Photo by Karen D. Miller

What I’m Up To….

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There are absolutely not enough hours in a day to get everything done!

So here is where things are at. First- the studio. This week I bought a fancy new doorknob for the glass door. The old doorknob left a few marks on the door itself so I have to touch up the paint slightly but otherwise the door is done. Check. The walls have been stripped of all pictures and I have some paint chips up on the wall for me to decide on a colour. I’m pretty sure that I have narrowed it down so it will just be a case of prepping the walls and buying the paint.

My husband and I also discussed a bit about what will stay in the room and what will move out and where it will go. I’m feeling really good about the space once I get it looking and feeling the way that I want. And I got notice that my curtains and rod are ready for pick-up so I will get those tomorrow. Yay!

Second- my art. I’m still working away at my next big project. It is one of those quite intricate ones that you can spend a few hours on at a time but it takes awhile before you start to see progress. So I don’t think it will be done anytime soon. I want it done by the end of the summer/early fall so hopefully I will get there. I may intersperse some smaller projects along the way- I have at least one other Fall deadline for a smaller piece.

Third- Life. There is only one more day of school! This will mean I don’t have naptimes to work as I will be hanging out with my daughter. But, my daughter is a great little helper and will probably want to help me paint the studio so there will still be a fair bit of productivity in there. And of course I will still have my evenings with hook in hand. Last year we called it the “Summer of Big Fun.” This year we are projecting the “Summer of Many Adventures.” My daughter and I have a list of things we want to accomplish over the next two months and we are ready to go!

As for the Blog, I know that I have fallen horribly, terribly behind in my inspiration photos. If I don’t pick up my socks soon I will never make it to 40 photos!!! I am extremely hopeful, though, that now that the summer routine is going to fall into place I will be out and about more with camera in hand so I think those posts are going to pick up in pace very soon. ūüôā

Ok summer- bring it on. I’m ready for you.

Karen

Photo by Karen D. Miller

A Studio!

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Guess who is getting her own studio!!!!

I have always known that eventually I would turn our spare bedroom into a studio.¬† But I kind of thought it wouldn’t happen for a few years.¬† Probably when my son starts school and I get a chance to do more of my work during the day.¬†¬† In the meantime I was happy to do my work in our living room.¬† Well, I was kind of happy doing my work in the living room.¬† It was also kind of a pain to have to constantly clean everything up whenever anyone came over to the house.¬† I could never leave a work in progress as messy as I wanted.

This past weekend I decided that working on the couch wasn’t really working for me anymore posturally and ergonomically (ie. it wasn’t ergonomic at all).¬† So my husband suggested that I use one of the desk chairs because it adjusts up and down.¬† He was all ready to take it down to the living room but I was reluctant because that would be yet one more thing to have to keep moving out of the already full room.¬† It was at that point that my husband said “you need a studio.”

So, at 10:00 that night he was taking apart the old futon that was in the spare room and making space for my chair and rug stand.

But then it didn’t stop there.¬† The next day he went out and bought a glass-panelled door (I have always wanted one!) and installed it and painted it.¬† It is starting to feel real now!

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I decided to lay the bookcase that holds my yarn horizontally instead of vertically which frees up more wall space and gives me a bit of a work surface on top.  I love it like this!

There is still A LOT left to do.¬† I have chosen a paint colour (this beige has got to go) but still have to actually paint the room.¬† My vision is to clear the walls of everything and make it space where I can hang pieces as I finish them and while they wait to be sold.¬†¬† I’ve chosen new curtains that I just have to order.¬† I have to go out and pick a new fancy door handle for my door.¬† And that bulletin board on the bookcase¬†draped in¬†fabric?¬† I found a great tutorial online for turning a boring old bulletin board into something great for ribbons and awards.¬† I just have to iron the fabric and actually do it….

So, I’m not sure when it will all get done as I still have a lot of deadlines looming that I have to keep making art for.¬† But I will keep chipping away at the room and show you progress as I make some.

So excited!!

 

Karen

Hand Hooked Rug by Karen D. Miller

Now at Harbour Grounds….

Hand Hooked Rug by Karen D. Miller

I am having terrific success with my Postcards from Newfoundland series!¬† Today I found out that my ‘St.Paul’s’ piece sold (thank you once again for all your support Newfoundland!) so it is time to hang another.¬† My ‘King’s Point’ piece is now on display and available for purchase at the Harbour Grounds coffee shop in Corner Brook, Newfoundland.

I’m starting to think I should make a few more of these to supplement the four new ones that I just made.¬† And the owner of the coffee shop has asked me to provide a little bio to hang on the wall beside my work so I am going to work on that and get it out there.

Lots to do!

 

Karen

Hand Hooked Fibre Art; Hooked by Karen D. Miller

How I got started….

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I recently came across these in the house and it made me realize that I don’t think I have ever told the story of how I got started rug-hooking and making fibre art.

