Thursday, April 29, 2010

I was asked a question

Yesterday I was asked a question about what makes a good teacher and it was a direct question, someone wanted to be doing a great job. I wanted to share here with you what I said:

No real teacher needs a gimmick. You need an idea, a solid thing you want to promote, one thing and one thing only you want them to learn and let all that you do during the day support that. You want to communicate that idea effectively, it's like writing a thesis, you do the same stuff. The magic you bring to class is not in a hat, or a card trick or in a picture show ( though I have to say people love these better than life!!, they like to sit in the dark and be spoon fed visuals, I'm not sure why, restful perhaps?) The magic resides right in you. Any audience can be turned on by you being passionate about what you do, excited to teach them and being loving. That all said people never remember what you teach them but they always remember how you treat them. People do need to have fun. Fun is sometimes in short supply at least in the classroom in my experience. Maybe you could tell a few good jokes about your subject.
Don't take yourself too seriously in class, people loved to be asked their opinion about things and told when they are doing a good job. Relate your struggles to your students. Ask what they might have done differently. Ask them if they have ever hooked an animal or helped someone to. What tips can they offer the class? Ask people by name. Ask everyone. People find this kinda stuff very helpful. No matter your experience older hookers need fresh meat and they know it, even if they are grumbling all the way.

A teacher is one who makes himself progressively unnecessary. ~Thomas Carruthers

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Back to The Picture Show

Here is my vogue rug as it lays today, you know its kinda big!
But I'm hooking away on it each day and it is getting done.
I learned something last week , I'm a big babby that whines for visuals and didn't like my blog nor have a desire to blog when I wasn't getting my cones and rods tickled by photography.

"Life can only be understood backward, but it must be lived forward." ~Soren Kierkegaard

Monday, April 19, 2010

Accidentally on Purpose

I used to baby sit a boy who would tell me , oh no Wanda, I accidentally did that on purpose.
It was hard to keep a straight face.
When I saw a fibre arts book with the same title I was curious.

The subject of the book is quilts, specifically African American quilts.
Eli Leon purposes that these quilts, you might be familiar with the quilts of Gee's Bend, and their random geometry harkens back to African textiles.
He speculates with some pretty sound evidence the creators were answering the call of their textile heredity.
It might look to us as though they ran out and than ran on with their projects but there was some other pull to do it their way.

We are quick to make judgements and suppositions. We have sophisticated eyes, we are looking at purposefully designed things every day. As per my prior post we might be looking but are we really seeing?
In this case are we really as well informed as we think we are?

There is a wonderful, wonderful feeling associated with following your own gravitational pull.
Letting it happen can be difficult.
To create accidentally on purpose is a gift each of us have, let's take a peek under the wrapping paper today.


Saturday, April 17, 2010

Knock Three Times ... makes me pay ATTENTION

Our eyes deceive us.
Three times this week my reading and thoughts and interactions with people drew to this subject.

Someone looking for a log cabin center using bars of primitive red and blue and yellow to construct the cabin thought black might be the answer. Not possible, because the blue, so dark, does not allow the black to show against it. it is also too heavy a colour for the yellow.
The choices are light neutral, bright orange, bright brown, yellow green. No green please, don't like neutral, hate brown ( poor maligned brown) that left orange.

Now the key here is to understand an orange that looks good with blue and holds it own with yellow will not show up against red. Someone wanted only to use one piece of wool for the service of these hearth squares. This would not work because the half of the center square where it butts up against red must be even brighter.

To create a square that appears to be one colour it must contain two oranges, one more temperate for the blue and gold side, one from the hot equator on the red side.
This is the only way to have cohesion and unity of weight and not have the square disappear and reappear al over the rug.
This was a tough sell.

