I am almost finished hooking Baptism by Fire. I have about six inches in length to go. It has been a different experience from hooking representational pieces. What am I learning about hooking abstracts?
1. Color matters more. Since there is no 'picture' to view, what really matters is color. Color is what grabs the attention and gives the emotional pull to the piece. So color can't be 'off'. I thought that randomly hooking colors next to each other would be fine. But there were times I had to go back and pull out and adjust the color because it was 'off'.
2. Value matters more. I have known how important value is to representational pieces since it is what 'pops' the object to be viewed. But when you have no object, the values are what the eye sees as the 'picture'. So where I hook the light values is where the eye goes. The eye then rests in the dark values and the medium values disappear. Again, I have found that I have had to go back and rehook areas of the rug to get the value right so the visual flow was not interrupted.
3. Size matters more. The emotional impact of the piece increases with the size of the abstract. The more length I have added onto my piece, the more I like the feeling of it when I view it. I find the same is true when I go to a gallery and view abstract art. The size of the pieces (which are often enormous or overscale) create a feeling of immensity and power.
4. Direction matters more. The direction of the hooking is extremely important. It is what provides the movement. Without an object to view, the direction of the hooking provides the interest. Straight rows decrease the movement and keep the piece flat and slow (which might what you want in certain abstracts). Slight curves all lined up in rows effects slight movement and peace. The more curve, the faster the flow. Interspersed color or value such as the waffling technique I used in Baptism by Fire has the fastest, even chaotic, flow.