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Category Archives: Design

Designs right around you

By | Composition, Design, Making rugs | 2 Comments

A few people asked me about this rug I showed (with Ruby gracing it) the other day. So today let’s talk about it a bit. It was one of the rugs that I’ve had the most fun hooking, maybe because I drew it out quite quickly, and only had the most vague idea of how it would end up looking. I couldn’t wait to see how it turned out!

A few years ago, I took a class called “Designing From Nature” with Liz Alpert Fay, up at Shelburne, VT. A three day rughooking class, and none of us ever picked up a hook! We just looked at things and worked on designs. And we talked a bit about techniques to transition a design from drawing-size to full rug size. I came home with at least three full designs on backing, ready to go. And this was the first one I finished hooking.

Liz had asked everyone in the class to come with about 6 or 8 “natural treasures”. We brought little pieces of driftwood, seed pods, flowers, little rocks. And though most of us were not at all experts at drawing, she had us just sit down and sketch out our versions of the natural treasures that struck our fancy.

One thing I brought was a cross-sectioned slice of blue agate that I have kept in a window for more than thirty years. I have always loved seeing the light from the window coming through it, and highlighting the layered rings:

As you can see, the rug only remotely looks like the agate slice. It was just a starting point. One large squiggle for the outside border (without any really sharp curves that would make it hard to finish when the rug was done) and then echoing inner squiggles that varied a bit each time. I tried to vary thicker “layers” and thinner layers. And I remember I ended up changing these a bit as I actually did the hooking.

I did keep to the overall blue coloring of my original agate, but added in some purples and blue textures as I went. As often happens, I picked the colors as I went along, just mindful of getting enough contrast between the “layers” and enough variety overall.

One thing about designing that I learned in this class with Liz: You don’t actually have to try drawing an exact replica of something. Think of it as drawing your own impression of it. A seed pod can become such an interesting form to create an abstract yet natural design!

A handful of shells can suggest forms and shapes to create a design that might end up having nothing directly to do with shells at all:

Can you envision using the lines of this shell photo to make an interesting pattern for a hit or miss rug? There you go!

A branch of a tree, currents in a stream, the curves of a piece of driftwood, or even the cracks in a rock can be the starting point of a lovely rug design.

Look at this simple photo of a tree branch:

Now, try to stop yourself from seeing it as a branch, and look at it just as a form, a series of lines. What if each section of the background was a different color, instead of being all green? Can you start seeing it as a design, maybe a design that will become completely separated from “a branch”, that you could develop into a pleasing rug form?

I just quickly went into an online paint program and came up with this:

It was done quickly to illustrate a point, and nothing beautiful – but can you start seeing it as lines and forms, and areas of color, rather than a branch? Can you imagine where it could develop from there? There is something organically pleasing about the designs you find in nature.

That’s how I came to design my “blue agate” rug. At some point, it stopped being a picture of my agate slice, and just became a design I really liked. I would like to do another version of this general rug design, maybe in reds, oranges and yellows.

You don’t have to be an expert in drawing to look around, and play with shapes and lines, forms and colors – to create your own designs! Abstract designs might not be for everyone, but they are a great change of pace, and a good way to stretch your “creative muscle”. And don’t forget: rugs do not always have to be rectangles or circles!

Keep on hooking, and hook what you love.

Summer days…

By | Color, Design, Making rugs | 8 Comments

I confess, I went to a wonderful few days at Green Mountain Rughooking School, and I took no photos for the blog. If I take photos of other people’s rugs, I then have to wander around and find them to get permission to show them. Maybe the photos are all over facebook, but on the blog, that’s how I do things.
So I took a blog vacation in favor of sitting with friends and just hooking, hooking, (visiting, eating, telling stories, laughing, comparing projects and…) hooking.

Above, you see my current project, started in mid-May. I wanted a rug to do in a wider cut than I have tried before – an #8 cut – and was not feeling very creative, so I ordered this pattern, called Birds In The Border, by Lin Wells of Lin’s Primitive by Design.

