Celebrating My Two Loves

Have you seen the latest issue of Rug Hooking Magazine? I’m pretty excited that my article, “Celebrating my Two Loves,” is in it! This one is about that series of seven pieces I did that were inspired by my kids. I’ve had a number of people email me to tell me that they really enjoyed hearing the stories behind each of these pieces. I hope you enjoy the article too. ūüôā

Last week I also taught a Beginner Rug Hooking with Yarn class for adults. It was a great group, and the first time that someone has actually completed a piece by the end of class! I really love seeing how everyone interprets a subject differently, and sometimes people want to create their own design in the class and that is great too! That will likely be the last Beginner Adult class for a little while, but I will hold another one probably in the Fall. A lot of people have been requesting a weekend or evening class so I will try to make that happen!

In other news, my Tulips class that I will be teaching at the OHCG Annual here in Ottawa in May filled up really quickly! Thanks so much to everyone who was interested in this class. I can’t wait to meet you all!

I spent some time compiling my mailing list for those who have expressed an interest in a Hooking Portraits with Yarn class. Now that I have seen just how many people are waiting to take such a class, I’ve decided I really need to make planning one a priority. I’m officially adding it to my roster of things to get on and hope to have an announcement on this by the end of the year for sure.

Other than all of that, I’m still enjoying doing small experimental pieces each week. Some work, some don’t, but all are learning experiences. And I have started work on my next major project which actually doesn’t involve any hooking at all!


Fall Classes!

I’m excited to announce two classes that I will be holding in Fall, 2017.  Details are below.  For more information or to register, you can email me at marzipanroad@bell.net.  All classes will be held in Ottawa, Ontario.


Beginner Rug-Hooking With Yarn for Adults

This is a class for anyone who has never rug-hooked before, or who has hooked before and would like to try hooking with yarn.   The class will be held on Tuesday, October 17th, 2017 from 9:30am-12:30.  The cost of the class is $50.00 which includes all materials and the use of a hook and hoop for the duration of the class.  The emphasis of this class is to cover the basics of this art form, while letting you explore your own creativity.

There are only 3 spots left for this class so register early as they fill fast!


Nature & Landscapes Advance Rug-Hooking Class (with yarn)

This class is for those who have hooked before and are wanting to take their hooking to the next level.   The class will be held on Wednesday, October 25th, 2017 from 9am-3pm.  This class will begin with a short nature walk in order to collect photos of subject matter for your project while learning to look at nature in different ways.   Back in the studio, topics will include:  composition, colour planning, basic rules of art, choosing yarns, and finishing your piece.  The cost of this class is $100.00 ($75 for the class and $25 for materials).

There are only 4 spots left in this class and previous sessions have filled up quickly, so book early!




Adult Hooking with Yarn Class for Beginners

I will be teaching an Adult Hooking with Yarn class for beginners at my home studio in Ottawa, Ontario on Saturday, December 3rd, 2016 from 6-9 pm.  The cost of the class is $50.00 which includes all materials, as well as the use of a hook and hoop for the duration of the class.

I am not going to be offering as many adult beginner classes in 2017, so if this is something that interests you, this may be your last chance for awhile!  For more information or to register, email me at:  marzipanroad@bell.net.



Fall Classes for Kids!

I’m pleased to announce my new list of classes for kids in Fall 2016!

All classes will be held at my home studio in the east end of Ottawa.¬†¬† The first two classes on the list are great for both kids who have done hooking before, and those who haven’t.

For those who have taken a class with me before, the third class, “Mastering Realism” is a great way to take their hooking to a new level.¬† This two session class will introduce elements of design and colour, as well as realistic shading.

To register or for more information, you can email me at:  marzipanroad@bell.net.

My classes tend to fill fast so let me know if you want to reserve a spot!¬† We are going to have fun this Fall!¬† ūüôā


Upcoming Hooking with Yarn Class!

Just wanted to let you know that I am holding another beginner class in hooking with yarn for adults on Saturday, August 27th from 6-9pm.  It will be held at my home studio in Ottawa, Ontario.  The cost is $50.00 which covers all required materials, including the use of a hook and hoop for the duration of the class.  There are more details on my website under Classes & Workshops.

If you are interested in this class you can email me at marzipanroad@bell.net. Just a heads up that I keep the class size small and they fill quickly!

I am hoping to announce some more classes for kids shortly so stay tuned!¬† ūüôā





Upcoming Classes for Adults!

