What the heck?
Explanation: Rug punching is done on a pattern printed backward, so words are reversed. The "wrong side" side you punch into; the "right side" is the reverse. I'm using an Oxford Punchneedle #10 (thank you, Amy Oxford, for inventing this) and a small pattern (from the Oxford Company) to create a "punching bag" for my punching supplies.
I need a "brainless" small project to bring to rug hooking meetings with me. My current traditionally hooked rug-in-progress requires constant thinking/planning, and I cannot go to what's basically a social event and bring my entire wool stash with me just because I haven't finished the color plan yet and "might need" a dash of this or that.
Fortunately, I have enough of my own hand-dyed wools that I can start in on this immediately, and it's quite portable. Ideal for attending a rug hooking group.
An hour later:
Here you can faintly see the word "punch" up above on the linen, and I've done some outlining. This is the messy stage of punching, before you fill in background--which makes those unruly loops get back in line and behave themselves. The last step is to push around any remaining straggly loops, part of the clean-up process after the punching is done. More to come.
I've been working on this for months and finally finished it today. What fun this was to do, especially as it was one of the only art projects I could handle during my recent medical adventure. Thank you, E, for the permission you gave me to adapt your design.
19 1/4 x 9 1/4" punch needle embroidery, adapted, color planned, punched, and finished by me in 2022. I used a medium UltraPunch needle set on #2 and a wide variety of sock and fingering yarns (all wool) plus some crochet cotton and cotton floss. The design is copyright to Elizabeth Stagl, a good friend who designed and hooked this in other colors as a gorgeous rug at least a decade ago, based on art she'd seen on her travels in South Africa. Elizabeth kindly gave me permission to hook a copy of her rug and I first did this embroidery as a prototype. I'm now working on my own rug. The design is NOT available as a pattern so please respect the copyright.
A close-up. Someone has said that punch needle is "the only activity where repeated stabbing is legal and permissible." So true.
And of course, the repetitive action is totally meditative (but I must admit that stabbing action does feel good at times--ha.).
This still needs a bit of tweaking, as you can see from the close-up. I'll get to doing that later today.
Before you ask, "How long did it take to do that?" the answer is: I don't know. There were weeks/months when I wasn't well enough to work on it, and you can see yourself how many stitches go into this one small section, so multiply that by the total dimensions above. It doesn't matter. It's so much FUN!
Certainly not perfect, but good enough. Perfection is not the goal.
I took a break today from the Lunar Phase Project (see the last few posts) and followed along on a video by Tanglewerks CZT. She has many videos; the one I watched had no words, just music (and I shut off the music). She did her mandala on a white tile. I put it mine a grey tile, made a few changes, and added white chalk to spice things up. It was a lovely way to spend the first few hours of a day--just quiet practice. A meditation indeed.
I used to be able to draw any phase of the Moon easily from memory. This is the Moon in Waning Crescent mode, as I've positioned it above. (of course I could flip it around 180° so that the white "horns" point left and then it would represent exactly the opposite, but this is how I drew it--waning). I haven't been watching the Moon as much during the last couple of years, and sure enough, I'm beginning to forget what's what. Time to check back in with Her!
In fact, I have a series of tiles prepped as the Moon in Her various phases and I noticed confusion as I tried to put them in order this morning. Could. Not. Do. It. Had to resort to googling the Moon's Phases (what DID we do before smartphones?) in order to turn things the right way. Yes, definitely time to check back in with Her daily changes.
While trying to determine exactly how long those tiles have been sitting around waiting for me to finish them, I re-discovered this (below). If you asked me, "Have you ever drawn an elephant?" I would have said with 100% confidence, "Nope." But here it is. And I drew it. Memory is notoriously unreliable!
I based the coloring and the stars on an amazing photo I saw of a man in India riding an elephant for a spiritual celebration of some sort (to Ganesh, perhaps?). His elephant had been covered with light blue blue dust and he or someone had painted stars all over it. It pretty much looked like this. I completely changed the blanket, though, and left off the man, and used a template for the outline of the elephant from Ben Kwok of Ornation Creation (he has tons of animal templates). So this is not a copy of the photograph, not even close. I rarely tangle anything representational but my friend Julie adores elephants so I framed and gave it to her. And I drew it exactly 7 years ago today. A lot has happened in that time--she got married and now has a lovely little boy. I'm betting the elephant picture is somewhere in her house, maybe even in his room.
Finally, since I've been on a Moon kick, yesterday I had fun with a Zendala I'd prepped with a watercolor wash a long time ago. Just playing with the tangle Ibex. I started off like the photo on the left and then somehow ended up like the photo on the right. Not my best work but oh boy did I have fun playing.
Really, it is the same tile, just taken on 2 different backgrounds under different light conditions and clearly I'd done more drawing in the version on the right. Still, when you look at the color differences, it's hard to believe it is the same tile. I think I prefer the one on the left, before I overdid the work on it. Live and learn.
Ah--I just heard that Queen Elizabeth has died. I know she was still working as recently as the day before yesterday, when she greeted the new PM. Talk about taking to a role in life with utter dedication--how serious she was about it! She wasn't perfect, but she was wonderful anyway. She was born to become an archetype, and perfectly lived the role. Go in peace, Lady.
This is part of a project I began years ago in a workshop with Martha Huggins and Molly Hollibaugh. And I do mean years ago.
It always surprises me how much better I feel on a day when I draw. Whether the piece turns out well or not, the process is mindful and meditative.
Here's a short article on why drawing--bad or good--is loved by so many. (Many of these same points could be describing the practice of meditation.) Count me in.
...and yup! Here it comes. I'm closing in on the end of this piece. Today I spent time doing some re-punching (quite a bit, actually) and then trimming the edges, folding them over, and clipping them before doing the final hemming. Then it's a quick steaming and being sure to sign & label the piece, and I'm done.
This is a punchneedle embroidery version of what will be--in an entirely different color scheme--a larger hand-hooked rug. I wanted to punch a smaller version first to get to know the pattern. I began hooking the rug in early May, but all hooking has had to wait for 3 months until I'm recovered from my medical adventure. I am pleased with this mini-punch version, and as soon as I get it done, all shall be revealed.
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