I liked that it was sort of symmetrical, but not completely symmetrical. And in choosing my colors, I made sure that I continued this slight unsymmetricality. Is that a real word? Well, you know what I mean. I used the same group of colors for the small and large flowers, but changed the order and pattern of them.

And how did I do, using a #8 cut for the first time? Just fine! I expected to have to work harder to pull my loops, but really, it felt just like hooking with my usual #6 cut. I do use a hook with a fairly thick shank, even when working with a #5 or #6, so maybe that is why I had no difficulty. I just had to remember to space out my loops a little more than I usually do, since even with a #6, I tend to pack my loops in.

The other great thing about this design is that, once I finished all the design elements (birds, flowers, leaves, vine) there was not that much background to do!

One of my favorite parts of hooking is when you put that first row of background around all your design elements. That flower or this leaf looks so different when it is finally surrounded by the background color! And that first background row is what locks your loops into place, so that is the time to nudge a loop a little bit this way or that way to smooth out a curve or a straight line, or give final shape to a bird’s beak or tail.

And as you can see, I only have a bit left to do. As I approach the “home stretch” on a rug, I usually have to set it aside to finalize my next project. Then I can relax and finish up the current one. We would never want to find ourselves rug-less, would we??

Hoping you are enjoying the summertime, and that the rug on your frame is coming along, too!

A Labor of Love

By | Contemporary rugmakers, Creativity, Design | 3 Comments

Gayle Burton, of West Point, Utah, has been working on and off on this rug for over five years, and now it is done. It is her family story rug, and is pretty large – 48″ x 60″. She wrote that it was a labor of love, and it felt great to have finally finished it.

I have become more and more drawn to personal storytelling rugs in general lately. Yes, we can all enjoy making florals, or holiday rugs with Santas and pumpkins and Easter bunnies, and enjoy them for years to come. But taking your own memories and family stories, and making a rug design around them, as Gayle has, really puts your own experience and spirit into a rug. Let’s look a little closer at how Gayle did it.

She wrote, “Hubby and I moved into our home in Clinton, Utah, as honeymooners, and raised three children and a dog there, over the course of 37 years.

Lesson #1: Don’t stress about hooking people into your rug! It doesn’t have to be a fine-shaded, perfect-rendition portrait of them. If you could draw people when you were in the third grade, you can draw (and hook) them now. Gayle’s are charming, and all the family (the focus of her family rug) is right there and up front.

The Union Pacific Railroad runs right behind the house – the diesel trains aren’t very picturesque, so I hooked an old-fashioned steam engine instead“:

Lesson #2: Adapt as you see fit. “Artistic License” is a wonderful thing, and you own it! You can adapt reality to a symbolic level, to fit your taste and style, and everyone will know exactly what you are representing!

Gayle did the same thing with her little airplane. She writes, “We live near Hill Air Force Base, and F-16 fighter jets fly overhead often.” So she added a simple little red airplane to her design. Who cares that F-16s aren’t red?

“We are LDS (Mormons) so I hooked in the Salt Lake Temple as a symbol of our religion – there are flowers to depict the beautiful gardens that are to be seen in every season at Temple Square. The blue represents the Great Salt Lake.

Again, Gayle did not try to portray the gardens in their entirety, she just put in a few flowers to represent the gardens. Perfect!

Lesson #3: Get started by making a list (and asking family members to add to it) of significant places and features that define your story – both large and small.

Gayle’s list included the very large – the Temple and Great Salt Lake – to a quilt hanging outside, the flag, and what grew in her garden:

She writes, “Our home is surrounded by wonderful shade trees that provided great climbing opportunities for the children and their friends as they grew. We also grow a garden each summer, so I hooked corn and pumpkins to represent that.

Finally, she included the family name and date banner across the bottom, and then two borders on the upper part of the rug, which really give a finished look to the rug (I love the little dabs of hit or miss!) and she added, “The borders were fun to hook, and used up a lot of my worms, too!”

Lesson #4: Just begin. Maybe it took Gayle more than five years to finish this lovely rug, but she has it now, and I am sure it will always be treasured. If your kids had a pet hedgehog, google “drawings of hedgehogs” and then just try drawing one. Gayle drew all of her motifs freehand, and rughooking’s folk art style allows for each idea, place, person, animal or object to be pictured as a motif, not a perfect line drawing. If you need to, draw your hedgehog on newsprint a bunch of times until you get one you like, and then cut that one out and trace it onto your backing. But just begin.

