Family pictures from Sauder have been a long time coming. Finally received some photos from my sister that she took, so want to log them here for memory's sake. Here I am outside of the show with my rug and ribbon in hand. By the way, I have taken the piece to a professional framer and am looking forward to picking it up next week. Then Mary M is off to an art exhibit and then up onto my office wall.
I had a wonderful time again at Sauder Village Rug Hooking Exhibition this year. The show was amazing as always with beautiful Celebration Rugs (congratulations to all the winners) and a very special exhibit of American hand sewn rugs that I have never seen before. These rugs predate hooked rugs and show all kinds of fancy piecework and threads. I bought the book that was on display. There was also a special exhibit of hooked portraits of the US presidents by Nola. Wow I still can't believe she created all those presidents in one year. Bought her book too.
When I traveled up to Deanne Fitzpatrick's earlier in the summer, I drew out an oversized portrait (30" by 40") of Mary Magdalene based on an antique German mosaic of unknown date. The mosaic itself features the virgin Mary in blue. But to me, this is the face of Mary Magdalene. So I gave her a red cloak instead. I worked on her a bit in the car (it was a long car ride to and from Texas), but found it difficult going since her features were so big that it was hard for me to see what I was doing until I had a huge area hooked. This meant that I rehooked her face three, if not four times, before I got it the way I wanted it. Once I got home, I went into a rug hooking marathon and worked hours on end to complete her in time for Sauder. The night before I flew out, she was done. I packed her in my suitcase and took off on a jet to Michigan.
Here is a picture of her hanging at Sauder. I thought that she really commanded the room when you walked in to the exhibit, glowing there in her scarlet cloak. I am so honored that she won the People's Choice Award for her category (People, Places and Pictorials). She is the favorite of my rugs and will be stretched on canvas, framed and hung in my office above my desk.
I am beaming with pride. My two boys have finished their rugs, and they are gorgeous.
Wade finished his first rug, inspired by a photo he took of Suzanne Vega at a concert in 2002 that we attended in New York. He started this rug over three years ago, then set it aside because he got busy with life. But he picked up again a few weeks ago. Why? Because he was inspired by Alexander.
What had happened? We had gone to Deanne Fitzpatrick's studio, and then stopped by Heidi Wulfraat's studio on our vacation. Alexander was stunned by the beauty of the rugs that these artists hook with gorgeous wool yarns. When we were in Heidi's studio, he came up to me with two skeins of yarn and asked if he could buy them for his rug hooking. He had an idea that he wanted to try.
When we got home, he took out a rug of an owl he had been working on with cut wool. He went to work and finished it off with some of the yarn he had purchased. But that was not all. He wanted to hook an abstract. So I gave him a big piece of white paper and in about 3 seconds he had drawn a simple Picasso-like face of someone he called the Lady of the Sea. He sat down and went to work with his yarns. And the result is stunning. These yarns have a luminosity that the cut wool does not have. What he has created is outstanding. He calls her Thalassa, the name of the primal goddess of the ocean.
When Wade saw what was happening, he felt impelled to get his rug done. So he worked and worked, and even learned how to bind! His rug is equally compelling, capturing the performance which was cast with red lights that night.
I am prouder than a peacock.
As for my rug, well, I don't know if I am going to get my rug done in time for Sauder Village. But I will give it a good try.
We just got back from a wonderful touring vacation, just driving around visiting family, friends and new places. Along the route, I had the privilege of meeting Deanne Fitzpatrick, visiting her inspiring studio, and teaching a group of talented rug hookers my process for creating stunning mats from snapshots. If you are interested yourself, I have written about this in a step-by-step instructional book available through LuLu self-publishing (refer to the left sidebar of this blog).
One of my students already finished her mat and sent me pictures of the final product to share with you. Very impressive indeed! Susan Tirone hooked this mat from a photo of her son and his friend. It measures only 7" by 7" and was done with #6 cut wool scraps.
Photos are used with written permission of Susan Tirone.
I have been slowly working on another snapshot portrait this week. There is an old photo of my mom that holds many memories for me. So even though the exposure from the film camera wasn't the best, I dug it out of the family album. I scanned it into the computer and got to work.
I did not edit the snapshot very much (I usually do) because the essence of this photo is where my mom is. Her favorite place. Glacier National Park. She was drawn to the natural beauty of the mountains. Here she is awed by the sparkling light on the lake and the freedom that the mountain landscape offers to all those who attend to it.
