Category Archives: Art and Craft

Stitch n Kitsch this Weekend!!

This weekend is Stitch n Kitsch! I will have a lot of new yarns, limited edition and never before released! So, come on out and see us at Stitch n Kitsch – my setup is right inside the entrance door. There will be a lineup of amazing local artists from the Kitchener-Waterloo area with lots of goodies for your holiday shopping, or to spoil yourself a little! Hope to see you there!!

snkposter

 

Ebbs and Flows of Felt

It has been a very eventful week, full of memories, perspectives and lessons. For some time I have been emotionally preparing for good things, and bad things. A very dear friend of mine, Sue, had been in the hospital fighting the return of breast cancer after a stroke, and the onset of lung cancer and pneumonia. It has been a couple months of reflecting on life and taking in how much I am learning in my thirties. Mostly I am learning to love, and to listen. I do a lot in my life, and often I feel like the world can be hungry to know everything about me, but I have reached a time where I kind of want to be quiet, do what I do, and not worry about the repercussions of being less available. So much time is spent on things that promote our lives, that we often lose a lot of time to live them. I don’t want to do that anymore. I am still trying to shape what that means for me, as a person, an artist and a small business owner.
Life events seem to happen in waves, and I was fortunate enough to get to spend some time at a felting workshop with Marjolein Dallinga of http://www.bloomfelt.com this week. I have taken a felting working with her before, a couple of years ago, and I found her to be a breath of fresh air, with a lot of great advice, methodology and inspiration. She shares her work, herself, and her space with you and brings a wash of relaxation and makes you want to think differently. As you massage wool into sculptural forms, you reflect and think about a lot of things. I have been doing just that this week …unplugging as such. I was thinking about my friend Sue, her family…my dear friends, and how their lives will change. She passed away on Wednesday surrounded by her family. I thought about our time together, and how I last saw her only a couple weeks ago. She was in pain but lit up so much when I visited. She was able to talk some, and understand me. She was able to express frustration with the speech recovery being so slow, and the pain she felt. I held her hand and felt very connected and tried to show her how much I love her. I have great memories of laughs, and sweet things we have said to one another. I will always treasure what she gave me in life. She was a funny, bright, chipper woman, with a lot of love and pride in those around her. She was a gift.
As I thought of this, I felted….carefully massaging layers of fine merino wool, tossing it around, rolling it in my hands, forming it. I listened to the different questions other felters asked Marjolein, and how she answered with rules, grace and patience. She has a way of guiding people to do the right thing for themselves, if they are open to it. She teaches you not to be obsessed with the product, but instead to celebrate the process. I love the process, but running a business can often lead you to worry too much about the product. Marjolein assigned us to use colours we didn’t like, that we would not normally choose. She pleaded that we not take pictures during the workshop, which I love, because it keeps the space and time very sacred to those in the room. She asked everyone to be quiet, focus on the work, and she battled the distractions around us. It was the time I needed to get through these things I have been feeling – worrying about a difficult client at my work, worrying about Sue and her family, worrying about my family, and my show schedule. One of the women attending the workshop had been talking about her blog, and asked Marjolein if she was on Facebook. Marjolein responded that she wasn’t and that she was ‘old fashioned’ and didn’t really spend much time on the internet. She told us about another artist she worked with who said that she spent 20% of her time on her art, and 80% of her time online, promoting her art – Facebook, Twitter, website updates, shop maintenance, newsletters, photography, image editing, uploading, networking……as it was discussed, it make me feel kind of nauseous…thinking about how much time I spend doing this stuff, and how it is far from enough for me to be in the top yarn spinners or ‘random artist description’ group. I have been at this for almost 12 years now, and I do well at it….but it is changing, as I am.
I know I may be quoting Marjolein way too much in this post, but she said a lot of things I needed to listen to, things I have been thinking about, seemingly at the time I really need to hear them. As she showed us a slideshow of her work, she talked about getting accepted into a prestigious show one year, but then the next year, not getting in. She then gave a really good analogy of how art careers, or pursuits sort of move in a figure 8, or an S-curve. When you go up, you have to go down a bit, only to go up ahead, or perhaps down, but then back up. This is about popularity, notoriety, success but can have so many factors – trends, judges, luck, etc. It’s something to think about. You are allowed to take a break, then come back strong, then take a break – have a child, change careers, go to school, work on your health, breathe.
I may not be a frequent blogger, but know that I love my work, and that I will always continue it – there may be times I am really active, but then other times where I really need to travel, smell the ocean, get lost in the woods or knit something for myself. There are days all I want to do is roll around on the floor with my dogs and have a crush on my husband.
If you ever have the opportunity, I definitely recommend a workshop with Marjolein – she’s a wee bit of amazing wrapped in soul food – http://www.bloomfelt.com/
I will end with something I have been reading more since this workshop – the knowledge of Mongolian felt making, a blessing – http://feltnomadic.com/a-traditional-mongol-felt-blessing/

