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Abundance and Foresight

Abundance and Foresight

Bringing in the onion harvest.

The weather here in my little Mid-Coast Maine neck of the woods has been ping ponging from one extreme to another.  Friday was a beautiful balmy 70 and we celebrated our final sunset on the water for the season.  Saturday we had our first frost.  Sunday was largely devoted to bringing anything left to harvest in from the garden.  Save the cold loving ones, of course.  Torrential rains this week sped up some of our garden chore timelines even further.  What I love about the life we have created here is that there is no work week clock.  Everything is fluid.  My schedule revolves around the weather, the tides, light and dark, and client needs, of course.  Emails are answered in the wee hours of the morning before light breaks these days.  Foraging overlaps with walking the dogs (to their chagrin sometimes), “making” happens while something is baking, stewing, canning, fermenting–which is almost all the time— and gardening ebbs and flows around (and sometimes floods) the rest.  If there is such a thing as balance, I think we have found it.  And we know how fortunate we are in that.

Since we moved to Maine I’ve been learning so much about the land we’re on and what it has to give and what we can give to it in return.  I frequently feel overwhelmed by the abundance around us—from the garden, from the wooded trails, along the shore.  And next week our state is voting on adding  a person’s Right to Food to our state constitution.  I believe we are the first state in the country to do this.  I am both proud of this and sorry that such action is needed.  But I appreciate the foresight.  And the thoughtfulness, the bipartisanship, and the time and the effort put into bringing this to the vote of our community.

Scraps and Anger

Scraps and Anger

Like many of you, mask making has become a significant part of my daily tasks.  When I finished yesterday’s allotment, I realized a low grade fury had been building as I worked over my sewing machine.  I grabbed discolored and worn antique flannel and a scrap of quilting cotton from the late 1800s and made my Vote mask.  Born of scraps and anger.

Vote written across a face mask.

1930s Singer Sewing Machine
I do almost all my sewing on an antique sewing machine. Now I can’t decide if it’s fitting or tragic that in 2020 I’m sewing masks on a 1930s Singer.

Stay safe.  Be well.

The Fruits of Summer

The Fruits of Summer

Nothing may signal the height of summer more than a robust tomato harvest.  Rich ruby reds, sunset golds, and greens that yellow around their shoulders while their bottoms blush pink as they ripen— so many varieties are in the garden this year, I couldn’t tell you them all.  I’m a big fan of the variety pack, and love the surprise begotten by both a lack of knowledge and no memory of what I ordered way back in February.  Each of the fifty tomato plants, plus the volunteers we let grow, is a surprise package.  I never know what we’ll get.  One thing for sure, though, is that we have bounty!  My day falls into a a comfortable rhythm:  tomatoes are quartered and slow roasted for hours while I hook or scribble out ideas for new designs.  Packaged, frozen, and start again.  We gather ponderous bulb trays full of these juicy beauties from the garden, and they even travel with us when we escape to camp for a few days of respite from everything but our tomato chores.  In the roasting, the tomatoes’ flavors mingle, intensify, nearly caramelize.  While we can enjoy the fresh flavorful fruits of summer right off the vine now, come fall then winter, these roasting days of tomato summer will sustain us.

 

Nautili

Nautili

A few years ago I did an image search for “primitive hit or miss rug hooking motifs”.  A simple spiral that came up intrigued me and I immediately started experimenting with it. It was only some time later that I learned, to my embarrassment, that this was not a traditional motif but one born from the inspiration of Primitive Spirit Rugs.    It’s a beautiful little shape that I became addicted to hooking for a time.  I just kept playing with the motif in my head over and over when I found my self staring at the nautili we’ve had propped on a shelf for a very long time.  I started seeing things in multiples.  Everything just grew from there.

Hooking the nautilus quickly became addictive. One nautilus, two nautili, three nautili—you get the picture.
We were hiking along the oyster middens when I knew I’d hit on the perfect color inspiration.
The completed piece. Measures just a bit more than 17″ square, and is hooked with a combination of wool and recycled cashmere.

 

Discovering Rufus Porter

Discovering Rufus Porter

My recent design rabbit hole started with a desire to create a historic looking mural for our home. Somewhere in my search for folk art painting techniques I stumbled upon one Mr. Rufus Porter and the rug hooker in me took over. His motifs struck a chord. While I’ve yet to paint anything, I’ve been enjoying designing rugs inspired by his work. This little footstool is the first of many to come.

I’ve been dabbling with woodworking lately. This primitive little stool paired beautifully with my Rufus Porter inspired rug.
It took some trial and error to get the background colors just right for both mood and visibility, but I love how it came out.
The knot in the wood became the perfect little accent to the “legs” of the stool.

Dye Trying

I swore I’d never dye.  I have so many stashes and work stations and the rest, I just didn’t feel like taking on one more endeavor.  But a dearth of sunny yellows and primitive reds for some of my post popular designs, in addition to a pile of unsuitably colored specimens culled from my cashmere box lots, pushed me over the edge.  The days are barely warm enough to venture outside for more than a bit at a time, so I hunker in the workshop and hobble together tools and supplies.  I barely follow the directions, but am feeling successful with my first efforts nonetheless.

My first attempt at capturing my desired yellow tones for the sunflower pillows was a success!
I kept adding various wools to the dye pot over the course of an hour and ended up with a range of red tones that I am quite happy with.
Coastal Style Rug Hooking

Coastal Style Rug Hooking

Coastal style is my rug hooking inspiration. I’m busy hooking seaside textiles for your home and cottage. Coastal style pillows, rugs, and more.

I don’t live far from the coast and its majestic views and working waterfronts.  What I take in on my daily jaunts to the seaside percolates in my mind’s eye until the perfect new rug hooking design comes into focus.  From there, it’s just a matter of time before the right material, the right color, and the pattern itself come together into my textile version of the coastal scene.

Hand Hooked Blue Crab Pillow
You may notice the error of my ways here–I promise that from here on out all carbs will be anatomically correct and have the proper number of legs!
Maine Lobster Boast Hand Hooked Pillow
The quintessential Maine lobster boat is among my favorite pieces of Coastal Style Rug Hooking in my portfolio. I can hear its gentle glue, glue and the call of the seagulls every time I look at it.
Hand Hooked Primitive Whale Pillow
Primitive whales are a favorite motif of mine, not to mention many other folk artists over the centuries. The oceanic simplicity of shape and majesty of power are hard to resist.
Maine Bicentennial 1820 Hand Hooked Lobster Pillow Coastal Style Rug Hooking
2020 is the Bicentennial Anniversary of the Statehood of Maine. When I first designed this pillow everyone asked, “What happened in 1820?” I’m hoping that 2020 will mark the year that everyone knows what 1820 is doing on a Maine Lobster’s tail.

 

Hand Hooked Lobster Buoy Pillow
This is my whimsical take on the serious business of Maine lobstering. It is practically a hooking doodle, but made with wool and cashmere. This generously sized pillow is currently available at Down East Gallery.
Nautical Stitching

Nautical Stitching

I had a wonky little scrap of antique linen, so I made a peculiar little nautical needle book.

Stitching has become calming and meditative for me.  I seem to be turning to it more and more.

I worry that over time my stitching will become too practices and regular, when what I love is the Wabi Sabi, Come as it May process.