Postcards from Newfoundland Exhibit

I was away all of last week on my trip to Newfoundland!  I’ll share some photos from my trip in the coming days but wanted to first share some photos from my the exhibit that I opened while I was there.

With two children in tow and a suitcase full of art, I headed off on Saturday, October 24th.  On the Monday we did the set up for the exhibit.  It was really fun to finally unwrap it all and figure out what order I wanted to hang everything in.

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I had all of the white walls to fill and had the option to use some of the wood panelled walls but I decided to keep it all to the white walls.  Art stands out so much better on a nice white wall.  In the end I have 22 pieces in the exhibit.  Some are my small “Postcards from Newfoundland” pieces and some are a bit larger.

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I brought along a few of the brochures that I had at my last exhibit here in Ottawa so that people could see some of the other work that I do that I don’t usually get to exhibit in Newfoundland.

After we had finished setting it all up, the venue adjusted that lighting.  The lighting is great- each piece is in the spotlight and all of the sparkly yarns that I use really shine.

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This past Saturday was the Opening Reception.  The Harbour Grounds coffee shop donated coffee for the event and I also purchased a tray of their goodies.  We even had some Halloween candy on hand.  🙂  It was so nice to meet some people that I had only met online and to hear a lot of really nice comments about my work.

We are home now but the exhibit will continue at the Corner Brook Arts and Culture Centre until November 21st!

Karen

Less than Two Weeks Away!

Yep, that’s right.  It is almost time for my exhibit in Corner Brook, Newfoundland to open.  Hard to believe it is finally here.  I think just like with most exhibits, they are booked so far in advance that they seem like ages away.  And then just like that they sneak up on you.  I have officially finished making all of the pieces that will be in this exhibit.  My most recent and last was this one called “Overcast”:

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I spent today labelling and making up the tags for each piece and organizing all of the other bits and pieces that go along with the exhibit.   Next I have to wrap them all up and do a trial run with packing them to see how I’m going to go about getting them all there.  Exciting times for sure!

There is actually a fair bit on the go.   I am also sending two of my pieces to this upcoming event in Vancouver, British Columbia.  I am very proud to be a member of Guild Trip and this fantastic event will be the prelude to the launch of the site.  I so wish I could go to check it out, meet some of the other artists and see the absolutely AMAZING venue that it is being held in.  But alas I can’t be there so I will have to be content with having my pieces there and seeing photos!  If you are in the area, be sure to mark it on your calendar and check it out.  My “Ghost Trees” and “Through the Trees” pieces will be there and available for purchase along with many other Fine Craft works!

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So other than these two upcoming exciting events, things have been fairly quiet. I’ve sketched out my next piece.  This one is completely for me, to hang on my wall.  It is a project that has kept getting pushed to the backburner with other things and now I have decided to carve out the time to just do it.  I have lots of other ideas percolating away that need some time to sit anyway so it seems like the perfect time.

Photo by Karen D. Miller

 

This was the original framing of “Undeveloped Memories”.  As you know, it got a major framing facelift.  So now I am going to use this frame which sits empty and am going to fill it with six panels, each with a picture of my kids.  Two panels will be for my daughter alone, two for my son alone, and two for pictures of them together.  I think it is going to be a really fun and meaningful project that will capture them as they are right now.  So as I mentioned, the first panel is sketched out and I just have to get down to picking out the colours and then getting started.

A huge part of starting a new project, sadly, is tidying up from the last one.  My studio becomes an absolute mess of yarns- especially when I was working on the Postcards from Newfoundland pieces because I was changing colours and pieces so often.   Things stay a little more organized when I am working on a bigger piece.

I don’t know what it is about mess and clutter.  I swear it multiplies by itself.  I have done so, so much decluttering over the past couple of years and have absolutely curtailed what we bring into the house.  I’ve said before that my mantra is that if something is going to stay it has to either be very useful or extremely beautiful and meaningful.  There are so many other ways to find self-fulfillment than shopping for more and more stuff.  Especially mass-produced “made in China” kinda stuff.   Yet even with that philosophy I still feel like my house is full of clutter.  I think partly it is from the kids’ toys- toys these days all seem to come with a million pieces that inevitably get scattered around the house.  I remind myself that these are short-lived days and I am quite good at passing along toys as they are outgrown by the kids.  And my daughter is really great about things too- she doesn’t like a lot of stuff, is great at telling me when she no longer wants something and isn’t really into cutesie knick-knacks and the like.  I hope that I am passing along to my kids an appreciation for valuing experiences over things and a love of handmade rather than factory-made.

