Fibre Art by Karen D. Miller

Inspired by Nature

petrie8I would say about 90% of my work is inspired by nature.  It is for that reason that I see any time spent out in nature, gathering new ideas and looking for unique angles and abstractions is time well spent.  There is so much to be inspired by- be it the curve of a branch, the colours of the water, the shape of a flower petal….

Yesterday morning the little guy and I spent some time at Petrie Island on the Ottawa River.  Such a great place to hang out and relax and really take it all in.  Here are some of the photos that I took while there:








Art with Kids: Grass Heads

With summer holidays looming and lots of fun and crafts planned I had better get caught up on sharing all of the stuff that we have done so far!

This was a really fun one to do. We made the grass heads over March Break. Easy peasy- a pair or stockings, some grass seed and a container of water. Done! The kids had a lot of fun deciding what they wanted them to look like. My daughter turned hers into a bunny while my son wanted me to twist a nose into the stocking. We sat them on the kitchen counter in the sun, added some water and waited.


The kids loved checking on them every day and got so excited when the first blades of grass appeared. At some point they gave them a little trimming. From time to time we forget to water them religiously and get a bit of die back. But this is what they look like today- three months after we started them. Still going strong….and it is probably time for a little trim. 🙂


Thousand Islands Getaway

This weekend we surprised my husband with a little getaway for Father’s Day.  He knew we were going somewhere, but he didn’t know exactly where he was going until he sat down in the car to begin the drive.  Super fun idea that mixed things up a bit.  Definitely going to do more surprise trips in the future!



The kids and I booked us for a night at the Gananoque Inn in Gananoque, Ontario.  It is a cute little town only about an hour and a half drive away from us and is considered the “gateway” to the Thousand Islands region.  We had a very nice night at the hotel- watching the Women’s World Cup game on tv (ironically being played back in Ottawa) and then wandered down to the local park and beach area in the early evening.


I had booked us for the Boldt Castle boat cruise for the Sunday.  It is a five hour boat trip- 1 1/2 hours each way and then 2 hours on Heart Island to explore the castle and the grounds.  The weather forecast called for rain but in the end it was a perfect day!  Heart Island is actually situated in American waters so passports are required so we could almost kind of fool ourselves into thinking that we were going on a big trip.  😉   My daughter thought it was cool that the boat passed under the Thousand Island Bridge that connects Canada to the US.


I had done the boat and castle tour several times as a kid.  I always like cruising through the Thousand Islands and seeing all the islands of varying sizes.  Some are so small that the house that is on it takes up the entire space.


Then we arrived at the castle.  The story behind it is kind of sad.  It was being built as a gift from the owner to his wife to show his love for her. There are hearts everywhere on the island- in the wrought iron fence, heart-shaped stones, even the island itself was apparently reshaped into a heart.   But then she died before it was finished and he stopped all construction on it.  It sat empty from 1904 until the 1970’s when it was decided to fix it up and continue trying to turn it into the splendour that had been envisioned.   There has definitely been tons of work done on it since I was last there, and lots of rooms are now finished and furnished.




After wandering the castle and all of the out-buildings (including a children’s playhouse that is more like a mini-castle) we sat outside in the gardens and had a little picnic lunch that we had brought with us before we boarded the boat back.


Great little getaway!


Travel Friday

Where: Iles-de-la-Madeleine, Quebec- 2014

Inspiration:  There is something just so wonderful about a beach.  And the colour of the red rock in contrast to the green grass is just spectacular. ********************************************************************************************************

Every Friday in 2015 I am sharing a photo that I have taken somewhere that we have travelled. My goal in looking back at these travel memories is to rekindle the inspiration that caused me to take the photos in the first place.



Photo by Karen D. Miller

New in the Studio….

It was round about a year ago that we got down to work and turned out spare bedroom into my studio.  Since that time I’ve been looking for the perfect piece to replace the old white dresser that I was using to hold my backings and hooks and other supplies.  And I also had the problem that my yarn storage method was starting to overflow with yarn.


When I first saw this cabinet that was refurbished by my friend Teresa of “Tessie’s Creations”, I knew that it would be the perfect solution as well as being absolutely beautiful!   Yesterday I set it up in its new home in my studio and I think I am in love.  🙂  Such an improvement!

And in keeping with my philosophy to avoid clutter and if something comes into the house, something must go out….the old dresser will go to someone who can really use it so everyone wins!


