Sunday, January 31, 2016


Boy, I just barely squeaked in a New Year post. Happy 2016! Happy last day of January!

I kicked January off with some highly productive visualization and goal setting sessions. My Google calendar is all set up to reach out and tickle me weekly, monthly, and annually to keep me focused and on schedule.

But it's never all work and no play. I have also been enjoying frosty walks around Lake Victoria here in Stratford, watching the ice form and melt, form and melt...The colours and textures are inspiring and ducks on ice are fun to watch.

Ice forming on Lake Victoria, Stratford, ON.
Snow flecks on ice. Imagine this in yarn!

Black, blue, white. And check out that sky!

Once my January planning-fest was finished, I turned my attention to my first task of 2016, which was planning (yes, more of it!) my workshops for the Waterloo Region Fibre Arts Festival coming up in May (details coming soon).

This will be the first time I've attempted to teach my technique, so I needed to do some experimenting to figure out what we could reasonably expect to accomplish in a couple of hours.

My original thought was to provide a few designs that people could choose from to work on during the workshop. Linear designs can be less time consuming, so my first idea was a simple beach scene.

A Little Beach, Wool and Beeswax on Canvas Board, 5 x 7
I was surprised to discover this piece took way to long for a workshop - more like 8 hours.  So I tried again, this time thinking that a large, simple plant that required fewer colour changes might be the ticket.

Here is attempt number two:

Wild Strawberry - Unfinished, Wool and Beeswax on Canvas Boards, 5 x 7
Notice that I didn't even finish it! Five hours in I realized this also would take too long. I will finish it someday, but I was focused on my task of coming up with a plan for the workshop.

It was time to step back and do a little desperate thinking. What could be reasonable completed in a workshop setting that would allow participants to try out the skills, be interesting to work on, and present a meaningful completed piece? What had I started with? That, as it turned out, was the golden question.

The first piece I ever completed was this one:

Completion, Wool and Beeswax on Canvas Board, 12 x 12
I named it 'Completion' because I was so excited that I actually finished it! Follow through was a struggle for me at that point in my life.

So how about a mini-mandala as a workshop theme? I loved it, mainly because it allows participants to create their own design rather than following one of mine. Everybody's piece can be different.

So I tried a sample to check the timing:

Mini-Mandala #1, Wool and Beeswax on Canvas Board, 5 x 7
Sure enough, I just about finished in a few hours. Close enough that people can finish it off at home.

Why does a mandala take less time than a little beach scene or a small plant? I have no idea.

But it works. It's fun. It lets people express their own ideas and exercise lots of choice, while learning the skills and techniques of applying yarn to beeswax.

And that is what it is all about.

Stay posted for more details about the Waterloo Region Fibre Arts Festival, the solo exhibition of my work and the workshops.

And, if I'm not too late to squeak it in, sincere happy new year wishes to you all!