A BUNCH OF LUCKY ARTISTS
Snow showers today. We're in between mammoth snowstorms, a short window of peace in this incredible weather system we're caught in. Over 50" here in the last 12 days, and nowhere to put it. City streets overwhelmed. Between Sunday night and Tuesday, we could get another 18". I have never seen a winter like this.
So why am I calling us a lucky bunch of artists? Because just for today, we all took a chance because of the break between storms, and 7 of us were lucky enough to meet at Ann's fabulous farmhouse in CT...and the roads were clear enough for us to get there.
We've done this before and feel lucky every time to travel to Ann's. Her home is in a heavily rural part of the state and the views are exquisite. It snowed lightly the entire day while we worked in comfort in front of her living room woodstove. We were warm, safe, creative, and very happy. In short, we really were lucky. Thank you, Ann, for making this possible and for your incredible hospitality.
We spent the morning and part of the afternoon working on our rug projects. The rest of the time? We ate. But that part comes later. First, the rugs.
On May 30th, I posted about Cheryl the Rug Rescuer. You can see the start of the project below in that post. Cheryl has had a personal challenge (!! understatement of the year alert !!) come up that slowed her down, but now as you can see she's nearly done with her old friend's wonderful rug. Here's the proof:
How lovely is that? And how wonderful that after all these years, this rug is getting finished. Because Cheryl's friend is now too old to get it done--but Cheryl will.
Elizabeth was working on her own design of an Italian City. She's punching this rug with wool strips. Since it's going to be a wall hanging, she's decided to use what is traditionally considered to be the back of the rug as the front:
And here below is the technical front of the rug, which she will use as the back:
I like both sides. How about you?
Next up, two rugs from Ann herself. First, here is the rug-in-progress she stored away before the holidays (she had 11 guests in her home for a week over that period!)...only to discover that, because she put the wool for it away so conscientiously before her guests arrived and she was tidying up, she cannot find it. Of course it will turn up eventually. Here is the partially completed rug that's currently missing its wool:
I am loving those colors she's using. But since she couldn't find the wool, she traced out a new pattern to work on today (both patterns are for chair seats, I believe). Here's the new pattern, a geometric with circles:
I really like the possibilities she has with this pattern.
And to continue, here is Maria's chicken rug that she's now working to finish. It makes me smile:
Everything about that piece is wonderfully comical. Love those ridiculous yellow feet.
Kathleen was chugging away on the fish rug (tentatively titled "The Last Cod"):
<Oops, I hit "publish" by mistake...apologies to anyone who gets multiple prompts on this post>
I really like the way this is shaping up; the fish are magnificent and the water is coming along.
Cheryl (The Rug Rescuer) has been gifted with two more old rugs to finish. The first is a tiny pillow top, already mostly completed when it came to her:
I can't remember if this one came with wool to finish it or not, but it will make a sweet little spot pillow. Wonder who designed it? And of course, I wonder who did the hooking that got it to this stage?
She also was gifted with one large rug that is really cute. I don't think this one came with any wool to finish it, alas. The burlap in both the rug below and the small one above looked to be in good shape, thank goodness.
We are all wondering whose design this is! There is something familiar about it, but we cannot place it. Here are two views of it. First, the whole rug and second a closeup of the left-hand figure. Pretty cute.
Another rug that makes me smile, with lots of possibilities depending on what Cheryl decides to do with it.
As for me, I was working on a mini-version of my next rug using punchneedle embroidery. Unfortunately I cannot get thread in colors that actually match the wool I'll be using for the actual rug. I don't like the thread colors in this embroidery...so why am I doing it? To test the colors (I've given up on that) but also to get to know the pattern by "hooking" it in miniature, and in that way, it's helping me greatly. So cover your eyes at the awful flat colors and shades, and just take in the pattern. Trust me, the real wool colors are beautiful in a deep way that these available threads are not:
And just for a bit of context, here is the embroidery as of yesterday, when I began punching (On Wednesday I transferred the pattern and selected threads; yesterday I started to punch):
To wrap up this very long post: After we worked on our projects for about three hours we sat down to our usual food fest: Stir-fried veggies a la Elizabeth (she also brought some lovely Champlain Chocolate for snacking), a Petsi Chicken Pot Pie, a raved-about red cabbage kielbasa-inspired dish from Kathleen, home made coleslaw (was this your dish, Ann?) and Ann's homemade pickles, and for desserts we had Ann's ever-fabulous gingerbread with whipped cream (mmmmm), a chocolate chip cake from Maria which I'm saving some of to taste tonight, and a fruit-nut treat from Lenore.
We all had to leave a bit early and after the food fest we were forced to roll ourselves across her dining room to the kitchen, then roll across her mud room and garage to our cars outside. OMG, we were stuffed. Outdoors it had snowed about an inch while we worked and it was even more beautiful than when we first arrived.
As usual, I had a wonderful time working, studying the pieces the others are working on, and being creatively stimulated by the rugs, the conversation, by Ann's generosity, and of course by the lovely location, so tranquil and stunning in all the snow.
Please note that I love getting comments, so don't hesitate to leave one! Thanks.
2/8/2015 01:10:43 am
Thanks, Devin, as always for the wonderful recap and photos. I arrived late, but with enough time to enjoy all of your company, dessert and some great laughs! Thank you, Ann! Even with the colors not as you like, I love your mini punch needle, Devin. How big is it?
2/8/2015 01:21:17 am
Good question. It's about 7.5" x 4.25". The rug itself, when I get to it, must be at least 2 feet by 3 feet, probably bigger. It's on a linen backing and I'm curious to know if I can punch the rug with wool strips...we'll see!
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I'm a textile artist (traditional rug hooking, punch needle rug hooking, and other textile arts), a long-time meditator, a certified meditation teacher and coach, and focused on learning about the interplay of art, creativity, and mindfulness every day.
SITES TO WATCH:
Insight Meditation Society
Oxford Rug Hooking School
Zentangle: The Official Site
Green Mountain Rug Hooking
Massachusetts Tarot Society