I followed up with the process I go through, using several of those spools of thread, to warp a loom for the weaving of cloth. Besides building an increased appreciation for the worth of fabric, such a discussion also gives kids a better understanding of rug hooking terms like ditches and holes.
This leads me to believe that one of our jobs, as fiber artists, is to just exspose kids to as many rich artistic experiences as we can. While they may percolate a month or a decade, if put “in” I know that someday they are bound to come “out” in a wonderful way.
Siince so much of the country is gripped by bleak winter weather, I thought it might be nice to put up a few colorful pictures of pieces I have hooked or wool I have dyed.
Hopefully, they will brighten your day.
Before I can get into full holiday mode, I have to finish up a few new design options so they will be ready for Buddy to put in the store by the first of the year. This report is not a list of the things I offer in the store – it is just a tip-off of some new things that will be in the store this January. If you and I have a rendezvous in a class sometime in 2014, you will want to consider these designs along with the other ones I have in the store. Even if you and I aren’t going to be in the same room during the coming year, you can still order most of these things.
Although you may have seen me working on this particular pattern at various times for the past year, I have not made it available to the general public until now. Lots of times, if developing something for a specific workshop or event, I delay that pattern’s entry into my cataloge for a while, to keep the project special until an event is over. This 16″ design is such a pattern. If it looks a little familiar, that is because all the elements in it come from my big, 3′ by 5′ rug design “Miss Weigle.” As Miss Weigle’s first name was Betty, I call this smaller version the “Miss Betty 16 Inch Square” to keep it seperate from the original rug. It will cost $50 and can come like this or in an elongated version (16 by 43 for $115) with more geometric squares, all divided with the Greek Key window shash borders. While the longer version has several different elements from the original rug in the additional squares, I can also leave one or more of the squares blank in case a person would like to personalize the design with a geometric of their own. Actually, I think that is a good assignment when people are doing this project in a class. Additionally, Miss Betty can be increased incrementally in length with more squares and key sections. I can also make it wider by adding a 3″ to 6″ border all around, etc. I typically would not offer all those options in the store but do such things for students in camps and workshops. All you have to do is ask.
“Miss Weigle” is the most popular design I have ever made … and it is the bain of my existence because it is such a bear to draw. In fact, I only offer the full sized rug to people who take me as their teacher in a class or special workshop. I love it … but my back does not. However, by limiting it to special situations I can pace myself and stay up with that demand.
Carnival Paws was designed as a 11” X14” nylon project for the Long Beach Biennial and I kept it under wraps until then. While I don’t regularly offer hand dyed nylons in the store, I can provide pattern and nylon kit for $95. Many people, however, just hook the pattern with wool. I also offer a floor rug size version of this pattern, 26″ by 35.5″ for $85 for those who want to hook it as a normal rug with wool.
You may remeber that I played around a lot with chevron designs in 2013. Frankly, I still have not got them completely out of my system.
This particular project, “Bold Chevron,” is a 13″ by 23″ traditional proddy rug that I custom made for my loom bench cover. In my version made with selvedges, I worked really hard to blend a huge variety of colors to create the gradation of related values in each chevron. Like many of my other favorite pieces, this piece is all about being creative with color. Although the approach I used to prod it is not a very easy thing to do, I must admit that I had such a great time doing this design in proddy, I will soon be putting options of a bigger version, with 3 chevron repeats insted of just two (24″ by 40″ – $90), for those who want to do a simple traditional proddy design for their floor. While I like my version, there are a variety of additional ways that one could approach this design that are much more simple than the way I did it.
When it was all said and done, however, I actually liked the back of my prodded rug better than I liked the shaggy top. The back of a proddy rug looks a lot like a very wide cut hooked rug … and this one just keeps coming back to my thoughts as an inspiration for a new rug that needs to be hooked. However, to recreate this look in a hooked version, it will take really special wool to get all those spots of mixed colors in a great gradation that will simplify the hooking process.
