Monday, May 31, 2010

Home Again....

Welcome to Olds, Alberta...May 29th! WT frig?? I ended up wearing the contents of my suitcase at all times!

My roomies and students, Pat and Amanda...

and another one, Nona...

This is Reeta...Midday on day one, she reurned to class from break with a purple streak in her hair. She's a wild one!

The results of my talented students! We had lots of fun. Thanks for having me, Ladies!!:o)

And here they are!

I arrived home on the little puddle jumper plane this afternoon aware that I had traded the Alberta cold for heat and humidity as I peeled of a layer or two. I have a meeting tomorrow and some errands and head to Toronto on Wednesday. Next week I will be in Saskatchewan and I will be watching the weather for what to pack! More later....

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Thursday, May 27, 2010

Off to Alberta

Well, in searching for images of Olds, Alberta (near Calgary) I found images of vast wheat fields, bison pooping, tractors, and lots of snow. I have opted for the above image of the college where I will be teaching at a conference as it is a tad more cosmopolitan!

I am currently packing and trying very hard to fit everything in my carry on. My desire to pack some of my own food is creating some challenges. I have decided to err on the side of caution and am assuming my little cans of tuna may be deemed to be in the "liquids" category and I have crammed them in the itty bitty, appropriately (albeit unreasonably) sized ziplock with the broken zipper due to my attempts to fit one more item on several occasions.

I was actually born in Calgary and wish I had some time to tool around and see if my old home and school are still standing and try to connect with some family and old friends. I see they expect snow tomorrow, so I will be anxious to leave (just kidding) But, I will need to get home for a trip to Toronto for an AGM and then back to Saskatchewan.

In any case, I have bought a good book for the long flight (don't know where that will go yet- hardcover, of course )and I will be an obedient passenger. I look forward to making some outrageous needle felted figures with 20 eager students in Alberta. No room for the cowbay hat, ladies, but I'll bring a carrot for the bison (do they like carrots?)

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Tuesday, May 25, 2010


I knew it was coming, but I just had to get another bag done (and as it ends up, I don't like this one, of course) I am a total "hands-on" felter. I try to rub with plastic bags on my hands. Gloves are completely out of the question (yuck! who would wear gloves to felt?) But I need to, and want to, feel the felt and the wool change under my hands.
I know it doesn't look so bad and that I am a big baby :o), but they bleed at the slightest rubbing. Soooo, this means no rubbing today and with a trip to Calgary to teach at weekend I may not get another bag done before I go. I will lay one out ready to go, just in case things heal quickly and I can make the time!
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Monday, May 24, 2010

Another New Bag

and the pod bag makes 3...

Layout above
The grey is some Gotland I had here from Holland. It is quite course and a bit hairy. The prefelts are some hand-dyed thick merino prefelt and the green and yellow fibre is C-1/Pellsull. I did shave the design on the finished bag to reduce some of the hairyness and the grey dulling my design. I think I will make the next bag from Finnwool. My hands need a bit of a break. No blood so far today as I rubbed a fair bit over the screen with bags on my hands. Maybe the next one will be finn with some merino and fabrics on the surface. I have a simple design for the resist ready to go!

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Sunday, May 23, 2010

New Little Bag

Layout and completed little bag of C-1/Pelsull. I am laying out another right now with a base of Gotland. I'll keep you posted...

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Saturday, May 22, 2010


(above: 2 bags made with C-1/Pelsull)

Hi All,
I have had several questions (here and on Facebook) about what type of wool I use for bags. I am currently using the C-1/Pelsull blend from New England Felting Supply. There are colours on their website, but I believe they have had additional colours blended, so it is best to call or email and ask. I am waiting now for my wholesale order from them and if you want to buy a larger volume, I would ask if this option is available to you.
I have mentioned before my utter love for Finn wool, but it is not consistantly available and the C-1/Pelsull is more affordable. What I love to do as well is mix in a layer of faster felting fibres, like the Finn (ahhh) or merino. It speeds up the process and gives the piece some great pebbled texture. The C-1/Pelsull is slower to start (than finer wools such as merino), but once things start to happen, it goes quickly. I like to use a bit warmer water than I normally would with finer wools and a good hit of dish soap makes a difference with this courser wool, I find. It is also great on it's own. I use it, or it in combination for everything from wall pieces, rugs, home decor, vessels, bags...anything you may need a sturdy, tight felt. Hope this is helpful. I must disclose that Chris, the owner of NEFS (and author of Uniquely Felt) is a close friend, but I receive no financial benefit for my endorsement! She carries a ton of different wools, so my "three cheers" for C-1/Pelsull has nothing to do with that. I just really want people to choose the correct wool for their project!
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Friday, May 21, 2010



Simple "bucket" bag
Today I had a meeting at the University to discuss my upcoming Artist and Educator in Residence. I will be busier than I had originally thought, but I am looking forward to it. I will be teaching a workshop every day and some days twice a day. I have a great space with big windows. My days have space blocked off for "me" time, but I anticipate I will spend my days preparing for workshops and cleaning up. I got home today and finished felting a little bag I had laid out yesterday. I did not feel like felting ropes, so this was my solution. Once I have a few more, they will go to the OCC Guild Shop in Toronto. Time to clean up and think about the rest of my busy day.

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Wednesday, May 19, 2010


I was supposed to be headed to Toronto today for a meeting, but my poor vehicle has been smoking. It works well actually as I have been home from Pittsburgh for weeks and this bag was the first thing on my agenda to felt and I finally got it done. It just has to dry completely and off it goes to Pittsburgh. With teaching and meetings and openings, things have been busy. People think I am lying when I tell them that being a professional artist, for me, means about only 20% of my art business is in the studio. I kid you not. joke :o)! I now have a rare few days that I have blocked off for studio time, but by the time I add in all the inbetween crap and a meeting on Friday for my brief artist-educator in residence position at Queen's University(exciting!), I have little creative time.

