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WoolCake: Live Videos and Notes From Deanne

A Newsy Letter about Visits and Road Trips.

A Newsy Letter about Visits and Road Trips.

Good Morning,
Yesterday I told my friend Lily who lives a couple of hours away that I could drive down for a visit. She texted me back and said "I'll make a cake". I rarely leave home to hit the road so I think she saw it as fit for a celebration.
When I got there she had a little lemon coconut pound cake in the oven and a pot of soup on. It made me feel so special to arrive to a cake coming out of the oven. It reminded me of my mother baking date squares and lemon squares when company was coming. It was a long drive but it was worth it.
We didn't do much. We poked around her house and looked at the changes she made. We both share a love of home. Then we took a long walk through a hilly road and back through her friend's farm. We looked around an old barn for a bit, cut some forsythia for me to force , and had a cup of tea and lunch together. After lunch we went to town for an hour and I headed back home. I was back at my house by 4pm.
I often tell myself that I don't like driving but really I do. I get in the car, turn on a podcast and keep myself company. I drove a long way for a short visit but we are old old friends, 31 years, and she baked a cake so it was worth it. I ate two slices and then brought one home for Robert.
I remember once I drove five hours to take my old friend Doris Eaton out to lunch. I still remember that day. I had been writing my book Simply Modern and I was telling Doris that I had a title for it. I think it was something like Contemporary Hooked Rugs. Doris had had a stroke earlier that year and I was just happy to be with her. When I told her the title she smiled and said , "Maybe you'll think of something better." I laughed and she laughed. We laughed out loud in this pretty little cafe on a rural road on the south shore of Nova Scotia. After lunch she took me to meet Jane Steele from her rug hooking group, then I took her back home. It was a long drive for a little visit but it stands out in my memory. It was a beautiful day.
Friends are worth the trip. Often in the spring I feel the desire to get in the car for a little impromptu road trip. I don't want it planned. I just like to wake up and decide. That makes me happy. It is freedom to be able to get up in the morning and decide how to spend the day. That is a special freedom.
Today, after I finish writing to you I am going to get in the car again and drive out to the beach for a little walk about. It is spring and I feel the need to look around a bit and see what the winter left behind. When I come back I think I will sew a new rug upon my Cheticamp to hook because the light lasts into the evening now and so spring is a great time to hook.
Before I go I wanted to share a great meal I cooked last night. Whenever I go anywhere, I am always glad to get home. I get the fire going to warm the place up and I cook up something good. This was last night's supper. You could make it with any fish.
Halibut with spring vegetables 
Pan fry halibut or your favorite fish dipped in flour. I heat olive oil in the pan until it is hot before I put the fish in. Four minutes on each side. Set aside fish on a plate. 
In the same pan sauté 
1 clove garlic minced
1 sweet onion
4 mushrooms thinly sliced.
Cover with three cups water
2 cups chicken stock
Add 10-12 small new potatoes
Rind of one lemon
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon dried dill
1 bay leaf
Salt and pepper
Cook about ten minutes or until potatoes are still firm
Add 2 cups green beans, cook uncovered until potatoes are done, and beans still firm. 
Toss in 1 cup peas and 1 cup asparagus, and juice of one lemon
Top with fish, cover for three minutes and serve. It is a simple but delicious fish stew.
So that's it for me today. It was good to be here with you this morning. Remember every Thursday we go live on facebook and instagram so I'll see you there.
As I write this to you now I am wondering what I'll hook today. I don't always know but I always show up at my frame and something comes. I love that .
Haver a good week, I hope you get a visit in with someone, even via zoom. It is good for us to stay in touch, thanks so much for reading,
Deanne
PS. I am having a live zoom class next Saturday if you would like to spend the day with me hooking the caribou and learning about colour and design you can register here.

Thursday live: hooking landscapes.

Do you want to know the difference between rug hooking and punch needle?

In this video Deanne and Amy Oxford talk about the difference between punch needle and rug hooking.
Finding Your own Voice: Do you remember the first time you heard your voice?

Finding Your own Voice: Do you remember the first time you heard your voice?