After living in Clinton for 37 years, three months ago Gayle and her family moved to a neighboring town in Utah, and, as she puts it, “We’re starting new stories here now!”

Thanks so much, Gayle, for sharing the story of your wonderful story rug with us! It is a terrific rug, and your labor of love comes through.

This is Gayle’s original work, it’s copyrighted, and used here with her kind permission. Please ask her before you copy, pin or share it on the web. Gayle wrote much of the process of making her rug on her own blog, online at themiddlesister.blogspot.com.

“their history was often lost…”

By | Antique rugs, Design, Museums | 6 Comments

A while back, I browsed through the online collection of hooked rugs at the Textile Museum of Canada, and of course found some beauties. Above, you see a rug dated 1925-1935. The maker is unknown, but it was made of synthetic material on burlap, on Prince Edward Island.

The Textile Museum of Canada is in downtown Toronto, and happily, the searchable collection is online, too. My simple “hooked rug” search brought up over 250 rugs (with photos) for me. And I thought their brief description of hooked rugs was interesting:

Rug hooking is a unique North American tradition that arose in response to the need to cover the cold bare floors of pioneer homes. Weaving cloth required long hours at the spinning wheel and loom, but rugs could be made from scraps of fabrics and fibres that were pulled through a burlap base to produce warm floor-coverings to brighten the home. It is rare to find a hooked rug whose maker is known; unlike quilts, which were treasured family possessions, hooked rugs wore out and their history was often lost.

Here is another rug, made in Ontario, dated 1900-1930:

The museum presents rotating exhibitions, changed throughout the year, drawn from their collection of over 13,000 objects, and the work of local, national and international contemporary artists are featured, both at the museum and in touring exhibits. “This diverse collection includes fabrics, ceremonial cloths, garments, carpets, quilts and related artifacts which reflect the cultural and aesthetic significance that cloth has held over the centuries.”

Here is a sweet rug, dated 1900-1930, from the Niagara Peninsula of Ontario:

You can search the museum’s collection by technique (as I did) or by type (clothing, headwear, etc.), materials, region or time period. Here is a hooked rug from 1940-1960 (maker unknown, region unknown) that I admired – quite an intricate floral design:

And here is another floral, also intricately designed, from much earlier, in the 19th century (dated 1875-1900):

I would say “Road Trip!”, but Toronto is almost 8 hours drive east from Burlington, VT, or just north of Buffalo, NY, and that slows me right down. But when you have a minute, go to the website of the Textile Museum of Canada, and take an “armchair road trip” through the collection. Here is the link:
collections.textilemuseum.ca

Oh, and once you get there, look around at other things in the collection beyond hooked rugs. The museum celebrates textiles from around the world, like this intriguing apron from Papua, New Guinea:

All photos courtesy of the Textile Museum of Canada.
Oh, okay, here is one more – you know how I love hit or miss rugs. This beauty was made in 1940, (yes, maker unknown) in Waterloo County, Ontario:

One thing leads to another…

By | Contemporary rugmakers, Creativity, Design | No Comments

Because I had the flu, I actually looked at a postcard that had been tucked in with a piece of wool I had mail-ordered months ago. It was about a rughooking place in Iowa, called Old Friends Woolens. If I hadn’t been down with the flu, I would not, most likely, have come across it again, and actually looked it up. But that is how I found Catherine Tokheim’s website and rugs. Cathy is a long-time rug hooking enthusiast with a passion for passing on the craft. She lives near Swea City, Iowa and enjoys traveling to meet up with rug hooking groups from all over the Midwest. It is always a pleasure to see what is going on in rughooking, in different areas of the country!

Above, you can see her design, Prairie Spirit. Catherine drew out this pattern for a friend, whose husband was instrumental in the introduction of peregrine falcons to the downtown Rochester, MN Mayo Clinic campus. The rug was a retirement gift for him. The first male peregrine introduced was named Chase, and so the name was included in her hooked rug. Look for the name, subtle but there, worked into the background on the top right side.