So, I have been playing around with varous techniques to come up with wool that I think would hook up looking very much like the back of my proddy rug. I make it in both single value spotted strips and graded value strips. Each 1/8 yard strip will do one section of a chevron. So, for a double sided chevron shaped like this – V – it would take two 1/8 yard pieces. That means each row of chevrons – VV – would take 4 strips. This sort of wool is a special order based on my consultation with students who want to do it in a class or in their home. While I don’t talk about it much, I will happily consult with anyone who wants to buy a pattern and produce the right sort of wool that comes in the colors they like. In other words, you don’t have to limit yourself to the limited wool I have in the store. However, IF dyeing specialty wool for you, I will need something concrete (like a fabric or wall paper swatch) to go by. You can’t just say: ”I like red.” There are too many reds from which to choose. That’s why I need an example.
Back to that chevron design –
When I finally hook my new chevron rug, I want a design that is a little bit differnt than just a simple repetative chevron pattern like the loom bench cover.
Therefore, I just finished this new pattern, 26″ by 50.” It will cost $110 and be available in the store early in January. The pattern, at this time, is nameless. Even so, it is calling out to me in the worst way. Surely, before the New Year, it will reveal to me what to call it! I am going to get right to it as soon as the Problem Persian and Pomegrande are all done … unless I need to hook just a section as an example …
For a complete list of patterns, go to my store at www.geneshepherd.com All patterns are priced for bleached primitive linen. I can also draw patterns on wide cut friendly cotton rug warp.
PS: There are 3 versions of Big Momma listed and priced in the store but only one that is shown – the big version. The medium one has a 3 flower center but less “other” stuff than the big one.
Here is the narrow table runner – a nice alternative for people who want to do a quick wide cut.
** There is a new video on the IRgC today: Parallel Spot Dyeing. If you would like to be a member of the Internet Rug Camp go to www.internetrugcamp.com/
On Tuesday, I went to school to make a presentation on traditional rug hooking to the 1st grade class my niece teaches in Bloomington, Illinois. As you can see, this is a very fine class of promising artists!
When teaching children, I always highlight the fact that traditional rug hooking was a very early form of recycling. That gets their attention because recycling is a word and concept that they understand very well and they were very happy to learn about a new way to do it.
Since the class room screen was hooked up to the internet, we also watched my basic rug hooking “YouTube” video which is accessible on both my web page and You Tube. Again, children like watching something that is filmed and shown on a TV screen.
Of course, I gave additional pointers.
I also had several fine examples of hooked rugs lined up on my computer screen. The children enjoyed looking at all sorts of realistic and primitive animals, which included a few hooked parakeets as well as many of my friends special pets.
We also looked at several portrait rugs that I thought would interest them. This particular shot is of Sarah & Phil P. standing in front of the hooked portrait that Sarah made! They made the connection immediately and thought it was pretty special for a person to hook a picture of themselves.
During my show and tell time, everyone got to come over in small groups to get up close and personal with rug hooking.
After all, it does look different when you get close enough to look at what is going on top or on the bottom.
We also spent time picking out our favorite colors.
While I was working with each small group, the teacher supervised close inspection of “Wm. Pickering Oak.”
Believe it or not, for most of the them, it was the first time to see a rug hook.
Hopefully, it will be an encounter they remember for a long time.
The teacher even learned a little about hooking before the session was over.
For the last part of the presentation, my niece allowed me to give every student a pattern print out of the rug being shown. Yes, they wanted it “signed” by the designer.
This allowed each budding artists the opportunity of experimenting with how they would add color to the design.
They worked really hard.
Some even came over for an artistic consult.
I think you will agree with me that they all show a real knack for color.
Here are several of them and their projects.
As you can see, they were quick learners.
Since I had to hang out in Hannibal MO for a few days, I decided I might as well pick a nice place to hang out.
Just on a whim, since my decision to go to Hannibal was list minuet, I contacted Garth Woodside Manor to see if they had any available rooms. Much to my surprise, they had a couple of cancellations. When I found out they had high speed internet access and that I could bring my rug hooking, I booked three nights.
Built in the 1870s, as a summer residence for a friend of Mark Twain, Garth Mansion is a fantastic painted lady full of original furnishings. People staying at the mansion have the run of all 3 floors.
