Simplicity and Sensibility

Simplicity and Sensibility

One of the things I love about Woolcake is that it is so much more private and I can talk directly to the people who are part of Pattern of the Month, Woolcake or Woolbox Clubs. I can be a bit more personal here.

One of the things I would like to do  is talk about  my own sensibility. We all have a sensibility...that is things we are attracted to, that make us feel good. 

In the summer I spend a lot of time at Amherst Shore. I feel like part of being an artist is creating a space around yourself that makes you feel both comfortable and creative. It is just another art of your creative life.

For me my space, like my work is always about simplicity. I surround myself with things that are both utilitarian and functional.  I keep only what I need here.

I love to create te

he space around me. I am not a big decorator. Most of the bits and pieces I have have been around for years. I might add a throw cushion, or a pottery mug, or a piece of artwork but mostly I enjoy seeing things look quite the same for years. The quilt on my bed was made by Brenda who works with me. It is a whole cloth quilt and it is red on the overside. You can see a glimpse of a small rug on the side of the bed. It is a winter abstract. Instead of seashells and lighthouses I like to be reminded of the fleeting nature of summer. This little rug reminds to appreciate what is and take advantage of the summer. It is an ode to the present.


Another winter scene above the table. A night time one. This serigraph by Jon Hamilton reminds me so much of the house I grew up in. I like art work around me. Years of looking at this image has not dulled the feeling I get from it. It makes me feel like a child at night around the time your mother is calling you to come inside.  I like to surround myself with things that remind me. Overtime I look at this I get to go back home. I remember walking up the path to our house in the dark. 

Life is simple out here. You just have enough clothes to do you. I hand rinse things and hang them on the line. Grab my hat and walk on the beach when the tide is low. The hats are old, and they hang on little handmade hooks above whatever clothes I might be wearing. It makes you feel like enough is an abundance.

I keep everything plain and natural. That is my sensibility for this place. There is not layers of colour here. A few years ago the artist Kaffe Fassett was here and I brought him out to walk the beach. He was surprised at how minimalist my personal style was in contrast to the abundance of the studio. I think that I like both styles equally. If you look at my rugs you see very modern abstract designs and you see that lively abundance of colour. The things is my home life provides a backdrop for my colourful working life. I need both. Artists not only create their work. They create the space around them, and their studio space. It is just part of making a life, creating the space around you.

I love handmade things and I love supporting the work of other artists and artisans. It is important to because those who support handmade have supported me so much through out the years. I feel it is a responsibilty that I give back to the handmade community so that it can flourish and develop.

The walls in the cottage were handmade. The ten inch wide boards were milled by a local woodsman. My brother in law did all the carpentry here. It was a built in three . The middle section that we started with was a cook house for a fish factory and is over a hundred years old. The other section were hand built by Jim, my sisters husband. I love that. My father in law gave us the original cookhouse after we had our son. My husband has been coming here since he was born. It is a place that belongs to us, and we to it.

I hook out here. Small landscape pieces mostly. It is where I conceived of the idea of tiny landscapes because I needed projects that I could work on and be adaptive, responding to the wools I had on hand. One of my favorite rugs hangs here. It is of split cod that I remember seeing in my youth. They were hung to dry outside of people's houses where I grew up. For this place I have a palette tans and black mostly, but this rug lets me thrown in some soft turquoise.

I chose colours here that were soothing and gentle. It is really more about looking out to sea than it is about the inside anyway.

This piece of pottery  by Ghita Levin was folded on the sand flats along this shore. You'll see the rose petals drying in it. Amherst shore roses are fragrant. My husband puts these here and lets them dry. His mother loved these roses and picked them for over sixty summers. Now he does the same. Sometimes she would pick the petals off a bloom and throw it in the water as she was going swimming. How beautiful is that?

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  • Deanne Fitzpatrick
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