Around the World Blog Hop!

 

 

I was asked by my online friend and fellow Canadian fibre artist, Monika Kinner-Whalen, to participate in an International Artist’s Blog Hop. Many of you are probably familiar with Monika’s stunningly beautiful (and award-winning!) thread-painting art. But if you aren’t then be sure to check out her work on her website called My Sweet Prairie.   She did her blog post last week for the blog hop and you can read it here.

Karen Miller

Welcome to those who are not regular followers of my blog!  My name is Karen Miller and I am a hooked fibre artist living and working in Ottawa, Ontario Canada.  I have been making hooked fibre art pieces since 2008 and since that time I have seen my work undergo a lot of changes.  What started from a focus on whimsy and landscapes has developed into a love for abstractions of nature and a focus on forms.   Currently I am finding a lot of inspiration in the skeletal forms of trees.  I am enjoying exploring this concept and am looking forward to taking it to a new level with a new focus in 2015.

I currently have work on display in the juried “Prairies” fibre art show in Alberta, Canada and in a small group show called “Colours Caught in Fibre:  Rug Hooking Made Modern” in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario.   I am looking forward to a second small group show next March in Toronto, Ontario and then I have my first solo exhibits coming up also in 2015.   My work has won several awards including a Viewer’s Choice Award in 2012 at the Hooked in the Mountains show in Vermont and my art was included in the book “Textileart Around the World” which was just published last month.

 

Hooked fibre art by Karen D. Miller

Through the Trees by Karen Miller

In addition to my subject matter, another thing that I think sets my work apart from other hooked fibre artists is my love of texture. I am always trying to work in a bit of texture where I can in my pieces, from leather and beads to fluffy grasses. I want people to want to reach out and touch my work. If I see someone looking at one of my pieces and see them unable to resist reaching out and touching or stroking it then I know I have done a good job. Texture makes a piece come alive and it connects the audience to the message that I was trying to convey.

'Tree Fungi' by Karen Miller

‘Tree Fungi’ by Karen Miller

My creative process more often than not begins from a photo. I only make pieces from photos that I have taken. So for me the artistic process begins when I look through my viewfinder and compose the photo that I want to take. That photo then becomes the basis for the piece that I will create, whether it be a photo of my kids, a landscape scene, or something unusual in nature that inspires me.

 

Hooked art by Karen D. Miller

Ghost Trees by Karen Miller

I love doing something unusual and unexpected like the pieces found in my current series of trees.  I focus solely on the structure and main outline of the tree and keep my palette as minimal as possible.  This allows the strength and majesty of the tree to really shine through.  I think these pieces allow people to look at the things commonly found in their natural surroundings in a whole new way.

Hooked Rug by Karen D. Miller

Take a look around on my website and blog!  You can also find me on facebook here.

Next up on the blog hop is my friend Karen Larsen.  After falling in love with rug hooking in 2006, Karen began using her thirty-plus years of experience as a graphic designer to design and make patterns for hooked rugs.   She has had seven articles and projects in Rug Hooking Magazine with two more on the way.  She lives and breathes all things rug hooking!  She blogs at Crow’s Foot Farm Designs and she will be doing her blog hop post one week from today.

 

Thank you for visiting and thank you Monika for inviting me to participate!

 

Karen

 

 

Countdown to “Colours Caught in Fibre”: Meet Karen Miller

 

I have to say that it feels a little weird introducing myself on here.  But I figured that firstly, it was only fair that I have to answer the questions too and secondly, there may be people who see this that are interested in our show but are not regulars around here.  So, meet….well…. me!  🙂

It is not long until our group exhibit “Colours Caught in Fibre: Rug-Hooking Made Modern” opens on October 4th at the Niagara Pumphouse Arts Centre in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario.

I gave each of the artists in our show the same list of questions and each week leading up to the exhibit I have profiled one of them so that you can get to know them better and see their particular style of art. This week, meet me- Karen Miller.   My work ranges from landscapes to portraits to abstract.  But my underlying inspiration for no matter which form that I choose is almost always nature.  I have been fortunate enough to have my work featured twice in Rug Hooking Magazine’s Celebration of Hand-Hooked Rugs as well as in other books and magazine articles.   I have shown my work in three provinces in Canada as well as in the United States.  I am very much looking forward to exhibiting my work in our upcoming show in Niagara!

1. How long have I been hooking?

I started hooking in 2008.  My daughter was then not even one year old  and I would rush to my hooking frame during her naptimes to try to get as much done as possible when I had the chance!

2. How did you get started hooking?

In 2005 my husband and I took a trip to Cape Breton, Nova Scotia.  While there we visited Cheticamp and when I saw all of the hand-hooked rugs I knew it was something I wanted to try.  I bought a kit from the co-op there and gave it a try but couldn’t quite figure it out.  A few years later I looked it out again and this time it stuck!

3. Did you have a teacher or are you self-taught?

I am self-taught.

4. What was the first piece that you hooked?

My first rug was one that I designed myself of a scene that I had fallen in love with while in Iceland in 2008.  I still have it and it hangs proudly in my studio to remind me of how I began and how far I have come.

5. How do you think your style has evolved since your first piece?

I would say my style has definitely evolved.  There are certain aspects that I am still drawn to- like earth tones and use of texture- but the things that inspire me and my finished product have definitely grown and developed.

 

Hooked art by Karen D. Miller

Ghost Trees by Karen Miller

6. What is your proudest rug-hooking accomplishment?

I think I am most proud of the Viewer’s Choice Award that my “Solitude” piece received at Hooked in the Mountains in Vermont in 2012.  There is something very thrilling when the people who view a show vote for your work!  I am also extremely proud of the work that we have all put in to making Colours Caught in Fibre a reality.  I think it is going to be pretty overwhelming to stand in the gallery when the pieces are all hung and realize that it has finally happened-  from a little spark of an idea to a fabulous show!

7. Where do you find inspiration for your work?

Definitely nature.  The colours, the forms, the patterns- nature is brimming with inspiration!

8. What is your favourite subject matter for your work?

I love landscapes!  And I love making pieces of my kids (I totally have to get on with making one of my son!).  Lately I have been really enjoying making pieces inspired by trees as there are so many aspects of that subject to draw from.

9. What kind of hooking frame and hook do you use?

I alternate between a bent hook and a normal hook.  I find that it really depends on the kind of yarn that I am using- thinner yarns seem to pull up better with the straight hook and for thicker yarns I use the bent hook to protect my wrist.   My frame is a standing frame that my husband made for me a few years back.  But when I work on small pieces I tend to use a hoop.

10. What will people see of your work at the Colours Caught in Fibre exhibit in Niagara-on-the-Lake?

A lot of my tree inspired pieces and a few other things mixed in too!

Hooked fibre art by Karen D. Miller

Through the Trees by Karen Miller

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I hope you have enjoyed learning a bit more about me that maybe you didn’t previously know! Just a reminder that our show opens on October 4th- November 28th, 2014 at the Niagara Pumphouse Arts Centre in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario. If you have any questions about either the show or my work feel free to email me at marzipanroad@bell.net!

Karen