My sister's gorgeous rug

In August, when I was visiting my sister Tiffany, she wanted to try her hand at a big portrait of her daughter Madison.  When I was creating the palette dyeing process and developing my own colors, my sister was also creating her own palette and testing the process with me.  So she has a complete palette of her own 67 colors in 8 values each.  So she had everything she needed for her portrait project. 

As some of you know who have been following my blog, for the last year and a half I have been working with color in my hooking in order to create a simple procedure to hook gorgeous portraits.  I call the procedure VIP (VALUE INTENSE PALETTE) Hooking. 

My sister is the first person other than me to put my procedure to the test, and wow, the results are stunning!  All I did was share the five color hooking principles with her, and three months later, she was done with this fantastic over-sized portrait of Madison.  She brought the rug (Madison) to my house at Christmas and it knocked my socks off. It reminds me so much of the famous portrait of The Girl with A Pearl Earring by Vermeer.  Madison is captured by her mother in this hooked piece better than any photograph could.  She is a true Mona Lisa.  Tiffany hooked it in a #6.  It is about 2 feet by 2 feet, and bound with Canadian Show binding procedure.

Here is a picture of my sister and her daughter holding the rug in front of our tree. 

Glorious Color Caddy

FRONTBACKI know my posts have been infrequent last month.  I got really busy at work, and then got sick.  My rug hooking slowed down, but didn't cease.  The one thing I accomplished last month was designing and hooking a sample of a caddy for the Palette Dyeing class that I will be teaching this coming August at Sauder.  I thought it would be fun while the dye pots are simmering in the class, to be learning about color theory and hooking a caddy as a handy reference to that theory. 

I think it turned out cute.  It is made from one piece of linen, even including the handles, with minimal sewing.  In fact, the sewing can even be done by hand if a machine is not available.  The overall size is 20"by 14"by 6".  So it holds lots of stuff, even my cutter and supplies.  In the picture I stuffed it with skeins of yarn.

The link to my workshop is on the Sauder Village website, and it just went live today.  Registration for the Sauder retreat and all the workshops and classes begins on Wednesday, November 9 at 10 am EST.

A first picture

Things are starting to look like something now, so here's a first picture of Alexander at Sauder.  I can now see that all my abstract hooking and palette dyeing has pushed me in the direction of Expression.  It is slightly more abstract than Impressionism, lending a less naturalistic color scheme to the subject. 

I also chose to eliminate straight line hooking, and move to pebbling as much area as I can.  I am still contouring the face by pebbling in the directions of the face contours, so that the face takes a shape. 

I am hooking this piece entirely by value (VIP Hooking), having marked my drawing from lightest to darkest areas and hooking the different colors in the ascribed values randomly into those areas.  I am using all eight values of eight different neutrals and rosy browns, one red, and three different blues and blue grays. 

Neutrals and rosy browns:Chesterfield 152; Faune Brown 114; Blush Red 113; Rosewood 138; Red Oak 144; Sea Shells 142; Applewood 147; Butterfield 122

Red: Ring 'O Rosie 161

Blues and Grays: Alexander Blue 109; Gossamer Gray 131; Shades of Dusk 123

 

Making progress on Alex in Pop Color

I have been working on Alex in Pop Color, although my hooking is a bit slower now that I am dealing with a torn up house.  I just finished the second face in the series of six that make up the center of the rug.  Each face is hooked with a different color plan.  The first one I hooked was done in the primary colors, red, yellow and blue.  The second face I did as a monochromatic study in purple (see photo below).  It demonstrates the importance of hooking by value instead of color.  Here is Alex's face, and it clearly is his face, but it is created by hooking particular values (lighter and darker wool in the same color) of purple (Jack Horner Plum #111) next to each other.  The lighter areas are prominent and the darker areas recede. 

Hooking by value

Some of you know that I am developing a hooking method that I call VIP hooking.  This stands for "value intense palette" hooking.  It is based on a concept in art used by painters that we really see things according to the lightness and darkness of the area painted.  The color itself doesn't really matter as much.  So I have been applying this to my rug hooking, working with four values: light, light-medium, dark-medium, and dark.  I separate my wools into these four groups and then I hook them in to my design accordingly. HERE IS A LINK to my webpage "What is VIP Rug Hooking" and also to "VIP Hooking Primer" where I explain this in more detail.  Both are under the pull down menu: "The Wool Palette."

Tonight I ran across a great website with lessons about painting with values.  What it has to say is totally applicable to rug hooking and I learned a lot going through the pages.  HERE IS THE LINK if you are interested. 

As for rugs and value.   Mediums are nice, but not alone.  They are better when hooked with other values.  If your rug isn't working, try a lighter value or a darker value near the mediums.  It will pop!

Manuscript inspiration

I was surfing the internet this morning to find an image of Mary Magdalene for a project associated with my professional life, and I was reminded of the utter beauty of manuscript illuminations and how well they would translate into hooked rugs as borders and motifs. Take a look at some of these:

I also found this fascinating website where there are lots of vintage printables collected.