This was good news as I always get up fairly early and go to a place where I won’t disturb anyone that is still sleeping. The light colored chair in this front parlor was my early morning “tea” spot. By 6 AM each day I was sitting there drinking tea and waiting for the sun to rise.
Even when the sun wasn’t up yet, that vantage point provided a lot to look at.
I liked the room so much that I usually came back each evening to this parlor to do my internet “blog” work. If one is going to blog, one might as well blog in style.
During the day, however, I moved to this room to do my rug hooking because the light was better.
It is a pity that I don’t play the piano better because I could have also spent time in the music room doing that. Actually, the only song I can really play on the piano is “On the Banks of the Wabash.” Since I was near the Mississippi River, not the Wabash, it just did not seem like the right sort of song to play, so I stayed away completely.
We did not eat in the dinning room except for one thing
Our Inn Keeper kept freshly baked cookies on the side board 24/7 and I took some regularly just to make them feel good about their cooking skills.
FYI: All the food was great.
The only problem with our sleeping accommodations was the fact that we were not on the 1st floor.
We weren’t on the second floor either.
While an elegant stairwell to look at, it was a bit of a chore to navigate. But, as Marsha said, “They did have a lot of padding under the carpet so it made it much easier to get to bounce up to our third floor bedroom.”
We decided, since it was just for 3 nights and days, that it was worth it. (You can go to www.garthmansion.com to see all the elegant rooms available.)
However, it was a long way up and a long way down. Since we only tried to do it once in the morning and once in the evening, it made us get very organized.
Truth be told, we did not spend that much time in our room as Garth Mansion had one lovely spot after another to enjoy.
From a fiber arts perspective, I will note that the estate also had several black walnut trees – all with piles of walnuts on the ground going to waste. Since black walnuts are an excellent source of natural dye for wool, it made me contemplate several ways that I could get some of these nuts home for an IRgC dye experiment. I was not successful, however, coming up with a solution. Maybe Garth should be a fall Hook-In destination spot next year and we all bring a couple of extra carry ons?
They even had llamas … and no use for llama fleece!
It may not come as too much surprise to learn that Mark Twain, when he came back to Hannibal for visits, chose NOT to stay in his childhood home. Instead, he went to Garth Mansion to stay with Mr. Garth, his childhood friend. I think that was a good call.
When not at the mansion, I literally hung out at my old favorite spots, just savoring the majestic scenes available to those who trek to Hannibal. FYI: Lover’s Leap is the very best vantage point from which to watch fireworks on the 4th of July. As I look at this shot, I think it might also be a pretty good model for a hooked pictorial.
As promised, we are taking a little surprise road trip today and tomorrow.
We’ll go down the mighty Mississippi River, stopping at my favorite spot – Hannibal, Missouri. It is hard to find a more quintessential American town than Hannibal.
Perhaps, that is why hometown boy, Samuel Clemmens (Mark Twain) used it as the setting for his most popular book, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Although Mark Twain has been gone for well over a hundred years, Tom Sawyer, Huck Finn, Becky Thatcher, Aunt Polly and all the characters of that book (including the mighty Mississippi) seem to be everywhere.
In fact, I had not been at the annual Folk Art Festival more than 5 minuets when I ran into Becky and Tom.
Truth be told, I ran into Becky twice!
It was a perfectly beautiful fall day.
There were visual fall icons everywhere one looked. Of course, since I write a blog about fiber art, you won’t be surprised to learn that I was particularly on the look out for fiber art at the Folk Art Festival.
Since I first learned to weave rag rugs when I lived in Hannibal, I was especially happy to run into some rag rug weavers. (Hannibal was the site of my first ministry, 1973-1975. The church had a group of quilters and weavers who were most happy to teach me how to weave.)
Actually, I ran into several rug weavers.
There were also shawl weavers
And chair weavers.
There was even one spinner
Plus lots of beautiful wool that she had spun.
Much to my surprise, I also encountered a speed sock knitter.