 

Studioloo’s New Navigation and Plushies!

I try to life live in a ‘good thing a day’ kind of way meaning I like to try to make little improvements to things as much as I can, when I can. So, I spend some time making the navigation of Studioloo more visual, with less text. It’s always the designer’s toss up to decide if you want to gamble on using images instead of text because I think when you take any kind of technical education or have technical job experience, you always think of these users who really want to buy your stuff but their computer might be from 1982 so the graphics load really slowly and they only have 800×600 screen resolution. I am slowly stepping out of these dark age concerns though because I really like the look and feel of images better.

So, the shop now looks like this, and I like it better – http://www.studioloo.com/shop.htm

 

As I noted in my last post, it’s going to be a busy weekend with Saturday in Brampton at Art in the Open and Sunday in Peterborough at Lang Pioneer Village’s Festival of Textiles. So, if you are in the area of either , come on out and visit me.

Yesterday I also received exciting news that I was accepted in Visual Arts Mississauga’s Art in the Park show on September 22nd.  This is a beautiful space with indoor and outdoor galleries. Last year’s show was a lot of fun with food trucks, great artists and live music. I will be out on the lawn.

vamshow

 

I have placed a few new handstitched plush toys in the shop. Grab them now or they are destined for Art in the Open tomorrow.

All available plush can be found here: http://www.studioloo.com/toysandplush.htm

Have a lovely weekend!

Summer buzz!

I know this blog has been really quiet, and I sort of have too. I guess that is what happens when life it this crazy whirlwind of summertime activity and building my house into the happy little nest that I need to make my brain work. I have been on many adventures so far..making the nooks of this new house more comfy for me, my husband and our fur-family. I have a lot of fun things coming up however. I updated the ‘upcoming shows’ section of the website so you can keep up with me. A great place to find me or my stuff is the Art in the Open event every Saturday in front of the Rose Theatre in Brampton. It works in conjunction with the Farmer’s Market so you can see me, get yarn, and stock up on awesome produce in one fun morning!

 

The studio is coming along nicely with most parts pretty much ready for production work now. The last thing to get done really is the installation of a big restaurant kitchen sink that I indulged in to allow myself an easier place for all of the dyework. This week I am hoping to get it all setup so I can start dyeing up some new yarns. I am going to have a new line of bootsie-loo sock yarn and lots of mini-loo mini skeins fresh off the presses in a couple of weeks.

This upcoming weekend I will be at Art in the Open on Saturday and then heading down to Peterborough for Lang Pioneer Village’s Festival of Textiles. I will be selling my wares and doing art yarn spinning demonstrations. There will be a lot of other fun things going on – natural dyeing demos, live music, animals, historic buildings and other fun museum stuff. It’s a great way to spend a Sunday.