As I was surfing, I ran across someone interesting. In the mid-1800s, William Morris founded a design company that produced high quality textiles and tapestries (read more HERE). He adored medieval art and manuscripts, and thought "modern" art was only about mass production. So he based his company's designs on medieval images and produced some of the world's most outstanding and creative decorative art that helped to spawn the arts and crafts movement in the Victorian era. As I browsed his work, I was surprised to discover how his designs appear to have influenced rug hookers in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

Here are some of his works which I show from The Tapestry House website which sells reproductions of his textiles.

He sometimes included text on his tapestries. One of them that caught my attention were the words: "Honour the Women, they broid and weave heavenly roses into earthly life." It is called Ehret die frauen (Honor the Women):

What I think of McGown critique

All names and situation have been changed.

Cindy was in her last phase of becoming a certified McGown teacher. For her last project she had to instruct a student to hook a McGown pattern, and she had to dye the wool for it. Margie agreed to hook the rug under her instruction. Cindy and Margie consulted. Margie selected a floral rug. Margie and Cindy discussed color and Cindy dyed the wool for the project. Margie worked for a year on the rug - it was very big - hooking a perfect mat in 3 and 4 cut wool. Her technique was perfect in terms of McGown requirements - a completely flat rug with a completely flat and even back. Cindy was excited and proud to take the mat to the teacher workshop and show it off. Then came the critique. All agreed that the mat was perfectly executed and beautifully interpreted. Except one teacher who told Cindy that there was one fault. Cindy had dyed the wool for one of the stems gray. The teacher said that it should have been dyed green. Cindy returned home with her teacher's certification and told Margie what had happened. Margie was disappointed.

Now let's think about this. Who has the authority to tell another artist that a stem should be green instead of gray? How does one determine that a mat would be better if the color of a stem was different? Who does such a critique serve? Does it help Cindy? And even more disturbing, does it help Margie who spent a year hooking a rug for Cindy's certification, who was part of the decision-making process about the color in the first place, and who hooked the rug in the way she saw fit and liked?

Think about this further. Every time Margie takes out that gorgeous rug and looks at it, what is she going to think? Is she going to look at it and think, "Gosh I love this rug I hooked and I am proud of how beautiful it turned out"? Or is she going to think, "Well the rug would be perfect if that stem had been dyed green instead of gray"? Knowing Margie, she is going to think the latter. This is the real shame of this situation. The stem critique will always hang over this rug and be heavy on Margie's heart.

Let's consider this type of 'critique' very carefully. Let's be very aware of any critique we give, and what we do with critique that we receive whether solicited or not. Most of us have been afraid of art since grade school when we started to learn that there were right ways to draw things, right colors for painting objects, and that the right way was whatever the teacher told us.

If we are going to grow as an artistic community, we need to be free to express ourselves in our rugs in whatever manner we see fit. We don't need to be limiting each other to particular views of how a rug should look or a particular design be executed. We need generosity of spirit, and suggestions for improving areas of rugs that we the hookers of the rugs are not satisfied with. There is a difference between helping a student fix a problem in a rug that is bothering a student, and telling a student who is satisfied with her rug that her interpretation is wrong or could be better if such and such were changed. The former is helpful. The latter is harmful.

Saint Nicholas Workshop

Yesterday I facilitated a workshop at the Kirby Hooking Circle to hook my pattern, St. Nicholas. After talking about my color and dyeing theory, I introduced VIP [=V(alue) I(ntense) P(alette)] rug hooking, a type of hooking that I am developing to help us hook stunning 'realistic' rugs simply.

After a couple of hours of hooking, the girls had two eyes and a nose completed. I was able to capture some of the pieces with my camera before the workshop ended which I show below (left to right: P.D.; Pam; Pat; Sondra; Sylvia; Martha). Jo worked on a wizard rug which she posted about on her blog with pics HERE. I am impressed with their work and can't wait to see these pieces finished. After Saturday, I realize that this is really a two-day workshop, so we are going to reconvene another Saturday to finish up. So more later...

Generating Abstract Ideas

As I have been reading about abstract art this year, I have been trying to think of ways to apply the principles to rug hooking. I have started to come up with some practical suggestions to create abstract rug studies so I'm going to begin to share them on the blog, and will add more as they come my way.

Abstraction means taking something and moving it away from realism. Abstract art does this by taking representational art and 'abstracting' it, moving it away from a realistic representation of the object, to try to get at the nature of the object rather than reproduce the object. Or it eliminates the object altogether and works in color fields, lines or forms only. The "theory" behind abstract art is that it is not about the object, but about the painter making visible the inner self.