That feels like a ramble, but I think with all that has been going on with my exhibits etc. mess has been inevitable and sometimes it reaches the point where it drives me nuts and when that happens I notice that it also affects my productivity.   Physical clutter really does clutter your mind and take up way too much time tidying it up and cleaning it.

So, I’m taking my time moving onto the next project.  I’m getting my space in order, choosing my colours carefully and looking forward to getting into a slower rhythym in my work- at least for now.

Clearing my calendar a little bit and clearing my space is really helping to clear my mind to make way for more creativity.

 

Karen

 

Exhibit Video

For those who didn’t get a chance to come and see my recent exhibit at the Shenkman Arts Centre in Ottawa here’s your opportunity!   A local film-maker, Liana Voia, kindly did a surprise interview with me at the opening reception.

I’m not much of a fan of watching myself on video, but I think it turned out really well and it is a great memento of the exhibit now that it is no longer hanging.

In this video I talk about each of the sixteen pieces in the exhibit as well as a bit about my own process when it comes to hooked fibre art.

 

Enjoy!

 

Karen

 

 

Foggy Morning

I’ve been working fairly steadily now on small pieces from my ‘Postcards from Newfoundland’ series.  My solo exhibit of these works is coming up fast- it opens on October 26th!   I don’t have a complete idea yet of how many pieces I would like to have in this show.  I think I’m aiming from somewhere between 20 and 25.   I have approximately 13 finished so I think it is definitely doable.

This is my latest- “Foggy Morning”.  It could really be of anywhere in Newfoundland, really, as fog is a fairly frequent event there.  But it was inspired by a particular scene that I saw in King’s Point a couple of years ago now.  When it is super grey and foggy the neon buoys out on the water seem to almost glow- I guess that is probably exactly why they make them that colour so that they stand out from the billowing grey mist.  This was my first time making a yellow building- I seem to gravitate to red.  But I’m really liking the yellow and by using a variety of yellows I was able to replicate the weather beaten look.

I’ll keep sharing the pieces that I complete for this upcoming show as I get them finished.  Getting excited to see them all hung together!

 

Karen

Undeveloped Memories- The Redo

I’m so excited that my solo exhibit is now open and I can finally show you all of the new work that I have been producing since late last year!

This first piece isn’t completely new.  I showed it to you in a blog post before and it was also on exhibit in the group show that I was in this past March at Todmorden Mills in Toronto.   I think, actually, that it was seeing it in that show that made me realize that the framing of it was all wrong for the piece.  If you recall, it was previously framed in a six panel old window frame.   But this piece is so contemporary that it was really not a great match.   The presentation was far too flat.

Luckily my husband also agreed with me and we set out to design a new look for the piece.   What we came up with I think suits the piece perfectly.  The frame itself is as abstract as the hooked panels and the piece makes a much greater impact than it did before.

“Undeveloped Memories” explores the concept of the abstraction of human memories:  Who do our memories belong to and what makes an experience memorable?   What is the effect on a memory if its components are reordered and abstracted?  And lastly, what is the effect on a captured memory if it is viewed by someone outside of the experience- what does the interpretation of the viewer bring to the understanding of the memory.

This piece measures 42″ x 48″.

 

Karen

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.

Karen

 

 

“Celebrating Colour in Fibre” at Todmorden Mills, Toronto

This past weekend I finally got to see our group exhibit in Toronto.  I had seen lots of photos that my fellow artists had posted online, but it wasn’t quite the same as being there in person.  And since I missed the opening reception, I also missed out on a lot of the buzz around the show.  So I was really happy when we got down to the gallery in time on Sunday for me to spend a whole hour looking around before the exhibit closed!
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It was such a great space.  There wasn’t a single piece, big or small, that wasn’t shown well.  The lighting highlighted everything beautifully.  It was a terrific place for some of our larger pieces to be on display without looking at all cramped.

And we filled the whole gallery.  There wasn’t an empty space to be had.

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Even though I arrived for the final hour of the exhibit, there were still people milling around taking a look at all the art.  I was told that that was the way it was throughout the duration of the show- there were always people there.

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I heard so much great feedback on our work.  I read so much great feedback in the guest book that people had signed.  I was thrilled to hear that many people had mentioned that they follow me here on the blog and on facebook and were disappointed to not have been able to chat with me at the opening.  I appreciate hearing that so much and hope that our paths will cross at an exhibit in the future!