Using this vintage 1904 hand cranked sock knitting machine, she can turn out a pair of child’s knitted stockings in just a few minuets. (You can watch her make one on You Tube – search for “Hilly + sock knitting machine”)
This would be the only way I think I could ever knit a sock. (I say that fairly confidently knowing I will never find that wonderful vintage machine.)
There were a few knitters who did it the old fashioned way. This was a cob web felted scarf.
Mid morning at the art fair, the strangest thing happened. The wail of bag pipes created quite a sensation, also causing the crowds to part.
A piper came through leading a large parade of children. Being aware of that other classic book, The Pied Piper of Hamelin, and being very close to a river I might add, I was rather alarmed by this turn of events.
My fears were quickly put to rest as the children started marching by and it became obvious that the parade had been staged by the Arts Council.
Of special interest to me was the large multi-fiber banner that the children had made for the event. In talking with a member of the Art’s Council, I learned that the children had spent two Saturday’s getting everything ready for the Folk Art Festival.
Most of them had also used various kinds of fiber to make their own festive banners to wave during the parade.
Coupled with American Flags (also waved) they made quite a spectacle as they stopped at various intervals along the parade route to sing patriotic songs to the attendees. Talk about a Norman Rockwell moment! I told you Hannibal was the quintessential American town. (If you think this was red, white and blue, you ought to come to Hannibal on the 4th of July! There is no better place to be on the 4th.)
Everywhere I looked, I found classic examples of fiber art.
And I do mean everywhere.
Of course, fiber was just the tip of the festival’s art iceberg. This young man told me he cut the holes in these lovely bird houses.
Although I have gone to many art fairs, I had never seen a stone carver up close and personal.
It was a real treat to watch him work.
Although I have seen black smiths before … it had been a very long time since I got to watch one up close and personal.
You name it
They had it at the Folk Art Festival.
While this shot proves that the ladies from the 1st Christian Church were there selling hot roasted peanuts, I could show similar shots of churches and special groups selling turkey legs, bratwursts, burgers, kettle corn, pie, cookies, cake, carmel apples, baked bread … and the list goes on and on. So many stands … such a little stomach.
The 2013 Folk Art Festival had it all!
Registration for Cambria Pines Rug Camp 2014 goes live, October 5, at 6 AM Pacific time. Use the Cambria button at www.geneshepherd.com for n line registration for next summer’s camp, June 1-6, 2014. Although Cambria is an “open camp” where any student can work on any project they want with their teacher, each teacher on the roster has their own set of strengths. Use this post and accompanying rug show to help you decide who you would like to take next June at Cambria Pines Rug Camp. I will pick back up with the Biennial rug exhibition on Monday. Hope to see you at Cambria Pines Rug Camp, 2014.
Donna Hrkman is an artist and writer who has been a creative spirit as far back as she can remember, when her second grade art teacher told her mother, “This child has talent.”
Donna studied art in high school and earned an Associate in Arts and a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in drawing and painting from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.
After getting married, she worked at a frame shop where she met fellow artisan Alice Strebel of Kindred Spirits.
Donna began illustrating their craft catalogues and books and then began designing her own line of primitive stencils, Blue Ribbon Stencils, which she ran for ten years.
During that time, she was approached by the owner of The Daisy Kingdom Fabric Company and was a freelance fabric designer with the company for six years, featuring her original stenciled designs for clothing and home decor.
Then she got hooked on rugs. Since 2004, Donna has published nine articles in Rug Hooking Magazine, has had six rugs selected as Finalists for Celebrations, has won an Honorable mention at Sauder Village Rug Hooking Week for The Congo Rug (2005) and People’s Choice awards at Sauder for her Veteran’s Day (2010) and Indian Boy (2011) rugs, as well as a People’s Choice award for the Indian Boy rug at the Green Mountain Show in Shelburne,Vermont (2011).
Most recently, she had People’s Choice awards given to her Alzheimers rug and her Olympic Spirit rug, 2012 at the Sauder Village Rug Hooking show, and a People’s Choice award for the Alzheimers rug at the Green Mountain show in Nov, 2012.Donna also published her first book, Rug Hookers Companion, in Oct 2012, a handbook for rug hookers.
