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.
I received notice that the Fiber Arts/Mixed Media website just posted a review of my new book Prepared to Dye . If you would like to read that review, it can be seen at
Unfortunately, I discovered Snake Dyeing too late to put it into the new book, Prepared to Dye. While the manuscript was not exactly carved in stone one year ago today, all the chapters were in place and I was busy with additional research, documentation, shooting and writing. In fact, I knew even then that I had way too much material for a book. So, I was not looking for things to add – I needed to find things that I could cut. In all likely hood, had I known about snake dyeing one year ago, it still would not have made it into the finished version of the book.
That is a pity because snake dyeing produces one of the most unique hand dyed products a fiber artist will ever find. Given the delicate intricacies of this technique, many people are surprised to learn that MOST dye recipes can be adapted for this special effect wool.
TODAY ON THE INTERNET RUG CAMP Gene gives detailed steps on how to make “snake dyed” wool. If you would like to become a member of the Internet Rug Camp, become a subscriber at www.internetrugcamp.com/
What’s true for new cars is also true for new books – you can hardly own one any time before the door gets dinged. In this case, the “ding” is a typo in Prepared to Dye.
It goes without saying that we work really hard not to have any typos. Deb Smith and her entire editorial staff went through the manuscript several times. So did I. It was not enough.
In one section of the book I gave my top 20 favorite colors of Pro Chem Dyes. These are the dyes that I think no fiber artist can live without. i.e. If there is a fire in your studio, forget the pictures and grab these 20 dye colors. (This list, of course, is immediately followed with an additional 10 colors that should be smuggled in somewhere because a total of 30 really seems like a much more round number.) Unfortunately, that section in the books contains something not nearly so simple as a misspelled word – It’s got a completely wrong number.
The color in question is Pro Chem Brilliant Blue. While we spelled Brilliant Blue right we got the number wrong. I will even take full blame as my original manuscript also has the number wrong … although I distinctly remember getting out my PC notebook and checking all the numbers before submitting the manuscript. Actually … now that I think about it, I do have all the right numbers – they just came out in the wrong order!
Brilliant Blue is #490 … and the printed text (the typo) gives it as #409. Fortunately, at least in my Pro Chem notebook, there isn’t even a PC #409 so the two people who have spotted the error and reported back to me have not had trouble getting the right dye – the dye I intended for everyone to get.
All I can do at this point is say Thank You to those who caught the mistake, offer my apologies for making it and take some well deserved lashes on my back. Should you be a book owner, you might want to go to page 23 and turn PC#409 into PC #490.
During the last couple of days, I have spent my time working on several different projects. Part of that is by necessity – while wool cooks on the stove I do something else in the studio, etc. The other part of the different projects theme is due to the fact that I always seem to be juggling more than one rug hooking ball at the same time. Right now I have several in the air.
Because it is the beginning of a new month, I am busy dyeing and mailing the newest installment of the Wool of the Month Club. While it seems impossible that we are now at month #10 of that program, I am very much aware that we are through the first 9 related rainbow of colors and into the first of 3 batches of my favorites.
So, batch one of that grouping will start with my favorite leaf wools. When I can get it (and I usually can since I dye whatever I want) I always build my leaves on at least one dip dye, a texture and a couple of good marbleized pieces. The 4 pieces shown here are my favorite colors to use. (Big Momma and Pomegrande both used lots of these colors.) To them I often add other bits of wool as well, depending on the particular leaf being hooked. However, these are my old standbys. That said, I was horrified to find out last week that one of the Dorr colors used to make this marbleized twist (Seafoam) is no longer offered! Had I known it was going out of their catalog, I would have stocked up. Fortunately, I have just enough on hand to make up what I need for club members. However, what will I do down the road?
TODAY ON THE INTERNET RUG CAMP
Gene shows some new projects, some new proddy frames, discusses new videos and shows more wool that he has just dyed. If you would like to become a member of Gene’s IRgCamp, go to www.internetrugcamp.com/ to subscribe.