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On Monday morning we all picked up our art and the show was over.  The space immediately looked empty but I was so, so proud of all of us for putting on such a great show.  The five other ladies that I was on exhibit with are extremely talented artists and wonderful people and I am thrilled to have been a part of it and to be able to call them my friends.  🙂

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Karen

Photo by Karen D. Miller

1 Woman, 1 Man, 2 Kids and 16 Pieces of Art…..A Road Trip

On Sunday we loaded up the car with art, kids and assorted bits and pieces and headed off to Toronto.  It is about a five hour drive from Ottawa to Toronto but for some reason it didn’t feel that long.  Luckily we had great weather for the trip!

Photo by Karen D. Miller

Monday morning we headed to Todmorden Mills to drop off my pieces for our group show.  The gallery is hanging the show today and it opens to the public tomorrow.  I didn’t get a good chance to look at too many pieces from my fellow artists, but what I did see was incredible.  It is going to be such a good show.  Here are some of the pieces that I dropped off- needless to say my house is feeling pretty devoid of art right now as almost everything is in Toronto!

Photo by Karen D. Miller

 

The gallery is a great space too.  You don’t even see half of it in these photos- it wraps all around this section and there is even another little room off to the side.  It has a very industrial, modern feel with great lighting.  I think our fibre art is going to look fantastic in this space.

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Here you can see some of my smaller pieces on the table to the left, pieces from Trish Johnson on the table to the right and beside Ghost Trees over by the bar are some of Kathryn Taylor’s graffiti pieces.  The bar area is spectacular- love those exposed bricks.

So the show opens tomorrow and runs until March 15th.  The opening reception is this Sunday March 8th from 1-4pm.  If Toronto was not so far away for me I would be there for sure, but the other five artists will be there.  If you are in the area or nearby you need to go and see this exhibit- I promise you will not be disappointed!

 

Karen

Oh look- a Blog Post!

I know, right- when was my last real blog post?

Rest assured I am still working hard over here.  In fact, every evening and naptime has been devoted to making art, designing art and working on advertising and paperwork for my upcoming solo shows.  Suffice to say I am crazy busy.  It is a good busy.  No, it is a great busy!  But it is busy nonetheless.

I have a whole list of pieces that I have roughly designed for my solo show in Ottawa in August.  So far I have one completed and am close to completing a second.  Phew.  Still lots to go but it is nice to have a couple under my belt.  The completed piece is called “Undeveloped Memories.”  It is currently at the framing stage and I can’t wait to see how it looks all together since it is six individual panels that will make up the one piece.

The piece I am working on now follows along the lines of my ongoing tree series.  Except it has a slight twist.  In fact, every piece that I am making for my Ottawa show is pushing the boundaries of what I have done before and is taking me out of my comfort zone in a big way.  These pieces are very different for me and not at all what I have made in the past.  Pushing the boundaries is hard, and scary.  But it is also seriously rewarding and make me very excited for the future of my work.

What this all means, though, is that for the next few months I won’t have a whole lot to show you here on the blog of what I am working on.  On the upside, though, come August I will have tons of new stuff to show you so hang in there!  🙂

In other news our group show in Toronto is almost here.

This is going to be a very beautiful show and the opening reception will be a great time to meet and chat with the artists.  (Unfortunately I won’t be at the opening, but the other five artists will be and you will still get a chance to see my work).  My new piece “Undeveloped Memories” will also be in this show.

 

Hope everything is great where you are!  Now I guess I better get back to work!  😉

 

Karen

“Colours Caught in Fibre” Exhibit!

Niagara Pumphouse Arts Centre

The show is now open at the Niagara Pumphouse Arts Centre in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario! Such a beautiful location. Niagara-on-the-Lake is such a beautiful, historic little town. Beautiful tropical flowers planted everywhere and lots of old buildings. The Pumphouse is a beautiful little gallery right by Lake Ontario.

Photo by Karen D. Miller

Such a thrill for me, and I think for all the ladies, to see the show go from a germ of an idea to an actual living breathing exhibit. Almost like a dream come true. We have all worked so hard preparing for this for a full year now and it was so nice to just enjoy it!