Catherine writes, “It’s a big rug pattern, 38″x66″ to allow for the detail in the bird and botanicals. I loved the story of the peregrine’s introduction to Rochester, MN and loved that my friend Jean Bartel wanted to commemorate that introduction for her husband. I know and love them both so this design, hooked by Jean, has a special meaning for me. The colors and style just make the rug shine.

Here is another lovely primitive rug by Catherine, called Gentle Words:

“Dew is to the flower what gentle words are to the soul.”

Catherine writes, “This design comes from a quote that I found that really rings true for me. Words have an effect and gentle words have an uplifting effect in a person’s life. I hope to hang on to that quote and use it daily. Flowers gathered from my gardens are a gentle, beautiful activity and their presence in my home always bring a smile to my face.

And one last rug of Catherine’s that caught my eye right away, Sheep In The Poppies:

Sheep in the Poppies was an exploration of favorite colors and their hues along with my attempt at primitive shading. Animals and flowers are favorite subjects for my designs and sheep, as you know, are just a joy to hook. A big, bold sheep as the focus is fun too!

Catherine has many patterns for sale on her Old Friends Woolens Etsy shop here, (at very reasonable prices), as well as wool. And she has a website and blog at www.oldfriendswoolens.com. She teaches around the northern midwest, so if I were looking for a class or hooking event in the area of South Dakota, Iowa, or Minnesota, that’s where I would look! Two day Old Friends Woolens retreat coming up, Jul 21 – Jul 23, in Ormsby, Minnesota! Wouldn’t you just love to go?

Catherine owns her own creations, of course, and they are copyrighted and protected as her own designs. Thank you so much Catherine, for permission to show them here! And as for the “many more primitive designs yet undrawn” you mentioned, keep drawing them! Your rugs are a delight! Greetings to all your rughooking friends in the Midwest, from a bunch of New England rughookers – have a lovely spring and summer!

Cats!

By | Antique rugs, Design, Making rugs | 6 Comments

I’ve just sketched out a primitive cat design for my next project, so was pleased to find two nice antique cat rugs for sale at recent auctions. Above, you can see Lot 1724 from the Jeffrey S. Evans Auctioneers sale on February 18, in Mt. Crawford, VA. Here is the description:
AMERICAN FOLK ART PICTORIAL HOOKED RUG, design featuring a reclining cat on a checkered floor. Professionally mounted for hanging. Dimensions: 22 1/2″ x 33″.
Date: Second quarter 20th century. The sale estimate was $100-$150, but I could not find what the final price was.

And here is another great antique cat rug that was sold at Thomaston Place Auction Gallery, Thomaston, Maine, on Feb. 12th. It was Lot 501:

The description for this sweet “Spooky” rug was:
Description: HOOKED RUG OF BLACK CAT Stretched and Mounted Hooked Rug with portrait of black cat named “Spooky”, initialed “ATS” and dated ’81, unframed, 17″ x 22″ overall, very good condition. Estimate:$400-$600.

The final sale price for this rug was $500. And beyond the charm of the rug itself, I was interested in these two other photos of the rug:

It really looks like the rug had no binding, or even hemmed edges at all – the backing was just stretched onto a frame and stapled.

I really loved both of these! Now I will show you the design I (quickly) drew onto linen for myself. I wanted a “Ruby In The Garden” design, something to just play with. I drew it out freehand onto the linen, so you can see a few “mistake” lines that I will correct as I hook:

Why did I do this design? 1. I just am finishing the border of my big hit or miss, and wanted to do something that I can just play with. I suspect I will change the flowers and other details as I go, and maybe add a few more. 2. I got three pieces of different neutral-color wool that I know will make a good swirly background for a primitive style rug, and want to use them! 3. You can never have enough kitty rugs. 4. As I finish one rug, I start getting nervous about what my next project will be, and the need to know what will be “next” starts pressing on me. Now that I have this to go onto, I can finish the border of my hit or miss in peace!

Hook on, whatever you are working on!

