I am graphic designer and musician by training, having graduated from the University of Toronto in 1987 with a Bachelor of Music degree, and George Brown College in 1990 with an Honours Design Diploma. I've run my own design business, Grinning Gecko Design, since 1994.
I keep busy with a variety of things including graphic design, web design, illustration, writing and rug hooking. I would also like to improve my quilting skills, and learn to spin fibre. My husband and I live on an 86-acre hobby farm with eleven chickens, several thousand honeybees, two dogs, three cats and a leopard gecko.
I have illustrated a children's book called Katie of the Sonoran Desert (written by Kate Jackson, published by the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum Press, 2009.) It is available at the ASDM Press and Amazon.com, or contact me at my email address. I'd love to illustrate more kids' books! Animals and nature remain my favourite subject matter for artwork.
I began hooking rugs after moving to beautiful Nova Scotia. I learned the basics of this traditional craft from my Newfoundlander and Acadian next-door neighbours, who kindly shared their knowledge with me.
Soon after, I began designing my own rug patterns. Using my graphic design skills and taking inspiration from the world around me, I make rugs that usually end up as wall-hangings. To me, rug-hooking is like painting with wool. I dye my own wool, which is not only a lot of fun, but gives me greater control over the colours in my projects. I hook with new and recycled wool. Many an old wool skirt has worked its way into my rugs, not to mention a coat that formerly warmed my husband! I particularly enjoy using type in my rug designs (all those typography classes are paying off!) and sometimes write verse for the borders of my rugs.
My mats have been featured in Rug Hooking magazine's A Celebration of Hand-hooked Rugs XI and XII. They have been in several shows, including Mat Hooking: From Simple to Sublime, a juried show at the Mary E. Black gallery in Halifax, NS and the Comfort & Joy show at the Craft Council of Newfoundland and Labrador. My Turkish Fishies rug was chosen for the juried show West Coast Textures at the FibreEssence Gallery in Vancouver. As well, I hook rugs on commission. I especially enjoy animal themes.
This craft is the perfect creative outlet for me. I am indeed a happy hooker.
Visit my blog at www.knatolee.blogspot.com and my Etsy site at www.Cricklewood.etsy.com