What is it about hand-hooked rugs that feels so warm and luxurious to me, and always has? Since childhood I've felt this way about hand-made rugs of any kind: woven, hooked, punched, tufted, even knitted or crocheted. They've always been attractive to me. I've tried all of the above techniques, but hooked & punched rugs are my favorite. So comforting when you sink your toes into them. Even when you aren't standing on one, they are just so lovely to look at.
Another plus is that the rhythm of rug hooking is completely mesmerizing and meditative. Whenever I'm working on a rug, I'm in the Zone. There's only one motion or technique to hooking (and punched rugs as well), only one thing to learn. Then it's just repeat, repeat, repeat.
Which is very similar to tangling...just one line at a time...repeat, repeat, repeat. Add in a bit of focus, and you have a highly meditative art form underway.
From the Our Tangled Lives Journal Project: This week's prompt was about tangling and journaling on the subject of whatever form of art we truly love to do, not necessarily tangling...so I produced this page:
Yes, I know...the Shel Silverstein ditty is a bit over the top, but as a relatively conflict-avoidant person (who am I kidding? HIGHLY conflict-avoidant), I'm more on the Silverstein side of the spectrum than the let's-fight-this-out side. And anyway, do you know how hard it is to come up with quotes about hooked rugs???
For the journal page, I started off transferring a photo of a rug I finished a couple of years ago. (Have I mentioned I love making rugs? Oh, I have? LOL) The pattern was actually adapted from a display of German Silver Urns in a museum, and the urn that it was adapted from was dated 1910. Hence the title on the right side of the rug, "1910 Silver Rug."
Susan Feller of Ruckman Mill Farm, a wonderful artist, rug designer, fraktur specialist, and blogger, had the sense to copy it down while viewing the display of silver on her visit to a museum, and she eventually designed the rug from her sketch. When I bought the pattern, no one had hooked it yet.
I made the transfer of my photo using Sheer Heaven, a transfer medium that I know a lot of tanglers are familiar with (and oh yes indeedy, it is expensive!). I also transferred the poem by Silverstein the same way. This is my first experience using Sheer Heaven, and it was ridiculously easy. I'm looking forward to investigating its uses more.
After transferring the images, I used some of the rug pattern to make a colored tangle on the journal page, and then I finished off with the tangle to its left, which I spotted on the net last night but I haven't been able to trace down a title or creator.
My printer, though, is running out of colored ink, so to be fair, I don't think what I printed onto the transfer sheet was particularly well-colored.
Is this rug pattern not a perfect example of the types of patterns we use in our tangles? By a 1910 German metal artist who never heard of the term, which just speaks to the fact that tangles themselves have all been used for centuries--it's the process of Zentangle® that we teach; the patterns can be found everywhere.
I'm a textile artist (traditional rug hooking, punch needle rug hooking, and other textile arts), long-time meditator and coach, focused on learning about the interplay of art, creativity, and mindfulness every day.
NEXT INTRO TO ZENTANGLE CLASS:
No immediate group classes scheduled (I'm always open to hearing about a good venue in the Cambridge-Somerville area). I am always happy to teach 1-1 and/or in a small group in your home.
Come and amaze yourself!
SITES TO WATCH:
Insight Meditation Society
Oxford Rug Hooking School
Zentangle: The Official Site
Green Mountain Rug Hooking
Massachusetts Tarot Society
Skillful Meditation Project