Much of my "creative time" actually occurs outside the studio. When I get in the studio I have an idea ready to execute, usually a sketch, but definately a plan as to what I am going to create, from what wool and how long it will take me. Of course, this bag was made in several hours and it only took several weeks to get it done! I am now going to sit with a cup of tea and something non-dairy and gluten-free (a new and maddening thing for me!) and have some of that "creative time". I head out to Calgary the end of the month and am going to do my best to put it out of my mind until I need to pack. Now, rice crackers or corn chips...

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Thursday, May 13, 2010

Phew! I'm back

Hi All,
Well, I have had a very busy and stressful couple of weeks and am just now getting you caught up. I was in Toronto last night to give a lecture at the Pomegrante Guild of Judaic Textiles. The lecture went well and I hope to see them all again soon. A wonderful group.

The picture above is at the opening of the Kingston Arts Council Juried Arts Salon. I enter every year, occasionally win an award, and get to exhibit beside many very talented local artists. It is always a great show. The venue, well..the venue frankly sucks. Here in Kingston we lack a decent public gallery space and this space has dirty walls and it is often unavailable as it is used as a meeting space. Not great. This is a huge reason my solo show was not in my city...such a shame. With our tremendous local talent, we deserve a decent space (decending soap box now)

This is beautiful and talented Julie Davidson-Smith. Julie won the top (ka-ching) award for her encaustic piece "untitled". She was a Kollaboration participant as well and I hope we have the chance to work together soon. I really like Julie and her work rocks.

Before the crowd arrives at the Juried Arts Salon. Emily Fennel on piano.

This was in Toronto at the "Maker Shaker" event last week. Jane and I drove up together and Lindsey met us there. On the left is the Ontario Crafts Council Guild Shop manager, and great guy, Rob Ridgeway. Funny thing is we were in Pittsburgh at the same time the week before and didn't know it. I was there for the opening of Fiberart International and he was there literally blocks away on other matters!

Jane and I in fromt of my donation piece, which sold to a lovely woman. I am enjoying a martini called the "wobbly weaver". Who could say "No" to that? (certainly, not I)

It was a rainy day in Toronto, but Jane found a prime spot right out front and even brought an extra raincoat. Gotta love Jane!
Tomorrow I welcome friend and colleage, Maureen Harding, into my studio to explore some things she wants to play around with. Always exciting. Saturday I have a work day and THEN (oh, can it be so?, please let it not be a dream!) I have a few, no several (actually, many) days blocked off to be in the studio. My tummy flip flops at the prospect of it all. I have a (damn) bag that I have to finish (it is a "damn" bag only because it has been calling to me and I have been unable to heed) and then I get to play and make some things for all my galleries! Oh, the joy!

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Friday, May 7, 2010

Catching up!

Is it possible?! Is it possible to catch you up with the last..oh...week, when I can't even recall who I have seen, what I have done, where I have gone?! What a whirlwind. I did complete a post the other day about an event in Toronto, only to briefly navigate away and lose the post moments before I had to head out the door once again. My camera is in my monster purse in my car right now, or else I could do a quick download of the images from an(other) opening last night. I do promise I will post images before the weekend comes to an end and I have even more to report.

This time of year is always so busy with kids end-of-year projects putting me over the edge as far as time stretching. All this craziness is largely self-inflicted and I wonder when I am going to find the perfect balance. I think I do pretty well most of the time, but with life's little events, it is never really in our control as much as we like to belive it may be. It also never fails that the teaching gigs I have had booked for over a year fall right smack in the middle of important kid events not yet imagined at the time. Whining? Certainly not. Challanging? Indeed. Giving my self permission to be imperfect? Always!

Oh, look at my post 2 posts ago and check out the youtube film from Kollaboration! I think you all missed it, as there are no comments! Maybe you are just all speechless!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

*New* Studio

C'mon in!!

View from the corner

From the doorway

View from the sinks...(doorway is my storage room)

As I had mentioned, I moved my store out of my space and I now have more room (Ahhh!). I love my "other" business and I will happily pass it on to only the most worthy of people, but I have been a bit stiffled by having it in my creative space. I have a few orders to fill right now (that will get done tomorrow), but my studio space must be my creative space. I can no longer walk in and be reminded of anything other than that!
As you can see, I have a way to go. The wall under the window will be build out around over the pipe and I will put up some cork board or tiles. The ceiling around my window needs to be finished. My machine (now in the garage) will be on the long grey table and I will be adding a 4 ft. table on the end of the existing table. I also have a large folding table that I can move in when needed. I will cover the long "counter" with some pretty plastic (oxymoron). I have a small storage area that right now has some completed work waiting to go to galleries (and there is a bag I am still trying to get done on the table!) I am well on my way to reclaiming this space and I'm pretty happy.

Tomorrow I am headed to Toronto for the Maker Shaker with my friend Jane and her two doggies, Fish and Chips.
Thursday I have the opening for the Kingston Arts Council Juried Arts Salon. Will I ever get in that studio!?

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Kollaboration Kingston- You Tube Link

Hey All,
This is Carolyn and Trevor at the opening of our Kollaboration event. What a great project. WE have a YouTube link for a little film of what it was about that I can't figure out how to out on here! I have tried to out a link above to the blog. I am, of course, in a rush and out the door. I will like this post to Trevor and Carolyn's site later!

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time to relax

time to relax
Liberatio Captivus