 

This summer has been nice but really busy. I am looking forward to taking a bit of vacation soon because things have been really non-stop, but in a good kind of way. I have been working a lot and trying to find a new balance living in a different city with a different routine. I have not been online a whole lot as I have so much real life stuff to get done. I think I am somewhat addicted to working on projects around the house. There is just so much to be done, in phases. The next big project will be putting my library together – a room I have dreamed of having for ages. It’s safe to say that I have a lot of books and it will be nice to have them in their own little home where they belong. That way I won’t feel so guilty for having so many books. I think it will be a nice room to relax in, leave your troubles at the door and get lost between the covers of a good book.

It’s also almost Wordwide Spin in Public day – September 21st! So, I am in the process of doing a lot of planning and populating http://www.wwsipday.com with lots of activities!

April 27th – DKC Knitter’s Frolic and Stitch n Kitsch

Happy Spring!

This Saturday Studioloo will be at 2 shows!

DKC Knitter’s Frolic 

Marketplace: Saturday 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
The Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre
6 Garamond Court, Toronto, Ontario

http://downtownknitcollective.ca/wp/?page_id=14

 

Stitch n Kitsch in Waterloo

http://www.stitchnkitsch.com/

Inspired Weekend

It has been a really great weekend of getting work done! I have put a new face on the Studioloo website which I am quite happy with and will be putting up a lot of listings. I have finished so much work that is not currently posted on the site. I took a bit of a hiatus from the duties of running an online shop. It’s a lot of work – the photography, photo editing, writing descriptions of products, uploading photos, updating inventories, carts, e-commerce, FTP’ing information, website updates, and so on! It can be somewhat exhausting at times. But, I do love to get my work out to a broader audience than those in Ontario. I really enjoy selling my work in person as well – it’s nice to hear people tell you their plans for your yarns or how something you made will accent their homes.

I have done a lot of spinning this weekend. I think I caught the spinning bug remembering Janice Rosema, an incredible fibre artist who passed away last week.  She was a great inspiration to me and overall just a really sweet person. We are having a little spin-along in the Ravelry art yarn community HERE.  Feel free to join in or post your photos of your inspired works for Janro on Instagram or Twitter with hashtag #spinforjanro.  I also did a bunch of crock-pot dyeing of rovings and yarns and managed to finish a bunch of administrative work for shows I am applying to and so on. My to-do list is getting a lot shorter.

There has been a lot of snow here lately so I have been fighting off my cabin fever just working away on things, doing a lot of home cooking and watching documentaries. They have included ‘Sweetgrass’ – a doc about sheep herders going through the Rockies with their flock, a documentary about all of the craziness and politics of the Barnes’ art collection and it’s foundation, a documentary about the making of South Park and how each episode is done in only 6 days, and a bunch more.  I am a documentary addict at this point.

I have also been working away on my Beekeeper’s Quilt and have passed the 300 mark. 300 Hexipuffs! Holy cow – one day this will be a quilt. I also designed a few charts – one of Catbus (for Studio Ghibli fans) and a few for Adventure Time. They are below:

 

 

 

Have a happy Family Day or President’s Day long weekend!

 

Apparently…I am crazy when stagnant!

My poor little pup, Toasty, developed some kind of illness in the middle of last week and through the weekend so I stayed home with him…all….weekend. I have really come to the point in my life where I can’t ever stay inside the house for an entire day. I don’t know why…but it makes me insane…and makes me think about how I could be doing a million different things but I just sit there…and watch TV.  It’s bizarre but I think a testament to the human body and mind needing nature, activity and stimulation.

So, I looked at my to do list from last post…let’s see how I did:

1. Update Art Yarn page in the shop with all new art yarns.
2. Finish reading driving manual and look into booking test.
3. Review required updates to pottery guild website
4. Think about trip to US and PR stuff with husband, start a plan.
5. Determine packaging for wooden buttons and start packaging.
6. Dye sock yarn.
7. Photograph and update Ravelry with rebranding on new yarns.
8. Work on cowl pattern.
9. Walk every day.
10. Work on documentation database for work.