Two months ago I got a book The Artist's Eyes.
I just started reading it this week.
It is very scientific and contains very small print but it is all about this very subject, how our eyes deceive us, what needs to be done with colour to make things appear as it should, as we desire it to. There is so much to absorb and I'm exceedingly keen on this subject but I can only take this info in with small doses. For instance red lines laying on a half white, half black back ground, you would think the red would shine up on the white like nobody's business, instead it appears dull and even pink. I love all this scientific proof of things I've been trying to tell people for ages. In rug talk: a light coloured background steals vibrancy and power from colours, it diminishes them. A dark one empowers them.
It gonna take me a year to read this but I'm relishing it.

Just this morning I chanced to see this great talk by Beau Lotto.
Once again it reiterated what has been buzzing in the studio.
He has a website with activities if you want to study further on this topic of colour.

I cannot say often enough no colour can be judged on its own. You can make an assessment, yes you see red, it is dull, it is dark. BUT it will change it's behaviour radically depending on who it hangs out with. Sometimes unbelievably so.

I guess I'll chew on this some more.
I'm going to try to not have any visual input here until next Tuesday, tell me how you like/despise it.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Looking or Listening

There will be NO visual content in this blog today because I'm worried about us turning into crack babies who are always wahhhhing for our next visual fix.

I've derived most of my inspiration since becoming a hooker through visual stimulation.
Lately though, no matter what I have to look at it and just so you know it is VAST because I collect things to look at and in my day to day life I notice EVERYTHING and I want you all to know how exhausting that is... as well as how exhausting these run on forever sentences are....LOL! and now back to the point..... what I'm seeing is not thrilling me like it once did.

If you've been reading this blog for any length of time you'll know about the jaded old hooker syndrome. I'm ever on the watch for that. I want to look at things and experience like a beginner, but a wise old crone of a beginner.

So how to be all juicy and sweet with possibilities then ?
I've turned to listening to people speaking about what vivifies them. Not all the speakers are gifted and I do enjoy those more whose talents also include public speaking.
But it is wonderful to hear people being passionate and excited and connecting dots on their topic of life study whatever that is.
For your own self driven, look for the areas that interest YOU, passionate speakers go to TED
for Ideas Worth Spreading.

And in that vein of championing audio stimulation I'll be starting and I hope NEVER finishing a group of interviews with hookers about their work and passions. These will be on The Welcome Mat under music as that's the only way to plant them in there.
Try talking to somebody today to find out what makes them all alive and ardent about why they are here.

You are what your deep driving desire is; As your deep driving desire is, so is your will; As your will is so is your deed; As your deed is so is your destiny.
The Upanishads

That is happiness: to be dissolved into something complete and great.
Willa Cather

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Let's take a look at this

This message is brought to you in greatest of lazy fashion, I'm still in bed.
It's cool in the house and I'm a teeny bit tired.
But not too tired to take a look at this:

The whole general thrust of this work by Emily Carr, titled: Tree Trunk 1931, is upward.
Somehow though we are not tired of this powerful singular focus. How did she do that?
There is a slight curve to the main line of the tree and it tapers. This creates relief. Then there is the skilful use of colour to bring some areas into high focus through light values and diminish other via darks on the trunk.
Look at the curved lines in the base, they sweep along the horizontal plane creating a wonderful thick drape, as well as depth.
You will also see my favourite... glow, you will see it in all parts of the painting, in foreground, mid ground and back ground. It is good enough to eat.
Look how high yellow is used to shed sunlight., how its compliment violet is used on the opposite side of the trunk, the wonderful call and response of opposites we see in nature. The warm and cool play with each other to unify the whole. Could she have picked a more desirable green to use? The brights behind, the dulls ahead... the amazing rich neutrals.
I love how the trunk has a beginning like us, all but has no end to how high it can reach.

We can learn a ton from this trunk!

“You always feel when you look it straight in the eye that you could have put more into it, could have let yourself go and dug harder.”

Emily Carr quote

Monday, April 12, 2010

Creativity and Our Abilities- An order

Creativity in place with this rug using an unusual grid background!