Good Morning,
Years ago on Easter morning I got a tape recorder as a gift from my six older sisters. I was perhaps seven or eight years old. It was a big black and white rectangle with a microphone that plugged in. It came with cassette tapes that I could record on.
I wanted to record my voice and I was excited to hear it. I had this idea that I would tell stories or maybe interview people. It was something I had longed for for months, and there it was in our living room waiting for me with a big chocolate Easter bunny. I always ate the ears first.
I think now about wanting that tape recorder. It seems I wanted the same things then that I do now. I wanted to find my voice. I wanted to connect. It was on an Easter Sunday that I first heard my own voice, and I was puzzled by it. It was not the way I thought I sounded. It was not the way I imagined my voice to be. Other people sounded to me the way they sounded in real life, but my own voice was different.
It was the first time that I observed myself. That I heard or saw myself the way others might. It was the beginning of a profound lesson, one that was not fully realized until decades later. It is that what we feel and believe about ourselves may look and sound different to others.
It was years later again that I understood that this was okay.
Listening to the playback of my child's voice and hearing it as different than I imagined reminds me of my ongoing search for my own voice. It reminds me that perhaps even as a child I wanted to speak, that I wanted to share my story. We all have a voice and we have the opportunity in life to find it.
I remember also that after I had that tape recorder for a while I did not use it very much because I did not know what to do with it. It was a powerful tool but mostly it just sat there while I played kick the ball, and ran down to collect rocks off the beach. And so that tape recorder lost its power. It did not enchant me anymore.
The power of our tools grow with use. The power of our voice grows because we speak. The power of our hook grows because we use it.
My hook is my most expressive tool. Writing to you each week has helped me understand my own story. It has helped me curate my own voice. Just as sitting to hook has helped me find my way in the world.
Like me with my little tape recorder, when we first start to use our own voice sometimes we do not recognize it as our own. My first rugs are very different from the rugs I make now. They were not what I wanted them to be but they were what they were. Accepting them for what they were let me move on and keep making.
My hook lets me make peace with myself. It gives me time to explore my own voice. Not just with the finished rugs as a form of self expression but in the time I spend making them. In that time I get to think, to sort things out. To remember, and sometimes when necessary to forget. It is the process that I value. It is both nurturing and deepening.
I go to my frame for solace, for wonder, for strength, and for comfort. Making art is an act of hope. When you go to your frame all these things are waiting for you too.
Finding your voice is one of the most powerful things you will ever experience, and to think it can be done just by making. The idea that it is not what you make, that it is not the thing itself, but the just the fact that you make is enough to find your voice is a marvel to me. It was a long time after first hearing the playback of my voice on that tape recorder that I came to realize this.
Your story, your life, that special energy that only you have is worth the time. You'll learn just by showing up. You will grow just because you moved hand over hand and gave yourself time to think, time to be, time to bloom.
My search for my own voice is ongoing. From first hearing it, it has remained a bit elusive, something slightly outside of myself. Still I try to connect with it because for me it makes my life richer, kinder, deeper.
And life is precious.
And in quietly celebrating Easter I feel even more connected to life because it is a season so much about hope and renewal and spirit.
And I wish you blessings this morning.
Thank you for reading, for supporting my work, and your kind words.
Deanne
PS. I left the sale on Colour School for today as I was so late sending out the notice yesterday and we always have a few latecomers. I will take it off tonight
PPS. Thick and thin Slubby yarn is back in stock. This yarn was out of stock all winter and sometimes we have trouble getting it. Order here
  • Angela Davis

Thursday Live: Freedom of design and hooking with rich textures.

Sunday Letter: You have this well inside of you, keep digging.

Sunday Letter: You have this well inside of you, keep digging.

Good Morning,
I will get straight at it this morning. We were all born creative. We all have this well of creativity inside of us. We have this secret space inside of us that is made for making.
Some creative wells are pretty deep and they got that way because someone has been digging in them. You are creative. I am creative. This morning I am going to tell you a bit about my creative well.
Like you, probably, I drew as a child freely and easily. We never seemed to have any paper in our house so I would take the blank end pages of my father's paper back books and tear them out and draw on them. I would look through the old school text books in the house and see my older sister's drawings of women that they rendered while bored in class. I'd try to copy those drawings. And I would draw my own. I passed no judgement I just drew until I was about seven or eight and I started noticing others drew better.
Suddenly, it seemed the end papers of books became score tallies for card games. Fifty cents a game and a nickel in the hole, that was family time when I was growing up.
I left drawing behind as a young child.
I still made things. I made Barbie clothes, and crocheted granny squares. I played with copper wire and buttons to make really awful earrings. I wrote letters. Lots of letters. But I never thought of those things as creative. I never saw myself as creative. The only thing I ever drew was a vine with leaves, it was my go to scribble, my doodle. It never occurred to me I could draw.
Creativity was something I left behind as I grew up and even as I went through university. I never even thought about the word. And the word is a bit daunting. It just never came up.
In my third year of university I started visiting the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia just to look at the pictures. I had just discovered the difference between original art and department store art. I was twenty. I was doing a political science degree. I read books on Russia and the Middle East. I had no artistic inclinations other than I was curious. The idea that I could be an artist was not even an inkling in the back of my mind. I think it would have seemed a ridiculous idea.
But inside of all that, even though I did not know it, I was still the little girl who drew on the end papers of books.
Inside of each of us is that tiny artist. That little hand that brought what was around us to life so freely and easily with out judgement or despair, or foolishness is inside us.
That little hand is inside the hand you have now. Just look at your hands, really look at them and remember. Remember the time when they were not afraid to pick up the pencil, to mark things up with crayons, and hold them up their work for the world to see.
These hands are ours. They still hold this memory in them. And this memory is powerful because once we stir it up we realize that our well is there ready to be dug again. Ready to make.
I became interested in drawing again when I learned how to hook rugs. I was twenty four.
And it isn't all about drawing, that's just what happened to me. I still can only draw what I can draw. I know that the more I draw the better I get because I start to see again. Some where along the way I accepted that the way I drew was the way I drew. I could not draw everything but what I did draw had some feeling. The things I cannot draw I get some help with or I use a template or a pattern, and that's okay.
I don't limit myself by my own abilities. I learn from others. I study. I read. I teach myself. I ask for help. That way my abilities grow. That is the thing I love about creativity. It can be collaborative. It grows and builds upon itself and upon the creativity of others. As much as it is a well, it is also this big teetering tower that has grown because we have helped each other.
And if you keep using it, it gets better as you age. You have more sources, more knowledge, more history that you can draw upon. The well does not dry up. That's a myth. You keep digging, it will keep flowing.
Over the last year I put a lot of my creative energy into making DFS Colour School. I hope you will join me and learn this creative approach to colour for hooking rugs.
Enjoy your Sunday, and I 'll write next week,
and remember ...
You are creative!

Deanne
PS. If you sign up for colour school before April 3 you will save $50 on the registration.
PPS. YES!!! Slubby yarn is back in stock. Order here