'Kayla' by Simone Vojvodin (below easel) and 'Beyond Swallowtail' by Karen Miller (on easel)

‘Kayla’ by Simone Vojvodin (bottom) and ‘Beyond Swallowtail’ by Karen Miller (on easel)

Photo by Karen D. Miller
The five of us went for lunch at a nice little restaurant near the gallery on Sunday and then headed over to the opening reception. It was a great turn-out! There were a lot of people there from the rug-hooking community and I got to meet several people who follow this blog (hello there!) and several other fibre artists whose work that I admire. And there were many people for whom rug-hooking was a new art form and we were thrilled to have them there also. Our work was received very well and it was so exciting to see people engaging with our work and having so many kind words for us!

'Flowers in a Vase' by Gunda Gamble

‘Flowers in a Vase’ by Gunda Gamble

'Graffiti Wall' by Kathryn Taylor

‘Graffiti Wall’ by Kathryn Taylor

'My First Love' by Simone Vojvodin (left) and 'Cats with Wild Roses' by Simone Vojvodin (right)

‘My First Love’ by Simone Vojvodin (left) and ‘Cats with Wild Roses’ by Simone Vojvodin (right)

There are a total of 40 pieces in our show! I tried to get photos of all of them but several of the photos didn’t turn out well. I also neglected to take photos of a few of my own pieces in the exhibit- maybe because I am so familiar with them that it didn’t occur to me! But I didn’t manage to get good photos of the majority of them.

'Graffiti Fence #1, #2 and #3' by Kathryn Taylor

‘Graffiti Fence #1, #2 and #3’ by Kathryn Taylor

'Meadows' by Gunda Gamble

‘Meadows’ by Gunda Gamble

'Rain' by Simone Vojvodin (top) and 'Galaxy' by Simone Vojvodin (bottom)

‘Rain’ by Simone Vojvodin (top) and ‘Galaxy’ by Simone Vojvodin (bottom)

'Queen Anne's Lace' by Gunda Gamble

‘Queen Anne’s Lace’ by Gunda Gamble

'Rainbow Birch' by Gunda Gamble

‘Rainbow Birch’ by Gunda Gamble

'When Dreams Take Flight' by Simone Vojvodin

‘When Dreams Take Flight’ by Simone Vojvodin

'My Grandmother's Diary' by Trish Johnson (far left), 'Working on the Railroad' by Trish Johnson (top right), 'The Yellow Fence' by Trish Johnson (far right), 'Hare Today' by Simone Vojvodin (bottom left) and 'Gone Tomorrow' by Simone Vojvodin (bottom right)

‘My Grandmother’s Diary’ by Trish Johnson (far left), ‘Working on the Railroad’ by Trish Johnson (top right), ‘The Yellow Fence’ by Trish Johnson (far right), ‘Hare Today’ by Simone Vojvodin (bottom left) and ‘Gone Tomorrow’ by Simone Vojvodin (bottom right)

'Through the Trees' by Karen Miller (on easel) and 'Colours of Mud at Hverir, Iceland' by Karen Miller (on wall)

‘Through the Trees’ by Karen Miller (on easel) and ‘Colours of Mud at Hverir, Iceland’ by Karen Miller (on wall)

'Missing Summer' by Gunda Gamble

‘Missing Summer’ by Gunda Gamble

'Dream Turtle' by Simone Vojvodin

‘Dream Turtle’ by Simone Vojvodin

'Black Sand at Vik, Iceland' by Karen Miller

‘Black Sand at Vik, Iceland’ by Karen Miller

'Galaxy One' by Gunda Gamble (far left top), 'Trees' by Gunda Gamble (far left bottom), 'Western Islands Georgian Bay' by Kathryn Taylor (middle), 'Moon Rise' by Karen Miller (right top), 'Maritime Sunset' by Karen Miller (right bottom)

‘Galaxy One’ by Gunda Gamble (far left top), ‘Trees’ by Gunda Gamble (far left bottom), ‘Western Islands Georgian Bay’ by Kathryn Taylor (middle), ‘Moon Rise’ by Karen Miller (right top), ‘Maritime Sunset’ by Karen Miller (right bottom)

Kathryn Taylor, Trish Johnson, Karen Miller, Gunda Gamble, Simone Vojvodin

Kathryn Taylor, Trish Johnson, Karen Miller, Gunda Gamble, Simone Vojvodin

This has been a huge learning and growing experience for all five of us! We are so, so happy with how the exhibit came together and hope that you can stop by and see it! The exhibit runs until November 28th!

Karen