She hopes to write more rug hooking books in the future. Donna has been busy teaching a variety of workshops at guilds across the country, including the Manistee Rug School, Sauder Village, and Green Mountain Show at Shelburne, VT.
She also creates hooked rugs by commission. Donna’s love for rug hooking goes far beyond making rugs for herself. She firmly believes that when you have a gift, you must share it with others. And that’s what she loves to do.
Monika uses wide cuts to interpret her many designs in a broad range of genres.
Of course, she not only makes good designs –
She also hooks them with style and panache. Students who wish to experience the intricacies that can be achieved with a wide cut brush will enjoy her class.
Since Cambria is an open camp, students in any class can bring any pattern that they wish to work on during the week. That said, if students want to work with Monika on one of her designs, they will have plenty of options from which to pick.
Isn’t this chicken quite intriguing?
All of Monika’s designs can be see on her site http://www.folkartlanding.com
Michele Micarelli is a certified rug hooking teacher whose main objective is to unleash creativity.
The classes she teaches are full of storytelling, imagination exercises, and laughter. She has been a rug hooker since 1991 and prefers using 4 and 5 cut wool and linen for lots of detail.
She started rug hooking because of her childhood memories of rugs her Father hooked. Her other loves are her family, the making of Sailor’s Valentines (seashell art), beading, doll making, painting, collecting, steampunk art, and gardening. She is proud to have served on the A.T.H.A. Region 1 board of directors for ten years. She is past President of the Northern McGown Teacher’s Workshop. She served as a judge for 15 years of Craft’s Adventure in New England and is proud to have had her rugs appear in several editions of The Celebration of Rug Hooking and has also been a judge there in the past.
Her rugs appear in books by Linda Coughlin, Jessie Turbayne, Mary Sheppherd Burton and Amy Oxford. She has been in several issues of Rug Hooking Magazine with articles that featured her dying skills and rugs made with imagination.
Michele has taught workshops at Asilomar, Shelburne Museum, The Highlands Rug School, The ATHA Region 1 Rug School, The Burlington Ontario Rug School, Cambria, Caraway, The Star of Texas, Little River School, The Green Mountain Guild School and The Buckeye group among many others.
In addition Michele teaches at her studio and frequently hosts “big fun dye days”. She also has guest teachers visit for workshops in her beautiful pool house.
She was honored by The Green Mountain Guild in the “Strong Woman” show and has received the “Silver Hook Award” from the Newtown Historical Society Rug Show for her devotion to promoting fiber arts.
Laura is a fourth generation rug hooker, growing up with rugs made by her mother, Emma Webber, a rug made by her Grandmother, and the hook used by her Grand Aunt Em. Laura has a broad appreciation for the Art and Folk Art of Rug Hooking.
Her rug style and preference is ‘Contemporary Wide-Cut’, but she dabbles in various styles as they pique her interest!
Six of her rugs have been selected for Rug Hooking Magazine’s Celebration of Hooked Rugs; ‘Emmy’, the little girl blowing bubbles is her most famous.
Primarily a ‘Wide-Cut’ Rug Artist, Laura shares her vision and loop pulling techniques with her students. Laura works with each student before class to create a foundation for success!
She offers patterns from your photograph for part or all of your project. The pattern based on your photograph can be hooked in an ‘Impressionistic’ or ‘Folk Art’ style.
On the other hand, Laura has a catalog of patterns or can help you personalize a pattern already purchased. Laura’s classes include subjects such as; ‘Rug Design’, ‘PA Dutch’, ‘Glass & Reflection’, ‘Landscapes’, ‘Portraits’ and ‘Special Stitches’.
Teaching since 2003, Laura offers Rug Hooking instruction at her studio in Sonoma County, at rug camps around the country and at workshops anywhere. Her background in drafting, photography and painting is the backbone of her expertise.
Laura is grateful for the training and instruction she has received from the Rug hooking community, various Rug Hooking Teachers and Western Teachers’ Workshop in Eugene, OR.