As I hooked the piece, I was taken back to my childhood, to living on a farm, vacationing in a camper, and enjoying being together with my family. I miss you Mom.
I have been working on writing and illustrating a book on how to make snapshot portraits. It turned out really well. I wrote it as a step-by-step instructional book. It is 68 pages, full color, 59 photos and illustrations. It is professionally bound and available at LuLu.com. See the left side bar for the direct link for ordering it if you are interested.
My experiment with hooking really bitty 5" by 5" snapshots has worked out well. I finished the third portrait in my series The Three of Us. It is of Alexander.
My idea is to take all three and frame them in big black frames. I need to find some kind of decorative door or fence to put up on my mantel. Then I want to hang the three frames on the white door or fence. I have been having a tough time finding a decorative door or fence piece. Any ideas where I might find such a thing?
Something I am learning as a fiber artist. There is a reason why artists work on one subject for years, or one technique. They work up the subject or technique over and over and over again. As I have been working on these snapshot portraits, I have found that the more I do the better the pieces become. There is something about repetition and human learning at play here. There is something about experimentation leading to a new insight that then can be applied to the subject or technique to improve it or alter it.
I also am finding that creating series of mats that "go together" in an arrangement has its own challenges. The Three of Us was no exception. My idea was to hook each portrait with a dominant color that represents the person to me. So Wade is blue, Alexander is yellow, and I am red. These turned out to be the three primary colors, which was kind of neat. The problem came when I hooked Alexander's portrait. I did not realize that because he is a sunny yellow that his portrait would come up lighter than the other two. So the highlights really stood out when I framed it up next to the other two. I had no choice but to take it out of the frame and reduce the yellow highlights. It is still brighter than the other two, but at least it works in the arrangement now.
I guess I am late in the game on this one, but I just discovered that Rug Hooking Magazine now has a blog. It has some neat posts already, and it looks like a place to go to keep informed about all things happening in the rug hooking world. HERE IS THE LINK. They have a notecard giveaway to promote their new blog, which, is called Hooked In. Cute.
I just finished a 5" by 5" headshot of me. This is for the series called "The Three of Us" that I am framing in big black frames. The foundation is left exposed as a mat in the picture. Here is me. It is a shot from last month when we went out to enjoy the bluebonnets in Brenham, Texas. I wore a very pretty white dress with a pearled collar. I think that I was able to get the impression of the pearling in my hooked version of the snapshot.
This is what Wade's picture looks like framed.
Ever thought of hooking a 5" by 5" portrait and framing it in a large square frame? I got the idea from another artist, Daniel Kornrumpf, who works in embroidery. He creates intricate faces that are really small and then frames them up big. They look amazing. His website is HERE. Go and visit and be ready to be stunned.
So I decided to give it a try now that I have hooked enough of these small portraits that I am getting the hang of it. I went smaller last night and in one sitting created this wonderful image of my husband Wade. I have now mounted it in large square frame, leaving the foundation as a kind of "mat" around it.
I will be doing two more of these, one of me and one of Alexander. I want to hang them as a group above my mantel. I am calling it "The Three of Us".
I have been wanting to create a hooked footstool for years now, but could never seem to decide on a subject. Then a couple months ago I ran across the work of quilter Nancy Crow and got very excited about her geometrics. She takes inspiration from architecture and nature and then reinvents the shapes into gorgeous quilts.
For the last year I have been working on figuring out how to create miniature hooked portraits from photos using scraps. So for my footstool project, I decided to take a series of snapshots of our family playing on the beach and playgrounds and use them as subjects on my footstool. Taking my cue from Nancy Crow, I have been inspired by the shapes of the playground equipment to create backgrounds to nest each photo on.
So far I have completed the top of the footstool with Wade crouched down, Alexander rolling, and me peeking through a window.
Sorry for the poor quality picture but it was taken with my iPad.
Susan Harper just sent this information to me for distribution.
Come to the Eighth Annual
Monday, June 17, 2013
9:00 a.m.– 4:00 p.m.
Downtown Grapevine, Texas
NEW Lower Admission Cost!
