Saturday, July 17, 2010

Grateful to have finished my Tyler Star rug camp project!



Back in May I attended my first rug camp at Tyler, TX. Texas Star was a wonderful experience on so many different levels. First and foremost was getting to meet three ladies I've known online for years. Maria Barton of Star Rug Company is a great teacher!, designer of this rug called "Toppling Down"  She helped us color plan our rugs, brought lots of wonderful wool pieces that we could shop from, and supported us throughout the time we began work on our rugs. Special stitches like using a knot, herringbone hooking, beading, and a "chicken eye" were other special lessons. These will all reappear in my rugs from here on out, but with this group of jack o lanterns it was easy to find a spot to use them all! Using them right away was a help to remembering them. :)  Also my own idea to add eyelashes to the third pumpkin added some whimsey to the rug as well.

Maria has been one of the most formative people/teachers of my rug hooking style, first with a challenge in PRHG to hook a sheep design. That challenge provided me with 400 woolstrips in 40 different colors. Eyeopening to say the least! Up until that point, I'd been doing kits or using upcycled wool from local thrift stores, and strips from ebay. These were handdyed, as is in wonderful weaves, and the challenge of using them all in a design. Maria complimented my rug in the group, after receiving my picture showing it finished. I was delighted! It was the beginning of my hope that I had the makings of a real rug hooker in me.

Within the last year, she again offered a challenge. This time to our group in An American Primitive Gathering. I truly love these ladies! With the exception of my family it is the most powerful and positive force in my life. This challenge was to use a background color we'd never tried before. Antique black is a fairly common background for primitive rugs, but one I hadn't tried. Many of my rugs tell a story, and thankfully those backgrounds have been filled with light and color.

We again had an exchange of wool strips, and the ones I received in dark shades of color really helped me to get excited with this background. This rug tells an imaginary story of a cat regaling a sheep it is barn-cat to with "Hair-raising Tales From the Other Side of the Fence".  I made only a few changes to the basic design~basically adding the moon, fence, and a scarf on the cat. The sheep's forehead and body have some raw wool worked into the curls that projects above the loops, my intention was to resemble the way one's hairs stand up in goosebumps when cold or frightened. :) It was possible to suggest the moon's real shape, a pinetree in the background and just have lots of fun with the background. I may never rise to the level of success I aspire to, but it is not as important as the enjoyment and learning that can continue as my skills grow.  Thank you a million times over, Maria!

8 comments:

Maureen said...

Jo, it's wonderful that you have found something that stirs up such passion in your creative soul. The satisfaction and joy you feel in the entire hooking process comes through in your written word.

Cotton Eyed Jo said...

Thanks, Mo! It truly is joy that flows into me from the rugs. Glad that comes through to you too. :)

moosecraft said...

Absolutely gorgeous rugs, Jo!!!! I love that the pumpkins look so antique and old! Perfection! Love the sheep with cat too! You have a wonderful style of hooking rugs... keep it up!!! ~The Chocolate Moose! LOL!

Lori said...

Great job on your rugs Jo! I agree, Maria is the best! Looks like you learned a lot from her in Tyler. Thanks for sharing.

Alice ~ Folk Art Primitives said...

Your pumpkin rug is great!! Maria is a great designer and a just a fun person to be around! And thanks for visiting my blog ~ and commenting about Kingwood Center!! I'll stop by and visit again!! Your sheep rug is a cute one, too!

kelley said...

Jo...these rugs are amazing...your sense of color and upcycling wool is the BEST!!!

You are a true artist my buddy ole pal...

Cotton Eyed Jo said...

Maria gets most of the credit for color planning this pumpkin rug! The wool came from her supplies for the camp.

She helped me find lots of the blue and lavender blends for the water. Any thing that looks like a weird color is probably some of my own dyeworks... LOL

But thanks, that means a lot coming from someone I admire so much. ♥

Deb Groom said...

This is really wonderful. I'm glad you mentioned on rug hooking daily that you have a blog. I enjoy everything about the style of this piece. The phrase that pops to mind is that it is "fearfully and wonderfully made", though nothing really to fear here. It just captures the attention in that it isn't like every other sheep and cat. I like that a lot.
wooly regards, Deborah Groom