I think I have always been crafty- my mother taught me to knit and crochet when I was a little girl.¬† I then gravitated to cross-stitching.¬† I really enjoyed the cross-stitching and loved picking out new patterns to do.¬† Oh, I had so many patterns!¬† My husband, though, was always asking me why I didn’t try designing something of my own.¬† The idea seemed so out there to me- I’m not a trained artist and I didn’t think I could do it.

In 2005 we visited Cape Breton, Nova Scotia.¬† One of our day trips was to Cheticamp and that is where I saw and fell in love with hooked rugs.¬† We of course picked up some hooked pieces and I bought one of the Cheticamp rug kits (the one above on the right).¬†¬† Before the trip was over we had also bought the puffin kit (above on the left) and I had picked up a copy of Deanne Fitzpatrick’s first book.

When I got home I broke out the flower kit and gave it a try.¬† It was a horrible experience.¬† I couldn’t for the life of me figure out how they got those thin pieces of yarn to stay in the holes without pulling them out continuously¬† (ironic as now I work mostly with yarn).¬† I was convinced there must be some trick to it that I didn’t know- I had to be doing something wrong.¬† After several dismal attempts I tucked it away in a closet and swore I would likely never try it again.

I can’t remember what drove me, about three years later, to try again but I did.¬† I think it was around the time that I had my daughter and was looking for something new to try.¬† This time I tried it with the hook that came with the puffin kit and realized that the other hook was not very good at all.¬† And this time it worked out!¬† Excited by my success I broke out the puffin kit and got my first taste of hooking with wool strips.¬† As a sign of things to come I didn’t follow the pattern exactly but played around with it and made it my own.¬† I loved the whole experience.¬† I was “hooked”.

It was shortly after that we took our first trip to Iceland (I know, I know, Iceland is always cropping up) and I went on that trip with my sketchbook and my pencil crayons and ready to find something to hook.  Unsurprisingly the first piece that I designed myself was an Icelandic scene and the rest is history.

I’ve never touched another kit again but I sure am glad that I picked up these two and gave it another try.

Karen

* The kit on the right was from the Cheticamp rug hooking Co-operative.¬† The puffin kit I think was designed by “By the Door Rug Hooking” but I can’t remember for sure.

Hand Hooked Fibre Art by Karen D. Miller

Moon Rise

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My original plan was to show this piece in stages as I worked on it.¬† But in the end I didn’t take any ongoing photos because I was struggling so much with it and I really felt, until the end, that I could at any time decide just to give up and rip it all out.

What I have learned now is that even if I feel that way I should still take photos as I go because you just never know how it will end up.

This piece was a challenge for me.¬† I’m not exactly sure why.¬† On the face of it it seems fairly simplistic.¬† But it was actually quite difficult.¬† Partly because it is a small piece measuring just 8 x 10.¬† That didn’t give me much room for details so I had to use small touches to capture the scene.¬† My first challenge was the clouds in the sky- how to capture the colours and the clouds without a lot of elaboration.

My second major challenge was the moon itself.¬† I tried a bunch of different colours and rejected them all for being too dark or too light.¬† I had to try and balance the moon itself with the aura around it.¬† The colours I settled on had to have been about my tenth attempted combination. Then¬†I felt that the aura around it made the moon look “squarish”.¬† It bothered me all the way until the end.¬† The last thing I did was play around with the blue to make the aura and the moon more circular.

Surprisingly I only changed the reflection on the water once.  The first time I did it the orangey hues on either side of the main reflection looked too structured.  So I ripped them out and tried to integrate it better with the purply water.

Definitely one of those pieces that you have to finish to be happy with.  Each part needs the full context of the rest to make sense.  Until the water was done, the orangey stripes in the sky looked bizarre to me.  Now it all makes sense.

Oh- I should mention that the piece was inspired by a moon rise that we saw while camping with friends a few years back in Waupoos, Ontario.  A few of us stood out on the dock just gazing at the beauty of it while I, of course, ran to get my camera.

This piece will eventually be framed and is the last piece that I am making for our show in Niagara-on-the-Lake.¬† My break from big pieces is now over and I have already sketched out my next big piece which will be for another show later this year.¬† I think of it as a companion piece to my “Ghost Trees” piece so it will be another challenge for me but I am excited to get going on it!

Onward and upward!

Karen

Photo by Karen D. Miller

What I’m Reading

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I feel like I have been badly missing in action this week.¬† I’ve been working away at a piece that I am still not feeling quite 100% about.¬† I’m not really sure why, but I will show it to you in progress and talk a bit about my struggles with it in an upcoming blog post.

In the meantime I wanted to tell you about¬†this book.¬† I ordered it the other week and it is really good.¬† I have long been drawn to art quilts and have often seen a similarity in the approach to that art form and to my own.¬† This book is designed for quilts but really gets me thinking about an interesting approach for my own art.¬† I haven’t finished reading it yet and once I have finished reading it I will sit with it for a bit and do some brainstorming- I already have a bunch of thoughts swirling around just from what I have read so far.¬†¬† I think that this book will become a stepping off point for some new pieces down the road and new avenues for discovery.

 

Karen