$10 in advance
$15 at the door
Concessions and Grill on site
for more information go to: www.TexasRugfest.com
Some of you may know that my "other" life outside of the rug world is that of a professor in the religion department at Rice. I recently published a short piece on Huffington Post about remembering the women that stood by the cross. A link to the article is HERE.
Today is Holy Saturday. It is a solemn day for churches everywhere. Here in Houston, I have helped three other women put together a musical production called Easter in Memory of Her. It is being performed at Christ Church Cathedral today from 4-5 pm.
We are hoping that today from 4-5 pm Christians across the nation will take out time to remember the women who were Jesus' steadfast followers, who courageously stood by him as he died, and helped to lay his body in the tomb. More information on this performance can be found HERE, which is a link to a public radio preview of our performance.
Some rug hookers have been contacting me after reading my recent article in Rug Hooking Magazine on Dyeing Palette Wool (follow this link to purchase a copy of the magazine if you don't own a subscription). I mention in the article as an aside the pebbling stitch that I developed in order to hook zones of color and value in my portraits. They want to know how to pebble stitch.
So here is a link to some of my past blog instructions on this stitch. Hope it helps. Click HERE to learn how to pebble stitch.
The third step is to use a permanent ink marker to draw your lines onto your foundation.
If you are doing a gallery canvas frame technique keep in mind that the edges of the foundation will not be bound but will show. So first draw a 7" by 7" square in the center of a 20" by 20" finished edge foundation piece. Use a pencil to do this! And do not draw anything outside this line.
Next attach your transfer fabric and center your motif as you want it inside the pencil square. Use ink marker to make the transfer.
The second step in creating a Snapshot Portrait is to select a photo and get it transferred to your foundation. I use digital photos, which I crop with a square in my photo program. I play with the photo on my iPad using different photo filters until I have something I like. Also make sure to save a black and white version of the photo as well as a color photo.
These need to be enlarged to 7" by 7" square. I use a program called PhotoRazor to do this. It is a free download on the web. Just run a google search and it will turn up.
Print 2 copies of the black and white version and 1 copy of the color in the 7" by 7" square.
Lay your transfer fabric over one of the black and white copies of your photo and draw around the light and dark areas, outlining your subject. Reduce what you choose to draw. The fewer elements the better. These are small!
I decided to try recording "how" I create my Snapshot Portraits, what I have been calling "Photo Minis". The first step is to sort my scraps since these are created from strips leftover from other projects.
I have five square baskets I bought at IKEA. I have tried sorting my scraps by value and by color. I thought the value sorting would work, but it turns out that it didn't. I think it didn't work because, although I hook by value, I also cluster my colors. It is easier for me to pull out of a color box the value I need, then to find the color I need in a value box.
What color boxes do I use? I sort into five rough categories:
- Red and Orange Box
- Yellow and Yellow-Brown Box
- Green Box
- Blue, Gray and Purple Box
- Purple-Red Box
The key is to have as many different values as you can. You need lots of lights and darks to make these Snapshot Portraits work. Usually rug hookers don't collect many wools in lighter values like peaches, pinks, tans, grays, lavenders, yellows that are almost white. So if you want to hook Snapshot Portraits, start to collect these lighter wools. It will give you an excuse to experiment with them in other projects and see how they pop your motifs in bigger rugs too.
This photo was taken of Alexander when he was seven when he was playing at a concert. He is a Suzuki violinist. Started playing when he was five and a half.
In the hooked piece. I tried to get the sense that it was evening and there was movement of others behind him. Although I did not want to include others in the piece, I wanted to leave the viewer with the sense of motion as others were moving around and creating shadows.
This is another snapshot portrait, 7" by 7", mounted on 10" by 10" gallery wrapped canvas. It is hooked from scraps. I am calling it Me and My Violin.
My fourth 7" by 7" gallery wrapped canvas is finished. It is called Look Out. Alexander was five in this picture, playing at Colonial Park here in Houston with his friend Tegh. He scrambled to the top of the jungle gym and perched himself there. He was so proud that he made it to the top and could look out over all the playground. I especially love how the light caught his hair that day.
Created entirely from #6 cut leftover strips.
I am excited to be holding a class at Deanne Fitzpatrick's studio this July 8-9. I will be teaching how to hook these lovely little mini portraits from photos I have been making this last year, and how to display them as gallery wrapped art stretched on canvas (my favorite way) or in albums.
For more information, go to Deanne's studio website HERE.