Sunday, April 1, 2012

Alzheimer's Rug

This is the rug I'm currently working on.

The rug is my statement about the devastation caused by Alzheimers disease. the best and brightest parts of the woman are being torn away from her; she is unraveling. Her future is dark and tumultuous and her past is lost and confused.

My father-in-law suffered from this terrible disease and I felt compelled to create this rug as a tribute to him and to those who also are fighting against it. It's devastating to the individual and the families and friends who love them.




A fun workshop in Ohio

I got back Saturday from a lovely workshop outside of Columbus, Ohio. It was an open theme, but most of the women know I specialize in people and animal portraits, so the majority chose projects that featured faces of family.

We got started on Thursday afternoon. I always start my workshops with a show and tell of my own rugs, which includes a little bit of my history and some details about individual rugs that I've hooked. There's a lesson in each one, some about borders, backgrounds, line, balance, perspective, and more elements that rug hookers need to know about. I enjoy talking about my work and I hope that the show and tell is an inspiration to students, and I know it always opens up a dialogue between the students and myself.

Most of the women brought portrait rugs to work on, and it was fun to get them started and watch the designs grow and develop over the three days. I'm always amazed and thrilled to see projects emerge and see the women realize that they CAN do a portrait and not only that, they like it! It's very rewarding as a teacher to see that new confidence come in.

And the women who chose other subjects also had a good time, and I enjoyed seeing their pieces take shape. I like open workshops because no one should feel pressure to do something they aren't interested in, but can share the friendship and cameraderie of their group.

The meals were excellent, all carried in by members of the guild, and the accomodations by the host Janet Watson were wonderful. I had such a great time, it was hard to say good-bye!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Coming back to the blog

I set this up two years ago, let it go and forgot all about it. I should have known that it would be necessary to get a blog up and keep it running, but things kept happening, blah, blah, blah. I am stopping the excuses and getting back into this so I can connect to fellow rug hookers and I can make a place to share and show what I'm doing, as an artist, rug hooker, writer, and teacher.

Please comment as you see fit, and bear with me as I get this show on the road.

Monday, February 15, 2010

The Dunbar Rug

This rug was a commission by a friend who saw my rugs in a local art gallery. Up until then, she didn't know what type of work I did, and she was impressed with the pieces I had up on display. She asked if I would be interested in making a hooked rug of Paul Laurence Dunbar, a local poet who made significant contributions to the history of poetry.

I told her I was interested and she provided me with a photo of Dunbar. I asked her for a simple verse from one of her favorite Dunbar poems to incorporate into the design. With a photo and verse in hand, I set out to do the preliminary drawing.

I drew up the initial design, with a title at the top of Dunbar's name and the text of one of his poems at the bottom. There was a sizable background area and also a border to be planned, but I left those to be developed as I went along. I wanted to see how much detail I could get from the photo and would design the other elements accordingly.

After showing my client the layout on tracing paper, I set out to draw it up on the linen backing. I knew I was going to use a monochromatic color scheme, but instead of using the black and white found in the photo, I opted for a sepia palette. I chose a single dye color, a rich reddish brown reminiscent of old sepia photographs. With the limited amount of contrast in the photo, I decided that a range of eight light-to-dark browns would work best.

With the wool dyed, I was ready to start hooking.

I always start with the eyes. For me, they determine how the rest of the face will work, and if they aren't right, then nothing else will be, either. I also had to factor in the fact that he wore glasses, which can be tricky to hook. I reminded myself to hook what I saw and not what I thought should be there, and that was very helpful.

I worked around each eye, down his nose, and across his cheeks. I finished out with his mouth and chin, being careful to follow the shading in the photo. Once his face seemed to be working out well, I added the dark wool for his hair. Having that hair hooked in really helped define the face. I've found that taking photos constantly as I hook a piece makes it easier for me to stop and take a good long look at what I have so far.

The beginning

I have abandoned all hope of keeping a regular website up and running. I haven't the time or the know-how to do it, so I'm acting on the advice of a good friend and setting up my own blog. I want to have my rug work and my love of rug hooking in one place where friends I have and friends I haven't met yet might come to see what I'm up to.

So here we go. If you know me, drop me a line. If you don't know me, then check out who I am and what I do, and we might have ideas to share.

As I get this blog together, I will add all of the goodies I want to share. Stay tuned!