Australian Shepherd Small Rugs

Rug tufting somehow seems like the perfect medium for these fluffy Aussies. Creating these guys was a real treat. I love tufting tri coloured animals and animals with complex markings. Aussies are also just super charming dogs. They were the most common breed I worked with when I was a dog trainer, and they really have a great sense of humour.

These little Australian shepherd rugs will be available at the Capital Art Sale! These two are the only time I’ll be using this design, so if you want one, please be sure to grab them while they’re available.

The Capital Art Sale is taking place May 9-12 at the Capital Exhibit Centre!

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Boxer Dog Rug

I created this silly boxer rug for the Capital Art Sale next week!

Boxers have such jovial personalities. I tried to capture a little bit of that in this rug. Defining the mouth was a real challenge, but I think it turned out pretty readable. I also experimented with adding both mid-tone cool colours (blue, purple, green) to define the main dark colours, and actual darker warm tones as extra shadows. I think it adds an interesting bit of depth, but what do you think?

The Capital Art Sale is taking place May 9-12 at the Capital Exhibit Centre!

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Blue Rainbow German Shepherd

This piece was a private commission to be a gift for the dog’s person. I’ve been sitting on it jic to conserve the surprise, but I think it’s safe to share it by now! I really struggled with this piece. I had to rework the shape of the muzzle several times, and I had to fight to get the tan markings to stand out against the black fur. I tried to keep the markings a slightly different colour to the black to help them pop, and it felt like they kept wanting to blend in. I like how it turned out in the end; but like any good GSD, it had to fight me a bit getting there haha!

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Mini Rainbow Husky Rugs

Here are some mini husky rugs!
These little guys are based on a past commission. I thought the base design was simple enough that it would make a cute mini rug, and it’s nice to work with a dog design that’s not one of my border collies haha!
This time I chose blue eyes on the orange (red) husky, but still went with green on the blue (black) husky. Blue eyes are just so husky-ish! But I also appreciate how mellow the green looks against the blue without being too same-same. What do you think?

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Mini Dog Rugs

Here are some orange pups and some blue pups! These little guys are about 7-8” on the longest side. I’ve been practising getting more detail into this tiny size, and I think it’s paying off. I’m retiring this design after this batch, so be sure to snag one of these guys if you really want this design.

These mini rugs are available at RB Studio & Gallery here in Fredericton, NB.

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Rainbow French Bulldog Sticker Design

This little Frenchie was a real challenge for some reason, but I’m really happy with how the design turned out. I love how Frenchies can go from absolutely focused to completely goofy at the drop of a hat. I hope I was able to capture some of their silly personality. And of course it’s my favourite colour scheme of pink and yellow haha!

This sticker design is available at my website and through Etsy.

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Rainbow Service Dog Border Collie Sticker

Here’s our sticker for this month, an homage to my service dog, Nonoha!

Get the monthly exclusive jumbo version of this vinyl sticker on my Ko-fi shop. No account or subscription necessary!

July is Disability Pride Month, so I wanted to take this opportunity to celebrate my service dog, Nonoha, and talk a little about some of my chronic illnesses and their impact on my career as an artist and teacher. Trigger warnings for mentions of chronic illness, disability, and mild ableism.

To quickly summarise my chronic illness journey: I developed a severe case of H1N1 back in 2010 when I was in university. It triggered lupus (which was quickly diagnosed) and ME/CFS (which was not quickly diagnosed). I felt better with my lupus treatment but never recovered enough to go back to my Master’s degree, so I became a dog trainer teaching a couple hours a week. I gradually got more and more sick over time until I couldn’t teach any longer, and I was diagnosed with MC/CFS about this time. We moved from Toronto, ON to Fredericton, NB in the hopes a quieter environment would help my health. I don’t think my health has improved, but I do love living in NB! After a few years here, I actually started getting much sicker. I was recently diagnosed with adrenal insufficiency/Addison’s disease. This puts an even tighter limit on my energy levels, but I’m working with an amazing endocrinologist who has helped minimise the worst of my symptoms. I’m not quite back to my usual ME/CFS energy levels, but I’m no longer bed-bound most days and can even go shopping or on short hikes a couple times a month.

Doggy stuff: We were on a waiting list to get Nonoha as a sports dog for a couple years before my ME/CFS diagnosis, and we brought her home about 6 months before my diagnosis. I trained her in agility, obedience, and service dog tasks. She does alerts for migraines, deep pressure therapy for pain and fatigue, and a myriad of minor tasks like retrieving medication and my cane, picking up things I’ve dropped, etc. Unfortunately, I’ve found it’s really frustrating using her in public. I don’t look obviously disabled without my cane (which I thankfully do not need often anymore), and people often let their children chase us. There really needs to be more education about different types of service dogs. Not all disabilities are obvious, and service dogs can learn so many tasks to help their people! So Nono is retired from public service, and I rely on my husband instead, but the little goblin does help out around the house. (She especially loves retrieving and doing alerts.)

Art career stuff: Digital painting was my biggest hobby in high school and university. I thought an art career might work out because I can easily control how much, and when, I work. I quickly pivoted from digital art to watercolours and then fell in love with rug tufting, too. I can work about an hour or two a day on a good day, and I’m careful to take a lot of breaks to lay down. I have a cot in my home studio, so I don’t have to travel far to take a little break. I also rarely work two days in a row, but I’m always very excited when I get to work more often! This means my productivity is very low, and some weeks, I’m not able to work at all. I have to begin prepping months in advance for any local events, and that’s why I don’t sell originals online. (Gotta hoard those bois for the locals haha!)

I’ve always been interested in teaching, and my goal was always to become an educator. While I can’t teach in person because of my energy limits, I’ve slowly been learning to create video lessons. I’m not the best at video editing, but I’ve found the few lessons I’ve been able to create really rewarding! I hope my students have been enjoying my classes and learning a bit despite my lack of technical skills haha!

In the future: I’m hoping to pivot my career from commission based to teaching based while still running my little art shop. Creating video lessons is a lot more work, but it’s easier to spread out over time than commissions which have to be delivered in a reasonable time frame. (Though all my commissioners have been absolutely amazing and compassionate when I’ve run into hiccups and delays, and I’m thankful every day for meeting such wonderful people!) Joining the art community in Fredericton has really expanded my world. I’ve been able to meet really wonderful, compassionate, and passionate people while working within my physical limits. I’m extremely thankful for finding such a wonderful path in life, and I really look forward to continuing my art journey for as long as possible!

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