Ok, not too bad…I finished 4 of 10 things but also managed to finish a few things not on the list…like teaching the husband to weave the rope rug I have been working on so he can help me and as a result I finished 2 more circles and he finished a couple. Here are mine:

 

And, I made really good food, including lovely beef short ribs. Here’s a photo mosaic of the process:

On Sunday I finally broke down and had to take a walk. Toasty was starting to feel a lot better but still just wanted constant sleep so we packed him up in his own little, cuddly crate and walked the beach. It was a nice, inspiring walk and was very nice in that I felt like part of a busy, artsy city. It was quiet and had freshly snowed.

The swans that I visited throughout the summer were there. I photographed these babies in various stages of their growing up process. Now they just look like baby swans but in an adult size.

There were guys filming a music video, singing and playing guitar. They had a cool, little rolling track that the camera could move farther and closer on.

There was even a lady letting her wee bunny take a run around on the beach. He was wearing a cute, little purple sweater and I even got to give him a little cuddle but I only managed to photograph his butt.

Then I collected a lot of amazing drift wood, some charred and a bit piece that looks like a bird head from Beetlejuice or something. I love it!

 

And there was much knitting hexipuffs for my ever-loving Beekeeper’s quilt.

And, in the shop there is a big new art yarn update! Check out the shop here: http://www.studioloo.com/handspunartyarn.htm

Take a peek at these handspinnies!

Also, I am in the middle of re-branding, dyeing, and photographing a ton of new sock yarn and other yarns. But, my best friend, Mat of Manspun fame has also written a lovely sock pattern for use with my yarn.  It’s called Man-Tastic Socks! and works for men or women. It’s a fun knit and great with variegates, solids or semi-solids!

Pick up your copy here! http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/man-tastic-socks

 

Weaving with the Walrus

It was a fine New Year’s day spent at the Toronto Zoo with the husband. I took a ton of pictures with my new Nikkor telephoto lens that I am really happy with but I don’t have them edited yet. I will share some once I do. I spent the last couple of days prior to the new year just organizing things, planning projects and relaxing. I managed to pull a back muscle over the holidays which has slowly been getting better.

I picked up the weaving that I was working on some time ago and have started up on it again in an attempt to use up this giant basket of rope that I have collected over the months for this project. I was thinking it would be a rug but I think it will be too nice and end up being a wall hanging.

Here’s a shot of one of two circles I finished over the last couple of days.

I have more shots of this project on Ravelry here: http://www.ravelry.com/projects/studioloo/coiled-rope-rug

I am thinking that beginning tonight I am going to start tackling a big to do list so I can feel more accomplished. For my own benefit I will list 10 things I need to accomplish over the next week or so.

1. Update Art Yarn page in the shop with all new art yarns.
2. Finish reading driving manual and look into booking test.
3. Review required updates to pottery guild website
4. Think about trip to US and PR stuff with husband, start a plan.
5. Determine packaging for wooden buttons and start packaging.
6. Dye sock yarn.
7. Photograph and update Ravelry with rebranding on new yarns.
8. Work on cowl pattern.
9. Walk every day.
10. Work on documentation database for work.

Work is sort of too quiet this week. Most of the clients have taken the rest of this week off, as well as a lot of the staff here. I am trying to keep motivated to work on a few things and use this down-time as best I can but it can be challenging after just coming back from holidays. I think I will feel more focused tomorrow as I have a meeting, and get to dig into some new things.

Tonight I will be working on some fun, secret things for a swap I am taking part in on Ravelry. The theme is ‘Mash-ups’ where you design a package for someone, secretly, and you mash up their 5 favourite fandoms. My partner’s fandoms are run and have a lot of child-like imagination so I have a lot of ideas. I see much photo-collaging, felting and assemblage happening tonight to put together a couple of the bigger projects.

