Friday, August 30, 2019

lines and lineage

I found this charming little book tucked away in the bookcase with my grandmother's name inside. I love the way she wrote her letters, and here are two tartans from our family names.
The book was first printed in 1896, and this edition from 1958 shows almost a hundred colored tartans, each with a page about the clan's history.  There is a lot of information about the Gaelic language, how to wear the Highland dress, ceremonial rules and lists of surnames and clan septs.  The formality of the old traditions and uniforms are awfully rigid, but the tartans are fun to flip through.

Thursday, August 29, 2019


Zachary Dionne has a talent for literally turning hardwoods like sapele, plum and jatoba into beautiful vessels at his Big Tancook Island shop, Stranded. He also etches glass and combines materials to make unique art and gifts. See more below and stop in to meet this gifted young artist.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

hookers have more fun

Lucy Neatby and Hetty Van Gurp applied for a grant from Nova Scotia's Department of Communities, Culture and Heritage to share their love of rug hooking with Big Tancook islanders.  We were supplied with hooks, hoops, linen burlap and wool and shown how to do every step of the dyeing, cutting and hooking processes.    
Beginning with natural wool fabric, small pieces are scrunched up for a mottled effect or laid flat for more even color.  Protein dyes are dissolved and poured over the wet fabric, it is poked and prodded as it is heated, and when the color has been absorbed and is judged to be good, it is set with vinegar. The Magic Carpet colors are excellent in their variety and quality and look wonderful whether pale or saturated.
Fabric can be cut into strips with scissors, but using a machine like this one made by Bolivar Cutter makes even-width strips in a fraction of the time. There are three size choices, but I prefer the smallest to keep finer lines and details.
There are hooks made for rug hooking with straight and bent shafts and different handles, but crochet hooks and ground nails can also be used. Once the right size and shape is found, the hook plunges up and down through the burlap and catches the tail of fabric held underneath with ease and speed. You can pull different loop heights for variation and progress in straight lines or wander in beautiful serpentine squiggles for interesting textures. 
Seeing the work of skilled hookers like Lucy, Hetty, Verta Rodenhiser and guest artists Sherry Chandler and Terry LaBlanc-Bridge has been inspiring. The love of rug hooking has definitely gotten into my blood and will stay a part of my creative life. Setting aside time to get together with crafty and curious people to share this experience is something I look forward to.

Monday, August 26, 2019

breathe easy

The best part of my excellent day was pulling this blade of grass out of my cat's nose when I heard her unusual sneezing fit.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

peekin at poppies

It's amazing the subtle beauty you can find if you look closely, like the different  numbers of stigmatic rays on a poppy. The more notches that radiate, the more seeds a poppy will yield, even if the capsule is smaller because these are the parts that take the male pollen grains.