January 05, 2010

Street Hat

I finished another granny square hat last week. The colors are a bit muted, but I like it. Kind of reminds me of street colors...asphalt and metal. Made with Japanese Noro Silk Garden yarn and hand-dyed wool that I made last winter in Antarctica. Fully lined with windblock fleece for warmth. This one will probably go to the ice to be sold this winter.

Then in a mad rush of knitting addiction, I finished this hat tonight.

This is a much different style than I usually do, but I was inspired by a new book I just received about Fair Isle knitting. Fair Isle knitting is famous for its intricate patterns and unique color schemes. I had a bunch of Icelandic wool in my stash that was all about the same weight, so came up with this fun hat, which is seen here blocking happily. I will put a windblock lining in this one as well. I think it's just necessary for a properly warm and functional knitted hat.

I'm really quite fond of the outcome. So festive!

A parting shot of Murphy the Cat. The coolest cat in the world. She's tiny, about half the size of a regular cat, but makes up for it with a huge personality, which is obvious in this photo of her loving my leg.

Antz and I are heading for California on Monday, so may or may not get to the blog, but I have a new handy pocket-sized camera that S-antz-A Claus got me for Christmas, so there's no real reason why I can't. I plan on buying yarn for upcoming projects and doing some serious shopping for things to bring back to New Zealand...things I can't get here (or at least don't know where to find them). Things like my favorite cinnamon dental floss, cans of green chilies and Jello pudding mix.

January 03, 2010

Small World

I am kicking myself for not taking a photo of today's Small World Event, but I guess words will have to suffice.

My Mom and I went to the Art Centre in downtown Christchurch today for their weekend Art Fair and firstly, I got a parking spot on Worchester Street, which is like, right next to the Art Centre. For those who know the city, it's practically impossible to get a spot on this street. We conjured Mother Boniface, the Patroness of parking spaces and she came through for us YET AGAIN. Mother Boniface rocks!

Anyway, after paying the pay and display parking fee, I told my mother that I just KNEW I would run into someone I know at the fair. Just a feeling, ya know. Hours later, we had just finished our souvlaki and were getting ready to leave when who do I run into, but Lisa-Jane Harvey! I just posted about her in my last post about the lampwork gallery showing in Akaroa a couple of days ago. She is the bead artist that I took a weekend course from in Auckland a couple of years ago. She taught me how to do it. Such a small world! She lives in Auckland but is just tiki-touring around the South Island with some family. She was only to be in ChCh one day, today, and we ran into each other. We made quite a scene amongst the crowds; high-pitched squealing and jumping up and down. I am certain people were staring. But oh well, life is all about the cool things that happen and that is something to get excited about.

There you go. It's a Small World after all.

The Story of Mother Boniface (except from this link)

One morning, we left the Cenacle at Wynnefield Avenue, Philadelphia, to make our rounds with the banks. We lost everything in the fire at Holy Trinity, except the debt. Mother Boniface, a small town country school teacher, now had to go from bank to bank, looking for credit. Depositing here, only to cash at another bank; establishing credit because our limited lease and temporary shelter would soon be up. She got out and told me to go around the block; she wouldn't be long. I went around once and the second time she was waiting. When she got in the car, I said, "Mother, you can't go around a block in Philadelphia; you have to go around four blocks; they call it a Square; they are all one way streets. Patting my leg, she said laughing: "Francis Damien, when I get to Heaven, I am going to be the Patroness of Parking. We do already have a Patron for Drivers, but they have no idea what it is like down here, and you remember that. It was August, 1931, and in November, she was dead at forty-six.
[end excerpt]

All you have to do is ask Mother Boniface for help with a parking space. And don't forget to thank her!

January 02, 2010

New Zealand Glass Artists Exhibit in Akaroa

The beach at Akaroa

Yesterday, on New Year's Day, we packed into the car and drove to Akaroa, a tiny seaside town just about an hour and a half's drive from Christchurch. Under blue summer skies, we drove through long stretches of pasture country and sun-bronzed hills.

Akaroa is a quaint and colorful town with a obvious French influence having been settled by French immigrants long ago. Charming old houses line the hillsides, some almost completely overrun by prolific gardens in full bloom. Street names are all in French. Akaroa is situated on the edge of an extinct volcanic crater that makes up the Banks Peninsula. The Pacific Ocean invades the crater from the East, creating a calm and breathtaking body of water. It's one of my favorite places to go.

View of Akaroa Harbour

Charming Akaroa Home

My friends Kay Butler and Lisa-Jane Harvey, with support from the NZGBA (New Zealand Glass Bead Artists) organized a glass artists exhibition at a well-known local art spot in Akaroa, the Andrew Firth Gallery. Andrew himself specializes in glass art and creates some of the most wonderfully executed and graceful glass sculptures and pendants I've seen. Many of the artists are into lampwork, which is creating art beads by melting colored glass rods in a torch flame.

Andrew Firth (far right)

A couple of years ago I took a weekend lampwork course from Lisa-Jane Harvey and met Kay Butler through her. It was a wonderful weekend exploring an exciting new art and I came away with a long string of my fledgling attempt beads. See post.

Kay Butler with her jewelery (in glass case at eye level)

The New Zealand artists represented in this exhibit were: Kay Butler, Andrew Firth, Frances and John Hansen, Lisa-Jane Harvey, Karen Irwin, Justine McInally, Karen Mitchell, Helen Moore, Selma Rainey and Greg Smith.

It was exciting to see what everyone has been up to. I was impressed with how Kay's work has progressed from when I first met her. She had a few lovely necklaces on display and she called me up today to say that she had sold two of them! How exciting! It's always very gratifying when someone loves your work so much, they simply have to have it.

New Zealand still has a comparatively small lampwork artist community. But it is growing. Annie Rose in Whangarei and Lisa-Jane Harvey's studio in Auckland 'Born to Bead,' provide wonderful opportunities for people to learn this exciting art.

Kay (left) and my Mom, Ginny (visiting from California). Ginny is a glass artist in her own right, making stunning jewelery with Dichroic glass and beads.

After looking at everything and having some champagne and nibbles, my Mom, Antz and I went on to explore the area a little bit, enjoying some fun little shops and having a lovely lunch by the shore with a nice breeze cooling off the hot afternoon. It was unseasonably hot yesterday (about 90 degrees F and over 30 degrees C) and without air conditioning in the car, it made for a toasty trip. We had all the windows open, hair blowing every which way, my hand 'porpoising' out the front window. Perfect summer day!