Our local group of rug-hookers attended a great two-day workshop with Anne Boissinot on the weekend. The topic was hooking houses. Anne is full of fun and has much to share about the techniques and the art of hooking architecture. She is a generous and knowledgeable teacher who kept us on our toes and on task almost every minute! It was a full and rewarding two days as you will see from the pieces below. These are not all the pieces from the class–but the ones I managed to photograph at the end.
My friend Mary Anne and I spent a perfect day at the Campbellford Guild’s hook-in. This was our first time to attend, but we are already making plans to go back next year. The venue was a lovely park in the centre of the town on the shores of the Trent River. We hooked, visited and ate delicious goodies as sailboats and other watercraft passed by. Could not have been more lovely. I didn’t take too many photos, but here are a few.
I went to the city on Saturday for two main reasons. First I wanted to to see Ancestry and Aristry, the display of Mayan textiles from Guatemala and secondly I knew of a good quality leather remnant sale.
Toronto was in the midst of a deluge, and of course crowded to the hilt with Film Festival goers–Brad Pitt arrived just after I walked along King St–(no I didn’t see him!) But my umbrella and I were able to get to both of my venues with ease. The display at the Textile Museum was wonderful. I especially was interested in the three hooked rugs from the Thirteen Threads Cooperative where Mary Anne Wise has been teaching rug hooking. Jenn Manuell was there this year and posted great photos on her blog. The colours and vitality of all the work, mostly embroidery and weaving, were outstanding–and the women have carried these qualities into their rug hooking. Of course I am interested in how their techniques of using traditional motifs and patterns can apply to hooking in Kenya. And interested too in the fabrics they used which seemed to be pretty much what they could lay their hands on.
I was thrilled to get this 4 kg pile of good quality leather remnants. I find that a small piece spurs my imagination and I come up with new designs which would not occur to me if I had lots of leather. The red piece in particular beckons.
My rug has been spending the summer at the cottage. We were there for the last while, so I got a chance to spend some time with it. The one end is close to done. It may not look like much progress, but the rug is almost five feet wide so it takes a while to make it across. The text is done on the other end, but there is lots of hooking left. Each end will be this blue as-is texture–but I will have to get out the dye pots for the colours in the centre. I am hoping for a subtle transition to blocks of green, yellow and orange. The hooking I am doing now is almost meditative hooking, the kind I like best, but soon I will have to decide on the main part of the rug–design and background. And that takes thought and planning. Concentration. But for now I am enjoying the sun on the water, the calls of the loons and the slip of the wool through my fingers.As far as bags go–here is the lining for the new one. I hope to show you it finished tomorrow. It is made from a rich brown skirt cut on the diagonal. This bag is a good size and classic birdbrain, including the lining of brightly coloured squares from a European market and the screen-printed bird pocket.
I am still working out so much about the blog world. I spent the week making bags, photographing them and posting them. Thank you to those who have followed me through the process and purchased. I was overwhelmed with the speed of your response! Since I am a one-person operation and the sewing times are sporadic, there is no set time for new work and no way, other than the blog, to show you. Sometimes, people write to me and ask me how they go about buying a bag. I don’t do shows and I don’t advertise. Once a year I open my house for a Christmas sale. But really, the best way is to check in here once in a while and see what is available in the on-line store–or email me with a request. All the bags posted this week are in the mail and off to new owners.
I haven’t been working too much on the rug, but will have more time in the next few days. Learning lots about hooking text. Although I traced the font, I find the actual hooking is more like handwriting. Each letter, although related to its cohorts, is slightly different. And then there is the world of meaning behind the quotation. Time to think about that as I hook. The templates you see scattered there will form the design of the middle of the rug. Right now I am thinking they will be in a spiral–but that will develop as I hook the text at either end.
Thank you for your support and have a great weekend, all of you. The weather here in southern Ontario is spectacular–even though there is that bittersweet touch of fall in the air.
I mentioned yesterday that ideas and images seem to come into my world exactly when I need them. It’s like when you are thinking of buying a yellow car and all of a sudden all you can see are yellow cars. I am working on a new rug and thinking about the role of text in it–its placement, its relationship with colour and the other images on the rug. This week I discovered Ed Ruscha and quoted his musings on using words in art. Then as I was actually hooking the letters on the rug, I encountered Taryn Simon on Wachtel on the Arts. There is very little in the way of contact with the outside world at our cottage, no internet or cell and the Globe and Mail is one and a half hours away. However, I do have the CBC when the radio is behaving, and it makes ALL the difference. I think Eleanor Wachtel is a national treasure and I save all her interviews with authors as podcasts so I can listen as I hook. My reading list is generated by listening to Eleanor. I have discovered Maggie O’Farrell, Rose Tremain and countless others through Eleanor’s gently probing questions. And every once in a while she will have the most poignant interview with an old favourite like her recent surprising talk with John Le Carré. I don’t always catch her program on the arts–but this in-depth interview with a most interesting conceptual artist is definitely worth a second listen. Simon, as it says in her bio, investigates the impossibility of absolute understanding and opens up the space between text and image, where disorientation occurs and ambiguity reigns.
Alex Colville died this week. A large print of his painting To Prince Edward Island hangs where I see it first thing every morning. When we saw the real thing in the National Gallery we were surprised both by its relatively small dimensions and the overwhelming power of the image. I have had versions of his work with me since I can remember. Here are the two I love most; it is a visceral attachment.