Sunday, June 15, 2014

Remembering To Create Beauty Every Day


A Carpet of Forget-Me-Nots

      After leaving our rug hooking gathering that I talked about last time at the Bell Inn in Dorchester, NB, I merrily made my way to visit Deanne Fitzpatrick's rug hooking shop/studio (www.hooking in Amherst, NS. I didn't need a thing but always love to shop, browse, stand or sit inside and take in all of the colour and joy that fills Deanne's space.
     Deanne has a frame set up in her shop where you can try different hooks and fibres so I played a bit with the new, lightweight, wool knit fabric that she now stocks - and found that it works up beautifully, just as she said.
     Deanne's motto is to 'create beauty every day' and for all of us in our community that Wednesday evening, beauty was temporarily taken from us with the shooting of five police officers, leaving three dead and two wounded. Everyone was asked to go home and stay inside until the shooter was apprehended. This lasted until midnight the following night. 
     Over a week has now passed, the tri-community of Riverview, Moncton and Dieppe is mobile again and three young families are left to mourn. Banners, signs and notes are up everywhere thanking our police for keeping us safe. Everyone is struggling to recapture some of Deanne's beauty - and my way is through a new rug.
     All of my flower beds are now beginning to burst into colour with the warm weather. To try and capture some of this beauty, I have started a new mat that is also a 'plein air' exercise.
  The design is a crazy quilt pattern that divides the mat into many sections. I began with my hostas just as they were coming up and starting to unfurl - and interpreted them in various variegated greens and white. Next were the tulips and the forget-me-nots and next to come are the irises. I plan to move around the mat - hooking three areas for each flower or plant - and by the end of the season - hopefully the mat will be finished. 
     Each area takes a short time to hook. The process involves looking carefully at the flower or plant, choosing the colours and then sitting on the deck or front step to keep the plant in view for hooking. My forget-me-nots carpet a small grove of trees at the back of my yard in a blue haze and individually are so small, I needed to get up very close to count the petals and look at the centres for the colours. 
     To get the design for each section I cut a 1" square out of the centre of a sheet of paper. This hole became my viewfinder for looking at the flower. I moved in very close for the larger flowers, moving the viewfinder about until I had a composition of line and colour that appealed to me. For the small forget-me-nots, I found a dense patch that gave the most concentration of colour.
     To outline the sections in the pattern I'm using various colours of knit velour which make a nice contrast in texture. Traditionally, crazy quilts are made of scraps so I plan to use whatever I have in my left-overs stash to get the effect that I want in my rug. Here is one section that I'm working on.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Gathering at the Bell Inn in Dorchester, NB

The Welcome Mat is out at the front door of the Bell Inn, Dorchester, NB

The Bell Inn, Dorchester, NB

     One of the oldest buildings in New Brunswick is still a popular gathering place for locals and tourists alike, just as it was in the early 1820's. According to oral tradition, the Bell Inn in Dorchester was built in the late 1600's and when it was sold in 1821 it was noted as being a private dwelling and a small inn.

      Sold again in 1858 to a local ship builder and stage coach operator, the inn became the stop-over place for passengers as the coach travelled between Amherst, NS and Moncton, NB.
      After the Intercolonial Railway was completed in 1872 and the stagecoach was discontinued, the inn became the home and head office for the owner and his ship building business. 
      Years passed, ship building also declined and the Bell Inn eventually became the property of the Westmorland Historical Society.
     Restored as a wonderful restaurant, under the new management of co-chefs/co-owners Andrew Harrison and Sara Craig, the Bell Inn hosted our group of fibre artists - also known as hookers - for a whole day of hooking (and lunch!) this past week. 
     Here are some photos of the wonderful mats being made at the gathering.


Part of the natural rock wall behind the Bell Inn - maybe a design idea for an abstract mat?
(Many thanks to W. Eugene Goodrich for the historical information about the Bell Inn.)