buying food for the week until Sunday afternoon.
...See how happy I am?
Everything is put away and planned meals for the first time in over a year for the week. Now I really want to nap rather than even consider cooking any of the purchased food...or make a hat. Coffee and a hat...sounds like a plan. :o)

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Friday, September 21, 2012


I have been in the studio getting thing ready to take to the guild shop in Toronto. I have lots of beautiful scarves, bracelets, ornaments, bags...and a few hats. I was inspired by the hats of Norwegian artist, Hillevi Huse, and am making a few for fun.

My eldest asked if I was planning to market them to retired circus performers. What is he implying, I wonder? Are they a little wild? Too colourful? Too may protrusions and springy things that sprout out or collapse? I think I am okay as he did say "retired" performers suggesting they are more sedate than those which would attract currently active circus performers. That is what I am going with, anyway. I will take images, of course, once they are all ready to go! (scroll down!)I know some daring folk in Toronto will appreciate them!

Ahh, it is the hour I need to consider dinner and the 2 hats I was working on today are complete. The purple one is my attempt at creating a more sedate head piece. successful? Yes. A bore? Yes. The next one will, perhaps be a hybrid...either a funky design in a sedate colour...or a sedate design in a funky colour. Time will tell.

bracelets ready for Toronto...sterling magnetic closures :o)

Ultimate comfort food.

THE hats...what fun to make.

love this cutie. 

More to come...I will keep you posted :o)
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Monday, September 17, 2012

I'm Baaaack!

Beads ready to go. Findings? Where are you?

From little prop plane to...

...even smaller prop plane!

some of the pods made by my students (and me)
Tracey's fabulous hat made in Hillevi's class

My new felty friend, Tami.
Hello devoted blog followers. Are you still with me? It was been a lazy summer with my family and making lots of felt for Fall "stuff". I was also looking ahead to my trip to the Creative Felt Gathering in Michigan. What a great event! It was organized by the lovely and entertaining Jone (pronounced either Johnnie, or Yo-Na). She clearly holds this event for the joy of surrounding herself with creative, talented feltmakers. So generous, warm and easy going, she's a kind soul. It was a week that felt more like a vacation than work. The evening downtime allowed me to feel like I could re-energize rather than feeling like I was missing something. A few things were planned, but just enough.

I was happy to see many familiar faces from past teaching and other events and to meet some new people that I had only known from Facebook. The Lithuanian camp it was held at is a beautiful retreat with wildlife, a glistening pond and uncomfortable beds, as required by all camps. Just enough comfort and just enough rustic. Can you tell I loved it?

In any case, I am now home and settling into the routine of back to school finally. Ready to blog daily again. felt. create. I'm so excited, really.Of course more pods will abound. Perhaps some new forms...3D, for sure. Looking ahead to the next couple of years (hard to imagine) with teaching dates booking, show commitments...getting my ducks in a row. The week will be spent unpacking studio things, having a look at what I have to take to Toronto for the Guild Shop and finishing any odds and ends up to take. I have some beads made for bracelets and am awaiting the findings, am thinking about a few hats after inspiration this week from Norwegian, Hillive Huse, but we shall see. I will keep you know I will!

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Friday, August 31, 2012

Web Cam class info!

As some of you may know, I have been doing some teaching by webcam. I had been thinking about it long before I actually began last fall and I wonder now why I did not do it sooner!

I thought, "Oh, I am not tech-savvy", "It will be weird", "How can I translate feltmaking without me having hands on". Well, it is way easier and better than I anticipated and have had over 30 students now with fabulous results (and several repeat offenders)

In any case, rather than having you all overcome trepidation in asking details, I thought I should share them HERE. All you need is a webcam, which is pretty standard on laptops (see the tiny little lens above your screen?) and inexpensive to buy for desktops (mine was $30). I use both to demo, but you only need 1.

1. Email me regarding desired dates and what subject matter you would like to cover. I am really flexible and work days weekends and evenings. Accommodating time zones has not been a problem as we split the hours for one "day" over 2 days. I have had no connection issues from anywhere in the world.

2. I will then send you a link to connect your webcam (so easy), a materials list to have ready, and a paypal invoice to be paid the week prior to our dates. One 6 hour "day" of instruction is $250. I find with the webcam, it is best to split this time over 2 days, for example 10-1 on Saturday and 10-1 on Sunday. This allows time for any homework between, a rest and time to think.

3.  If you like, we can connect briefly the day before to check in, or we just connect the day of instruction.

Pods and 3d techniques have been popular, but we can cover hats, vessels, bags, jewelry...I have lots of experience with a wide range of subjects. I can also be available for consultation at $50 an hour if you have specific questions regarding issues you are having or need some guidance.

Hope to hear from you...!

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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Where to begin?

My lovely "Blooming Sharon"

A new collection of pods


One of the NEW scarves
I have been a naughty blogger and been neglecting you all. It does not take long to fall out of a habit. The summer has been spent abandoning some habits and creating new ones (both good and bad!). While I have not created to many new exciting things, I have been making lots of scarves and bags. Sometimes this can feel like a chore, especially when I am asked to make them, so doing so on my own timeline has really allowed me to enjoy the design and process.

 I did take a little trip and am getting ready now for the boys to get back into the school routine. I have 2 show entry deadlines in the next 48 hours, which means I have 46 hours to further procrastinate. I do not consider myself a perfectionist, but I am painfully aware of the strategy to delay as long as possible so if it is not "perfect" one has an excuse...but I continue to do this!

I do, however, promise that I AM back to blogging :o), so stay tuned and I will keep you updated and show you stuff. Off to have ice cream and sprinkles...a summer habit that I consider good and bad!

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time to relax

time to relax
Liberatio Captivus