CONTEMPORARY ART IN A TRADITIONAL MEDIUM
Inspirations, Tools and Materials
Hooking rugs is a meditation for me.The loop by loop swish of the wool as it is pulled by the hook through the holes in the burlap, and the slash of colour that starts to emerge is magic.
My rugs are made of a variety of wools and fabrics. They are my three dimensional pallet of colour and texture. I love the way an acid green can upset a soft brown. Some textures are soft like Marino wool, angora, and silk. Some synthetics offer surprise and sparkle. Many elements play a part in the creation of my rugs.
I have tools that bring me pleasure. I have a Cheticamp frame made of New Brunswick lumber. It has sturdy metal gears to hold the rug taut, and the words Create Beauty carved into the side. I have four different hooks of various shapes and I mostly use an ergonomic one as it is easier on my hands.
When looking for ideas, I often go through my digital files for Inspiration. Photography has been my first art form, so translating my own images into another art medium is a natural progression.
Here is an example of a photograph that I took several years ago and a rug I hooked for a friend on Salt Spring Island. In the photograph, the tulips are gorgeous with sun shining through the translucent peach petals. In the hooked rug, I couldn’t capture the beautiful light, but I could emphasize coloured threads in the tulips. Both the photograph and the rug have their own similar and different realities. They are not copies, but inspirations.
Sometimes, I work from a sketch. In this example of my process, I often sketch a picture on my IPad and then draw it on the burlap. Both sketches are a draft of what the finished piece will be. I then choose some of the fabrics and wools that I will use from my stash of materials. After that I sew my piece onto my Cheticamp frame and begin on a section of the piece.
For my sister Katherine’s 70th birthday, I decided to do a rug based on three images of garlic she and her partner grew on their farm in Caledon, Ontario. Not being able to decide on one image, I decided to make a triptych with one long rectangle of a whole garlic plant and and two squares of closeups of cross sections of a garlic bud. I made a rough, very rough, plan and then transferred that onto a piece of burlap linen. The initial marks on the burlap are silhouettes. My choice of colour and texture of the strips of wool is largely based on intuition and experience. After sewing the burlap onto my Nova Scotia frame, I was ready to hook. The following pictures illustrate the process.