Her own teaching style is generous and collaborative; she will share her understanding of color, value and design to help you achieve the look you want.
Gene Shepherd is Director of Cambria Pines Rug Camp, as well as Director of the on-line Internet Rug Camp, a subscription site where Gene posts teaching blogs and instructional videos about all aspects of rug hooking.
Primarily a “self taught” fiber artist who, as he says hooks by ear, Gene prefers working with fancy wide cut projects (#7-#12) traditional proddy and realistic shaped proddy. Regardless of the cut being used, Gene can find ways to help his students improve and hone their hooking technique.
Additionally, he likes to dye specialty wool that will allow his students to achieve the special effects they want. He regularly teaches private and group classes in Anaheim, CA. Recently retired from 40 years of professional ministry, he now spends more time traveling throughout the US for workshops, camps and as a special speaker for hooking events. (Gene has also been known to officiate at weddings at Cambria should you be interested in going to rug camp on your honeymoon.) He has also rug hooking in Russia, England, Canada and Australia.
A member of ATHA, Gene has taught at several Biennials and, this year, served as Co-Director of the 2013 ATHA Biennial in Long Beach CA.
His hooked rugs have been featured several times in Rug Hooking Magazine, the ATHA Magazine and several books.
Four of his works have been chosen to appear in A Celebration of Hand Hooked Rugs: Fog, in 2002, Russian Birch, in 2004 and Miss Weigle, in 2005 and Big Momma, in 2009. Russian Birch was also chosen as a Reader’s Choice finalist.
Although most of Gene’s work is based on his original designs, he has re-created two rugs for the US Park Service. Working with black and white archival photos he designed and hooked two rugs that had been lost from FDR’s Top Cottage at Hyde Park, New York. These rugs went on display at Hyde Park in 2004.
He is a frequent contributor to Rug Hooking Magazine. His published works include The Rug Hooker’s Bible, Prodded Hooking for a Three Dimenstional Effect, Prepared to Dye, the Rug Hooking at Home Series, Vol 1&2, Dyeing With Gene Shepherd (3 Vol.s) and nearly 90 professionally produced instructional DVD’s on various topics associated with the making of traditional hand hooked rugs.
Because Gene is also Director of CPRC, he limits his class size to only 10 students.
Diane Stoffel is always a popular teacher at Cambria Pines Rug Camp.
She is certified to teach in all areas, including traditional fine shading. However, her expertise level also extends to non-traditional subjects. She is comfortable with almost anything!
Diane can color plan any project, as well as provide the wool to go with it.
Her upbeat style and natural teaching ability creates a classroom environment where students can excel.
Just pick a pattern
And let Diane help you bring it to life.
Registration for Cambria Pines Rug Camp 2014 goes “live” Saturday, Oct. 5 at 6 AM, Pacific time. Register on Saturday to make sure you get your spot!
Since Saturday, I have dyed a lot of wool. I did not keep track of the amount (I dyed 20 yards just on Tuesday) but I did, of sorts, keep track of the different colors I used to dye.
At first, the used colors just got left out on the work table after the dye session was over. I know, it is hard to believe that I don’t always end each dye session with a meticulous clean up & put up period but, on occasion I do not and, on Saturday, did not.
On Sunday evening, when I dyed a little more, I also left those dye colors out. Monday and Tuesday saw big marathon dyeing sessions and, by that time, it was sort of fun to see which colors I used and which ones I did not. Some of these colors were used as is and many of the others were components of dye recipes I made. While a very few colors were used more than once, I tried to avoid multiple uses of colors if I could just to see if I could do it. As it was, I used 37 of the 82 Pro Chem colors I have on hand. This was rather interesting to me as it, basically, supports my suggestion in the book that there are about 30 Pro Chem colors that one must have.
TODAY ON THE INTERNET RUG CAMP
Gene discusses all that he did to fill up his wall of wool. If you would like to read Gene’s complete posts, become a member of his Internet Rug Camp at www.internetrugcamp.com/ A 12 month subscription costs just $36.