Please watch this great talk, by Ken Robinson.
Examine your experience, are you bound by the expectations of what or how things are done? Are you balancing your own creativity on the fulcrum of what you needed to fit into? Tip the scale!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Thinking seriously

Today I was thinking about my friend Jane, here are some of her amazing rugs, she understands the concept of traveling with colour very well.

And I'm thinking, thinking about why every time we go out for a walk I end up on the edge of a terrifying cliff.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Dyer At The Stove/Shibori

Here I am last night rectifying so blue I needed today.
It's never too late to dye!
Spot dyeing a safety pin shibori brick is a great way to vivify boring wool. I do different colours on each side and make several letters S instead of spots to create this look over already dyed wool.
These can act just like a plaid when hooked.

When Thomas Edison worked late into the night on the electric light, he had to do it by gas lamp or candle. I'm sure it made the work seem that much more urgent.

George Carlin

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Winsome- A New Wandering

This recipe is so desired I have made yards of it since I invented a week or so ago.

1/64 Yellow
1/128th Blue
1/128th Chocolate Brown
1/128th Brilliant Green
1 tooth pick wet dipped in Caramel

Monday, April 5, 2010

Running out, it happens/ Dyeing Yarn

Hooking along on my Vogue rug I had begun to use a hank of wool I had dyed back in the ice age when I was teaching myself to dye yarn. This teaching consists of making a kajillion mistakes and continuing to soldier on.

This hank of wool had a colour scheme that appeared and disappeared into its background as I hooked it into poker chips, and as I'm hooking more and more on this rug I see that as a theme that is emerging. This rabbity quality, colour disappearing into a hole/whole... I like it.

I needed more yarn and I like to use thicker yarns to hook with and if I whip I like to use finer ones.
I remembered I had dismembered a partially constructed afghan to procure the first hank. And talk about keeping things until they are useful; I had made the afghan squares from a sweater I had knit and didn't like about 33 years ago. I still had some squares for two reasons, I couldn't believe at one time I could crochet and I just like to look at their chunky business from time to time.

Yesterday I got down to a scant foot of yarn left so I dug out two squares and undid them. I tied them up in two places to insure they were easy to wind up after dyeing (you cannot believe the mischief wool will get into if you don't handcuff it, what a rogue) and followed the method below with proc chem turquoise, majic carpet red violet and majic carpet yellow.

Dyeing Yarn

I like to use the electric frying pan for this.

Make sure your wool is arranged in skein and is loosely tied in four points. Wet it.

Make three to six colours of dye in jars, use 1/2 cup of water, more if you skein is big, or thick wool.

Lay your wool in the frying pan, try to get it as much of it in contact with the bottom of the pan as you can. DO NOT ADD WATER.

Turn on your pan.

Pour the first colour over the wool in a cross. Wait for this colour to mostly take up

Pour the next colour in a cross beside the first cross.

Work in this pattern adding all colours one at a time. DO NOT STIR. You can flip over if you wish to inspect for undyed parts and redo them using the colour in that area

Heat until all colour is gone from the dye bath.


Sunday, April 4, 2010

Saturday, April 3, 2010

What's Up?

Here is my Vogue rug and the mess I create while hooking.

We haven't had spring and summer's arrived. It was 26˚C yesterday and so far today 25. That's 77˚F ....
With no leaves on the trees and a sirroco blowing in from some distant desert, it is too hot to be outside for long, at least for me.
So I'm hooking and catching up and you are part of that!
It is wonderful to be hooking again, it does so much for me all the way around, though I have to say it is easy to put a few pounds on if you are steady at the frame. I think if I placed my cutters way, way over there from my nest I could easily burn 20 calories or so an hour! LOL

We've had a lot of firsts of the year this week, bbq, potato salad, hanging out the clothes to dry.
It has been fun but one thing spring creates is incessant crying at the door by cats to go out for a minute, this is an activity that requires supervision. It does help me slow my day down when I heed the cries and let the naughty girls out for a time and it makes them happy, have a happy moment yourself today if you can find a minute.

ALlaN K Chalmers:
The Grand essentials of happiness are: something to do, something to love, and something to hope for.