My recent design rabbit hole started with a desire to create a historic looking mural for our home. Somewhere in my search for folk art painting techniques I stumbled upon one Mr. Rufus Porter and the rug hooker in me took over. His motifs struck a chord. While I’ve yet to paint anything, I’ve been enjoying designing rugs inspired by his work. This little footstool is the first of many to come.
I swore I’d never dye. I have so many stashes and work stations and the rest, I just didn’t feel like taking on one more endeavor. But a dearth of sunny yellows and primitive reds for some of my post popular designs, in addition to a pile of unsuitably colored specimens culled from my cashmere box lots, pushed me over the edge. The days are barely warm enough to venture outside for more than a bit at a time, so I hunker in the workshop and hobble together tools and supplies. I barely follow the directions, but am feeling successful with my first efforts nonetheless.
It was an unusual early February day yesterday. The temperature hit the 50s. It was sunny and beautiful. So much so that I left the oversized slider in my studio open so I could enjoy the balmy air. My dogs clustered on the threshold as one side or the other of it would show too much commitment on their part. I worked at my hooking bench– I hook standing up– barefoot with a mug of hot vanilla milk tucked nearby. And I finally figured how to handle the border of a loosely geometric design.
A simple sketch on a scrap of paper became the basic outline for numerous of my elephant pieces. From wall placards, to freestanding oversized pieces, to soft figurines, I’ve tackled the form in many different materials. This time, I took my hook to the image to create a colorful piece in cashmere, wool, and silk. The base is a wonderful bit of weathered barn board with a salvaged piece of rusty junk to balance everything out.
This piece is available at The Barn at Todd Farm.
One of this hooker’s best friends, my little man, Stogie posed for the inspiration photo for this primitive style rug. I hooked this entirely with cashmere salvaged from recycled sweaters.
There is nothing about this Prim Whale Pull Toy that I don’t love. All the little bits and pieces that have become its creation DNA have their own story. I discovered the wool at a local fiber studio located in a one room school house that made me green with envy. The button that became the most perfect all seeing eye has been in my stash for years. I was always certain that one fine day this one lonely button would find its purpose, and it certainly finally did. The wheels are made from antique spools. I especially always love a project that Dave and I work on together and we had great fun putting our heads together to figure mechanics, design, and materials. We rummaged through our growing debris pile as we made repairs to our old farmhouse to salvage the perfect rustic wood to give form and function.
Sometimes I’m just baffled why it takes me so long to get some things done. I’m going to chock it up to too many ideas, too little time. This hooked mermaid pillow literally began to take shape three years ago. I kid you not. An impromptu iPad doodle was destined to be a hooked work of art one day. I just hadn’t expected it to take so long. Life happens and other projects rise to the surface, orders with deadlines clog the creative highway from time to time. But after a visit to Susie Stephenson’s studio and admiring her hand knit mermaid dolls, I was inspired to dig out the long buried image of the serene bathing beauty from under the sea.
As long as the gal has been percolating in the back of my brain, parts of my stash that went into her may have been percolating longer. The kinky golden wool yarn I used for her hair has been sitting waiting for its purpose for some eight years since I picked it up at a fiber festival in Western MA. Being a hooker, I frequently buy old suit garments to harvest the wool, but I’ve never been able to discard the linings. They’ve just been accumulating quietly in the closet for years. Here, they finally shine. The little hints of iridescence they add to the aquatic background are perfect. Several years ago, friends and I made the journey up to Deanne Fitzpatrick’s studio. One friend purchased a skein of silk sari “yarn” and then later gifted it to me. A mermaid’s body was perfectly filled out with terra cotta warmth against the cool blue sea.
If you are interested in purchasing the Mermaid Pillow, it is available here. If you’d like to hook it yourself, fear not! The instant download pattern is in the works. If you are in a hurry, just email me.