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.
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.
This project has been calling to me for some time. These pillows are a precursor to the alpaca rug I want to hook next, but these are definitely a creative pursuit I could both sink my teeth and toes into. The alpaca is milled just for me by a couple local family farms. The all around goodness of them is swoon worthy. If you want one of these for your own snuggling purposes, they are available for purchase at The Barn at Todd Farm in Rowley, MA or you can purchase online.
I am fascinated by the primitive. The old and weathered. The patina of life’s wear and tear. The functional side of folk art. Dave and I have designed and made several pull toys together, but this one is an altogether new undertaking. Three dimensional, fiber art, and salvage combined all in one piece. I am just thrilled with the results. While the piece functions spectacularly as a pull toy, due to governmental oversight, I need to tell you it is not a toy. It is for decorative purposes only. Nonetheless, our Primitive Hooked Giraffe Pull Toy has won over our hearts.
More designs to come…
Still cold out, but in my head my toes are still tucked in warm sand. The Vintage Bathing Beauty needs a Beau. And I think I may have finally come up with a design I’m happy with. Still tweaking, but I’m liking it overall.
My head is dancing with ideas of how I’d like to hook this, what materials and colors I want to use. I know a lot of folks color plan their rugs, but that just never works for me. Maybe more to the point, I don’t seem to be good at sticking to a plan. Free spirit and all…
Truly, I can’t believe we are well into August. The summer seems to be speeding by me. Already, I smell the whiff of fall in the early morning air. Not a complaint really. I’ve been quite productive. I’d much rather work out the details of a six foot stole in a cool breeze than bind a four foot rug in 80 degree humidity.
Like summer produce, everything all ready at once, the studio has finally completed two big projects just in this past week. (Fanfare, please!) The Amsterdam Rug, inspired by a photograph we took in the fields of Holland last year has finally been hooked, bound, and installed. We are both thrilled with it, and I encourage any of you hookers out there to transform your own favorite photograph into a treasured fiber memory.
Second, I’ve finally pulled together the pattern for my favorite stole. I love this thing and use it for everything from chilly summer mornings to dinner outings. The pattern is in full color with two different types of written directions to match your knitting style and lots of pictures.