Antique rug photos are courtesy of the auction houses, both of which can be found online. Jeffrey S. Evans Auctioneer is online at www.jeffreysevans.com, and Thomaston Place Auction Gallery is at www.thomastonauction.com.

Let’s talk about hit or miss rugs…

By | Color, Contemporary rugmakers, Design, Making rugs | 10 Comments

Quite a few people ask me a lot of questions about doing hit or miss rugs, so I thought I would take a few minutes to talk about making them. I love doing hit or miss from time to time – watching odd color combinations of wool find their way together into a whole. I am always surprised when I meet an experienced rughooker who has never done a hit or miss!

And of course, “hit or miss” can mean doing just a section of hit or miss – just a border, just an internal element – or you can do a large hit or miss. Above, you can see “Jane’s Remains“, by Jane Ploof of South Starksboro, VT. I loved seeing this one, because it is a hit or miss boiled down to the essentials – just running rows of color, with a simple border!

In this next rug (of mine), I combined hit or miss circles in various sizes on a plain hit or miss background, with a vine-and-leaf border element, also in hit or miss:

One of the beauties of doing a hit or miss is that you can start with the simplest design – the varied colors will supply the fascination. For this rug, I used three sizes of circles – using a coffee can, drinking glass, and small bowl to trace – and just scattered them inside a rectangle. If you are an “unsure” designer, just trace the circles (or other elements – stars, etc.) on newspaper and cut them out, then move the newsprint circles around on your backing until you like the placement.

First hint:
Look at your worms (cut wool). If like me (and 90% of my rugs are hooked with a #6 cut), you have a lot of wool cut in the same size (whether it is a #6 or #8 etc.) you have a pretty good shot at doing long rows of random wool and having the rows stay straight. But even with good cutters, there are always some pieces slightly wider or narrower. And some thin wools hook up narrower than really fat, plushy pieces. So in the defined area you are hooking in straight rows, make guidelines every so often, to keep your lines reasonably true.

Second hint:
Using hit or miss inside smaller units is a good way to begin. Find a basic geometric pattern or a quilt pattern with repeating blocks, and just use hit or miss for some blocks, and maybe do something else (flowers etc.) in other blocks. When you are doing hit or miss in a smaller area, whether in straight lines, circles, or swirls, you can use worms of different cuts much more easily – one leaf, block or circle can have thick and thin pieces mixed together quite easily.

And by “hit or miss”, we mean using random colors, right? No. C’mon, I can’t believe that anybody, ever, really just stuck their hand in a basket of worms and hooked, in order, whatever came out. You are not going to have your cut wool stored evenly distributed by color, anyhow. You finish a rug, and all the odds and ends left over get tossed in the basket, with a clump of blues, or a handful of reds landing together. So let’s forget the word “random” and think of hit or miss as using a mixed variety of the cut wool that is at hand.

Unless you are going for a special effect, you want to aim for a balance of your colors as you hook, and yet you don’t want to dither over picking each piece of wool, either. Seeing the unexpected color combos is the biggest delight of working on a hit or miss! Here is what I do:

Third (and most important) hint:
Remember, like a mantra: dark, light, dull, bright. Dark, Light, Dull, Bright. Think of it as you choose colors. You don’t have to really pick one dark, then one light, but you want to think about the few colors you just hooked in, and see if one of those elements is missing and needs to be added. Most people tend to leave out the “dull”, especially when you have a big basket of lovely bright solid colors. “Dull” does not just mean your neutral tans or grays, but just a dull version of any color. The hit or miss needs dull, just as much as it needs those really bright colors to be a bit separated from each other, and the mediums and lights to be set off with the real dark pieces. Dark, light, dull, bright.

And to that mantra, I would also add “texture”. Make sure you use worms of plaids or multi-color checks or tweeds. You don’t want all solid colors, and the plaids or textures give hints of several colors in one worm, and really add depth and breathing space to the many solids you are bound to have.