Following on how well received my hooking classes for kids have been, I am now offering beginner classes for adults!

You can see my Classes & Workshops page on my website for more details about each class.¬† I am offering my ‘Hooking with Yarn:¬† Beginner Classes for Adults” in July.¬† You can choose from either Saturday, July 9th from 6-9 pm or Saturday, July 23rd from 6-9 pm.

The July 9th class is filling fast, so if you are interested in either time slot send me an email at marzipanroad@bell.net.   All classes will be held at my home studio in Ottawa, Ontario.



A little Staycation

A couple of weeks ago I decided to celebrate my Birthday by booking a weekend at a hotel in downtown Ottawa.¬† Yes, I live in Ottawa.¬† In fact I have lived here for about 36 years.¬† And yes I live very close to downtown and can go down anytime I want.¬† But frankly, I don’t get downtown nearly as much as I used to.¬† Back in the day I used to work downtown and was there every day but now I don’t have much reason to be down there.¬† And it is such a nice area of the city to be in!

I have to say it was a really fun idea.  We got the hotel room early on the Friday and the kids and I headed down, settled in and wandered the Byward Market.  My husband joined us after work and then the four of us hung out together the rest of the weekend.  Something I would definitely do again- nice change of scene.  We wandered familiar places, ate at nice restaurants and took lots of photos.  I had mentioned on my Facebook page that I am mulling doing a series of small Ottawa-inspired pieces, and now I have plenty of ideas and photos to work with.

Here are some of my favourites from our weekend “away.”


ottawa 7

ottawa 5

ottawa 6

ottawa 4

ottawa 2


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.







With These Hands

In yesterday’s blog post I talked about one of the themes of my current solo exhibit being finding strength where others may perceive weakness.¬† This, my final new piece for this exhibit, fully encapsulates that theme.

This piece was inspired by the life experience of a very good friend of mine.  She has had rheumatoid arthritis since she was a teenager.   These are her hands.

To those on the outside looking in her hands probably appear gnarled or misshapen and even maybe an impediment to her daily living.¬† To those who are close to her, however, we know better.¬† I have seen my friend doing all sorts of things with these hands.¬† Her children are the same age as mine and¬†these hands spend¬†a good deal of her days lifting her little one, changing diapers, preparing yet another meal, pushing strollers and getting her older child ready for school.¬† I’ve seen her at the gym, working out sometimes three times a week.¬† These hands support her weight and lift weights.¬†¬† These hands have played piano for years and will in the near future take her to her dream of teaching piano to children.¬†¬† There is absolutely nothing that I have not seen these hands do.

"With These Hands" by Karen D. Miller (left hand detail)

“With These Hands” by Karen D. Miller (left hand detail)

It was her strength that I wanted to capture in this piece.  The hands are large in order to capture the detailing and nuances of her hand structure.   But the size also emphasizes that they are strong, not weak.  The metal railing behind the piece adds both interest to the composition as well as further supporting the notion of strength and power where others may perceive frailty.

"With these Hands" by Karen D. Miller (right hand detail)

“With these Hands” by Karen D. Miller (right hand detail)

This is my first piece made completely from sculptural hooking.¬† It was an extremely challenging piece to make because until the very end you weren’t quite sure if it would pull together properly and “work.”¬†¬† And it was very important to capture all of the characteristics of the actual hands or else the statement would be lost.

The piece is comprised of approximately 30 hooked segments that were then sewn together and subsequently fitted over a styrofoam form that I had made of the hands.¬† There was a lot of trial and error involved- the hooked portions had to be removed many times in order to allow for more shaving of the¬†form if any of the sizing or creases in the hands felt wrong.¬†¬† There were times when I wasn’t sure that the piece would be ready in time for the exhibit but I also knew that this piece was both very important to me and to the concept of the show, so I was thrilled when it all came together and was able to be hung.

All of the pieces in my current exhibit have challenged me and allowed me to grow as an artist.  But I think this is the one that gave me the most lessons, the most challenges and the most feeling of pride in the end.   I look forward to taking what I have learned from this piece and applying it to future sculptural pieces- there is something absolutely wonderful about the dimensionality that can be achieved in this way.



Frame / fraym

If you follow me on Facebook then you probably already know all about the opening of my exhibit this past week and have seen most of the photos.  But for those who follow me solely through this blog, I am finally getting around to playing catch-up and posting some photos here!