Pretty Things

Some days it is hard to feel positive when you have to see things you really despise in politics, social issues, the environment and so on. I have decided recently to try to do my best to clear my life out of these things by getting rid of media, people, and other exposures to things that don’t make me happy. On my own I am able to seek out the issues that make me passionate; I can fight good fights without having to constantly be bombarded by people who feel opposite of how I do.  I think that social media makes people really angry, pseudo-anonymous, and really geared up to fight, shout their opinions regardless of how they could make others feel and so on.  I have taken a step back recently on how that makes me feel – and how I want to basically portray myself more as a full human being, instead of just someone who has a certain view on a specific social topic. There is more to me than just the fact I support a certain decision. That being said however, I am really torn because there are certain people who I love for what they do, but not who they are – and that can really be a hard thing to deal with. I guess that is a good reason to not ‘friend’ someone on social media – instead ‘like’ their pages where they discuss their art, their business, etc. This being said – I am removing a few people from my social media websites so that I don’t have to be blindsided constantly by political things that I have no power to change – things often that take place in a country I don’t even live in. I know that we don’t have the power to agree, but I want to have the power still to respect the amazing art that is pumped out of these people.

It has been an insanely busy week – I have gotten so much done so that I can go away and spend some rare time with my family on a camping trip. I have dyed and packaged 3 new fun yarn kits/lines for KW knitter’s fair. I have done a full load of pottery – new yarn bowls, vases, bowls, cups, and more – some to join me at the Art in the Open market and some for KW knitter’s fair.  I have gotten a lot of work done at my day job. I have dyed a ton of yarn….and spun a lot too! I am bringing my spinning wheel on this camping trip and I hope to get some great, relaxing spinning time along with some kayaking, hiking, photography and just relaxing.

Here’s a peek at some faux cashmere I dyed – one braid of several different colourways. This is such a nice fibre to dye.

 

And a peek at a yarn I spun this week with some nice wool flowers. I actually got to spin this at my knit night at Whole Foods – it’s such a great place to do creative things. I find you get a lot of positive attention.

 

I bought this beautiful burl from the exotic wood store some time ago and my husband/business partner/slave finished staining and sealing it for me this week. He is truly the blessing of my life and helps me with so many creative endeavours that I cannot even think of ways to possibly thank him enough for all of his patience and support. I am very lucky.

 

There are still about a million things to do tonight before I head to bed early to prepare to wake up at 5am for the market so I should get packing clothes and toiletries, and washing yarn, and so on! I leave this post with a picture of a sleepy, unimpressed Poppy in his new gnome costume.

Pickled Plans

It was a great weekend – Art in the Open was awesome and there was the most beautiful weather ever – so perfect for Farmer’s market – really cool and bright days.  I managed to get a lot of work done this week and it feels somewhat good. The trick is not looking too far ahead at all the stuff on my ‘to do’ list. All things will come with time.

I bought a big bunch of cukes to make the annual dill pickles and got them canned yesterday. Today I am making Lord Grey’s Peach Preserves out of the amazing peaches I bought.  I have really been feeling the cooking bug lately – more than ever now that I am adding ‘A Salad a Day’ to my diet. One of the highlights of the fresh eating was this zucchini noodle salad that I made.

It was a nice side to the steaks marinated in merlot that Mike grilled. Last year I went to a raw food class and purchased a machine to make these noodles. I love it! It is a great substitute for having pasta and very fresh, palette cleansing and cool for summer. I added little sprigs of cauliflower and then made a dressing from pesto, oil, balsamic vinegar, chopped cherry tomatoes, diced black olives, kefir lime leaves and finely chopped red onions. It was yummy!

I am also really in love with all the fresh flowers at the Farmer’s market. I don’t ever see myself as a flower grower. I think when I have the land to farm I am going to concentrate on fruit and vegetables because they serve more of a purpose. But that just means I can support other farmers by buying their amazing flowers! Look at these!

 

While I am writing I should likely mention that Worldwide Spin in Public Day is fast approaching! Check out events near you here – http://www.wwsipday.com/. If there aren’t any – book your own by emailing me through the website! My event will be on Sunday, Sept. 16th in Mississauga at Hiawatha Park – I can’t wait. I love sitting under the big willow tree and playing with all the fibres and hanging out with friends.

 

And I leave you with Toasty the amazing hand-balancing acrobat!