Here is a hit or miss rug that I did, in a very basic blocky pattern I just drew out – but I added a few blocks of all-one-color hit or miss. There is one block where I used just blues, one of just various reds, another using all greens. So this is one of the “special effects” you can use, and still have basically a hit or miss rug. Note how I added in zigzags and arches, and had the lines of the hit or miss going horizontal here, and vertical there:

Here is a close-up of the “purples” block in the same rug:

Maybe “all one color hit or miss” is stretching the concept of hit or miss a little but hey, it’s my rug, I can do what I want, right?

And even for the zigzags and arches, I made sure I drew guidelines every few inches to keep the shapes true.

Finally, because you are using the worms “at hand”, remember the origin of hit or miss – these are the rugs to use up what you have. So if you get 2/3 of the way across the area (block, etc.) you are hooking, and you want all your rows to go across the entire block, and that yellow piece of wool is not long enough, just find a more-or-less similar piece of yellow to finish the row. It works! If you are doing longer, running rows of color, like Jane used in her rug, you just switch to another color.

What you do really need for a hit or miss is a basket (or three) of wool worms. There is just no getting around that! Relax and have fun!

Hooked Angels

By | Contemporary rugmakers, Design | 2 Comments

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Well, the other day I mentioned I had not seen many hooked rugs featuring angels. Happily, I added “maybe I have missed them”, because once I started searching around for angel designs, I found a lot of them! Above, you can see the charming angel rug hooked by blogreader Sylvia Doiron, of Barnstable, Mass.

Sylvia kindly sent me this photo in response to my angel blog post, and added that she’d be glad to share it. “It’s a DiFranza Design pattern. Angela Foote was my teacher. Best wishes to you all for the holidays.” Thanks, Sylvia, for showing it to us – it is great!

And of course, angel rugs don’t have to be just about Christmas. Here is a lovely “Welcome Angel”, designed by Kris Miller of Spruce Ridge Studios, and hooked by her student Sandy Denarski:

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Kris wrote, “It was especially designed for a workshop in New Jersey that Sandy and her group hosted. They all hooked the same angel pattern and learned several different rug hooking techniques during the workshop. Each and every angel came out different and it was a delight to see how everyone did their own interpretation.”

I can see how each person hooking this design could really make it their own. It also seems likely that many people could start with the idea of an angel and draw out their own design – it would be your angel, your way. And if you look through the history of art, angels definitely are portrayed in all shapes and sizes.

The two angel rugs we’ve seen so far have been in the primitive tradition, but here is one from Sunnie Andress, of Old Crow Farm, in Vancouver, WA, in medieval style:

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Beautiful! Sunnie kindly shared the story behind this lovely rug of hers. She said,
“It is my adaptation of part of a small drawing from this (medieval) time period.
When my husband was having surgery for a malignant brain tumor, I took this rug to the hospital and worked on it in the hours of waiting. I found that other people waiting for word of their loved ones in surgery seemed to enjoy this design and the quiet, repetitive act of hooking. I know it helped me.
The surgery gave Joe an extra year of life and we appreciated that so much.”

Who would deny the power of angels?

And one last example of angels’ presence in hooked rugs comes from Angela Jones, of Breezy Ridge Rugs, in Raywick, Kentucky. It is called “Rughooking Angel”:

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Angela worked in a hook, punch needle, scissors, even a wool cutter, a sheep, and the creating hooker’s hands! It looks like a fun rug to hook, doesn’t it?

Sylvia’s angel pattern from DiFranza Designs is available at www.difranzadesigns.com, and Kris Miller’s Welcome Angel is available at www.spruceridgestudios.com. Sunnie’s designs are available online at www.oldcrowfarmhooked-rugs.com, and Angela’s pattern of the rughooker’s angel, along with several other angel patterns, is available at www.breezyridgerugs.com.

All these patterns are copyrighted works of the designer’s art, and used here with the designer’s or hooker’s kind permission. So if you feel the need of a special angel in your life, as we head into this new year of 2017, you have the power to make it happen! Happy New Year!

The fascination is in the details…

By | Color, Contemporary rugmakers, Design | 5 Comments

img_3118 Anne Cox

As I walked around the Green Mountain Guild’s rug exhibit, it was pretty easy to find interest in every rug on display. There were so many rugs that I would look at for a while, and one detail would really fascinate me. Here: the brightly colored flower rug, with that black-and-white inner border that made the whole thing sing. There: a landscape that had one white row of loops outlining the mountaintops, which added so much depth! And there were many rugs that had numerous small details to notice and ponder, throughout the hooked piece. They fell, for me, into the category of “the more you looked, the more you saw” rugs.