Upper Canada Village

This past weekend we decided to go on an adventure to Upper Canada Village in Morrisburg, Ontario.  It is only about an hour’s drive from Ottawa so it was the perfect getaway to feel like we were getting away without having to sit in the car for a long time.

I love Upper Canada Village.  For those who don’t know what it is, it is an entire recreated village from the 1860’s.  It is supposed to represent what life was like at that time in what was then Upper Canada and comes complete with historical actors.  Very much like Sauder Village in Ohio, USA….except Canadian.  I used to go quite often as a kid, and really not much has changed since then.  We took my daughter when she was about two years old but since she is now eight it was clearly time to go again.  We started off with a picnic beside the monument commemorating the Battle of Crysler Farm.  Right across the St. Lawrence Seaway is New York State so it is a good visual of just how close the Americans were back then during the War of 1812 when the battle took place.  I have no photos from the picnic because the kids gobbled down their lunch and immediately were raring to go so the picnic was extremely short-lived.

The kids had a great time at the village- my daughter loved going into all of the buildings with me and my son loved running through the gardens and up and down the wooden sidewalks.  We even managed to hop onto a horse and buggy ride which my son called the “wagon horse.”

Here are some of my favourite photos from our fun day away!

upper 1

upper 2

upper 3

upper 4

upper 9

upper 6

upper 5

upper 7


Travel Friday

Where: Pog Lake, Algonquin Park, Ontario- 2013

Inspiration:  I really love camping. It isn’t something that I thought I would love but I really do love it.  It is terrific family bonding and together time.  And I have a real thing for trees and being inspired by trees.  So when I look at this photo it brings back memories and makes me feel inspired and happy.


Every Friday in 2015 I am sharing a photo that I have taken somewhere that we have travelled. My goal in looking back at these travel memories is to rekindle the inspiration that caused me to take the photos in the first place.




Hooked fibre art by Karen D. Miller

Preparing for Frame / fraym

I have kind of entered the final flight now before the opening of Frame / fraym on August 20th at the Shenkman Arts Centre here in Ottawa.  This will be my very first solo exhibition so I really, really want it to be good.  A lot of work has been going on behind the scenes- tons of work actually.   And I think I will be working right up until the pieces are hung!

My piece “Undeveloped Memories” has had a complete framing overhaul.  Previously I had shown it in a six paned window frame.  While it was hanging in Toronto back in March we realized that the frame didn’t really work with the style of the piece.  So my husband/framer concocted something completely new which sets off the piece one hundred times better and really supports the theme of the piece.  I’m super excited for everyone to see its new look.

In addition I have three brand new pieces completed. One of which is about 7 feet tall!   Working towards this exhibit has been a real departure for me in terms of my work.  My new pieces are much more experimental in terms of materials.  I am super pumped to show everyone what I have been working on- a lot of it uses materials in ways that I think many may not have seen done with hooking before.  As well, this exhibit marks a change in my ideas and the way I portray my ideas.  To this point I’ve been very focused on doing “pretty scenes.”  I still love to do those kinds of pieces but this exhibit has brought me to a place where I am digging a bit deeper within myself and exploring issues that affect me and those closest to me.  I think that this has opened up an avenue that I will continue to explore in my work as I have found that I am brimming with ideas.

Right now I am working on another new piece.  It is a technical challenge!  If I can pull this off I will be so happy and proud of myself.  I still have a couple of months to pull it all together so I think the time is there.  I took a couple of other pieces off my list just so I would be able to dedicate the time I needed to this one so needless to say I think it is pretty important.  Depending on how that one comes together I may be able to fit in one more new piece that I have in mind.

And of course the exhibit will have some of my previous pieces, such as my tree series.  They haven’t been shown before in Ottawa so to many who have not had a chance to see them close up it will be as if they are new!

I am tremendously excited about this upcoming exhibit.  I can’t wait to have all of the pieces finished and ready to be hung.




Travel Friday

Where: Westmann Islands, Iceland- 2009

Inspiration:  Viking related carvings on a church door.  Love the designs, the colour of the wood and the stained glass panels at the top.


Every Friday in 2015 I am sharing a photo that I have taken somewhere that we have travelled. My goal in looking back at these travel memories is to rekindle the inspiration that caused me to take the photos in the first place.