It has been a really crazy last couple of weeks.  The last two weeks before the exhibit opened were a whirlwind of last minute details and extra touches.  I was extremely excited and grateful to receive the news a couple of weeks ago that I was one of the recipients of an ARTicipate grant through Arts Ottawa East (AOE) that could be used towards my exhibit.  That funding allowed me to do a lot of promotional things that I otherwise would have been unable to do.  As soon as we knew we had that green light we sprang into action ordering postcards and organizing an unaddressed admail campaign through Canada Post.  We also had an exhibit brochure that we designed (and then thankfully remembered to send off to a translator for the French text!) printed up.  Our house filled with boxes and last minute framing materials.  It was a crazy, crazy time but in the end with the wonderful and much needed help of my husband and kids we got it all done!

Last Wednesday was set up day at the gallery.¬† My husband dropped off the bigger and heavier pieces for me first thing in the morning and then the kids and I brought by the rest in the afternoon.¬† I can’t begin to say how nice it is to live just minutes from the gallery!¬† Almost all of the past shows that I have participated in have been at least a 3 to 5 (or more!) hour drive away so this was a really pleasant change.¬† And, I can stop by the gallery whenever I want!

The Trinity Gallery at the Shenkman Arts Centre is beautiful.  Everyone who sees it is blown away by what a nice space it is.  I feel so fortunate to have such a place in my own community.  And the staff there is beyond helpful.  They took such great care of my work and did all the hanging for me- it was so appreciated, especially with two kids in tow with limited patience!


I’m not sure I can describe the feeling that I had when I went back to see the exhibit all hung the next night.¬† I remember standing in the Arts Centre several years ago when I was participating in a group show there and thinking how cool it would be to have my own exhibit in that same space.¬† But I didn’t really, at that point, think it could happen.¬† And now it has.¬† I don’t think I can say enough times that if you work hard enough and persevere, things will happen for you and your dreams will come true.¬† I absolutely believe this.

I’m really happy with how my information table (does it have another, more formal name??) looks.¬†¬† As I have been posting on Facebook all of the promotional things that I had printed up, more and more people were making comments like “you are really making this your own” and “you are owning this.”¬† That was totally what I was trying to do.¬†¬† At the end of the day I wanted to make sure that I had done everything in my power to get my name out there and to make people aware that the show is going on.¬† I really feel like I’ve left no stone unturned.¬† Some of my attempts may turn out to have been less than fruitful (I’m not totally convinced that the mail-out campaign in the end was worth it) but at least in doing those things I am armed with information as to what I would use again for a future exhibit or not, rather than wondering “what if I had tried this or that.”¬† I have really given this my all.


This past Sunday was the Opening Reception.  It was a pretty cool experience.  I have been to many openings before, but always as one of a group of artists.  Being the only artist in a room full of your own art is, well, awesome.  To look around the room and to see that all of your hard work (because trust me, it has been a lot of hard work and long hours to get to this point) has paid off, is so extremely rewarding.

There was a good steady stream of people that came by during the afternoon.  I think it is really hard in the summer to get people out to things.  And it was a really nice sunny day so that made it even harder.

That being said, though, I got the chance to have some really great conversations with other local fibre artists who dropped by to see my show and the adjoining show (which was also a¬†textile exhibit).¬† And I got to showcase my medium of hooked fibre to those who weren’t already aware of it or who had never seen it being used in the way that I use it.¬† And I can’t say enough about how good it made me feel to see people I know¬†come to show their support for me.¬† For people to have taken time out of their day and schedules to stop by just to let me know that they were excited for me was huge and so meaningful.

It was really interesting in talking to people to see that everyone has a different “favourite” piece.¬† My ‘Undeveloped Memories’ piece lacks some of its impact in photos, I find, but in person it was almost universally a crowd favourite.¬† It was also very gratifying to see that the new pieces that I have been working on were really well received and it has helped to bolster my confidence as I continue to explore these new directions.¬†And it always gave me a¬†boost when people recognized that I have really moved in a¬†new direction and am pushing my comfort zone.¬†¬†People still like some of the older pieces too, like “Solitude” and “Ghost Trees.”¬†¬† It was a real mix and meant that there was something to talk about with everyone who came through as there was always at least one piece that they could identify with.


This whole journey has been equal parts tough and exhausting, and exhilarating and rewarding.¬† I wouldn’t change a thing.¬† The lessons I am taking away from this and the confidence I am gaining can only mean that there will be even more great things ahead.

The exhibit runs until September 22nd.