Above is one of them, by Anne Cox, of Tenants Harbor, Maine. It’s called “Heating With Wood”. Anne wrote that her inspiration for this design of hers was her wood pile. Once you look at the whole thing, notice the four trees in the corners. Look at how she portrayed the sun, surrounding the wood and trees, in her outer border.

And of course you will see the stacked wood in the center, and the fires it warms us with.

I was fascinated by the layers of internal borders Anne used, and the non-symmetrical lines they form. What do the blue lines symbolize? I don’t know, but they certainly add to the fascination of seeing and contemplating this rug.

Here is another rug by Anne, called “Coriolus”:

img_3120 Anne Cox

The center of the rug, Anne wrote, is a coriolus fungus on an old birch stump, and lichens grow toward the edges. Look at the way she surrounded the fungus in the center, with layers of border-like frames. Just take a minute to look at the details here… and her color palette:

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With all its non-symmetrical elements, I would say this design is completely in balance. What a gift, to do that and have it look so effortless! It’s a beautiful rug interpreting the designs in nature.

And I am pleased to say that this rug, “Coriolus” was one of the ten Viewers’ Choice winners! For a look at all the Viewers’ Choice award winners, go to gmrhg.org in a few days – I’m sure they will be posted soon. In the meantime, congratulations to Anne Cox, Dana Psoinas, Emmy Robertson, Liz Guth, Barbie Beck-Wilczek, Sandra Grant, Nancy Thun, Reggie Price… and for that matter, all the rughookers who entered their rugs in the exhibit.

Thanks so much to Anne Cox for permission to share these rugs with you. These are her designs, and copyrighted… so to protect her creativity, please don’t pin, post, copy or paste them without the artist’s permission.

Hooked In The Mountains

By | Contemporary rugmakers, Creativity, Design | No Comments

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I spent all day yesterday at the Green Mountain Rughooking Guild’s rug show, and happily I had enough time to go through the whole show several times. What a great experience!

I am a bit overwhelmed trying to think of how to write about it. There were many large rugs that were drop-dead gorgeous, and many more rugs that were maybe smaller and more subtle, but very beautiful indeed. And there were so many rugs from people who were exploring in new directions, experimenting, and just letting their creativity loose.

Here are three such rugs. First, look at this rug, “Paradise” by Kris McDermet, of Dummerston, VT. She encorporated both braiding and hooking, with free-form shapes, and used a silk quilted background embellished with bead. Wow:

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And here is a rug from Grace Collette, of Chester, NH. It is called “Nouveau”, and Grace writes that she was trying to stretch her creativity by using many stitches and materials, while limiting her color palette:

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And here is a close-up of one corner, showing Grace’s lovely use of the sculpted Waldoboro technique:
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And for today, one more piece that I thought was really touching. Kathy O’Donnell, of North Hero, VT, made two of these hooked pieces after her mother died – one for each of her daughters – using some of her mother’s jewelry to create these momentos:

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One of the wonderful things about the show is that each day, there are several Artist’s Talks. What a direct way to learn more about the creative process, and the personal stories behind some of the rugs! I was lucky enough to be there for an Artist’s Talk by Liz Alpert Fay, one of this year’s featured artists. No rugs are made in a vacuum, and it was fascinating to hear Liz speak about her different rugs, and how events in her life has influenced and changed her goals for each of her rugs, and her approach to making them.

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Rug exhibits, big or small, don’t happen by themselves, and the GMRHG Board and many, many volunteers are the people who made this inspiring event happen. From checking rugs in, tracking them, hanging them (so beautifully), creating labels, scheduling artists’s talks and demonstrations, to setting up the lighting, and so much more… it was a lot of work, and it was very, very well done. Congratulations to everyone at GMRHG!

Thanks to the artists whose rugs are pictured. Their designs are their own and so protected, and used here with permission.