Here are some practical suggestions for designing abstract rugs:

1. Chop a small portion of a photo of an object. Enlarge the small portion to the size of your foundation. Draw this on your foundation.
2. Take a photo, enlarge it to the size of your foundation. Outline the objects you want with a big marker. Cut or slice the enlargement into different pieces. Rearrange them into a mosaic of your liking. Draw lines around various pieces of the mosaic if you want to add a linear element. Draw this on your foundation.
3. Take a photo and enlarge it. Draw thick black lines around the objects. Distort some. Enlarge some of the objects, but not others. Arrange the objects to your liking. Hook stark lines around the objects perhaps like the cubists did.
4. Take a photo, enlarge it, and change up the colors, using unnatural or unexpected colors. Simplify and distort slightly the objects before hooking them.
5. Draw free forms or run free lines across your foundation. Hook by concentrating on color and transition of color.
6. Go geometric, but funky. Keep away from repeated motifs lined up or in quilt blocks. Let the geometrics run around the foundation.
7. Hook colors with no design at all. Just an empty foundation to fill up with color. Hook freely.

Consider joining the 2010 Abstract Challenge over on RHD. I am finding hooking a color field (#7 on my list) to be very liberating.

Kirby Hooking Circle NEWS

Saturday, February 20th, the Kirby Hooking Circle meets, 11:00am-3:30pm, Bethany Christian Church, 3223 Westheimer Road, Houston, TX. Causal hook in. Bring lunch and a friend.

Handmade table is set up for wool, patterns, and hooking related items for sale or swap. All exchanges are made between individuals, so mark all items clearly if you bring them to the table. I will have available my 8-value hue packs and some other goodies.

In addition, at the March 20th Kirby Hooking Circle, I will be facilitating a class on how to hook faces, using my Saint Nicholas face. If you are interested in attending the class and hooking Saint Nicholas, please get in touch with me ASAP (if you haven't already). This means that I am motivated to get the pattern drawn up with instructions, so I will be posting about that once I make it available here on Red Jack Rugs.

Finally, mark your calendars for the First Annual MIDSUMMER KIRBY HOOK IN, Bethany Christian Church, 3223 Westheimer Road, Houston, TX, June 26, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.

Bring a rug to display for our rug show, and consider joining the event's Celestial Challenge by hooking a rug or project featuring a sun and/or moon (approximately 144 hooked square inches) any shape, and exhibit it in our special Celestial Challenge Display.

Hooking all day, Celestial Challenge Display and rug show (1-3 pm), lunch and vendors. $25 for the day, which includes lunch for those who pre-register. So pre-registration by June 1st is highly recommended. To register, or for more information contact Lurie McAdow at luriemcadow@aol.com.

White Tiger Beauty is finished

I finished White Tiger Beauty last night and bound it today. I tried something different with the binding. I used wool strips 1 1/2 inches wide that I folded over the edge and bound off as normal. But after pressing the rug flat, I got the idea to frame it in, so I went back over the edge holding the steam iron about 1/4" above the wool. Then I rolled the wool in toward the rug. It created a 3D wool frame that looks neat.

White Tiger Beauty. 2010. 17" by 17". 4-cut. Original design. Designed, dyed and hooked by April DeConick. Red Jack Rugs Palette dyes: Rosy Cheeks 113,Sand Castle 114, Milk Weed 115, Stormy Sea 120, Antique Black, White; #7 & #8 values of Alexander Blue 109, English Lavender 110, Sugar Plum 111, Raspberry Wine 112; tints and tones of Raspberry Wine 112 and Sugar Plum 111; Textures Stormy Sea 120. Hooked using VIP method (Value Intense Palette).

Get connected to other rug hookers via the internet

I am reminded today that most of us think about our rug hooking mainly in terms of the physical guilds, camps and exhibits we attend. But the internet is opening up a new way to connect to other rug hookers, to share experiences, and to learn.

I thought I would just collect some information in this post about some of the internet groups I have been involved in, especially given that it is the New Year and resolutions are in the air.

Perhaps you want to be encouraged to finish one of those UFOs under your bed? You might find support by joining the internet rug group WORKS IN PROGRESS or challenge yourself to work on it at least ten minutes a day by joining the TEN-MINUTE RUG CHALLENGE.

Or maybe you want to make 2010 the year you learn to do some of your own dyeing? The PALETTE DYEING group might help you meet this goal.

Maybe you want to learn to sketch but have some anxiety about it. Heidi Wulfraat is facilitating the SKETCH BOOK SESSIONS for rug hookers.

Phyllis Lindblade has created a rug hooking merit program which was featured in a recent ATHA Newsletter. The program challenges participants to expand their skills and awareness in a number of categories. You can join the MERIT PROGRAM online.

Ever wanted to hook an abstract but don't know where to begin? Read about the 2010 ABSTRACT RUG CHALLENGE just starting on the Rug Hooking Daily page.

Or maybe you have an idea for a rug class you want to teach but need an audience? Would you consider facilitating an internet rug camp on the subject? Consider becoming a facilitator. Contact Heidi Wulfraat (info@thewoolworks.com) who organizes the rug camps on Rug Hooking Daily.

Internet RUG CAMP on RUG HOOKING DAILY

Heidi Wulfraat on Rug Hooking Daily has just announced the launch of an INTERNET RUG CAMP on RHD. I seriously think that this INTERNET RUG CAMP may change the face of rug hooking, making instruction and projects more accessible for people who cannot attend on-site rug camps. The last time I looked there were already three rug camp classes posted, including Phyllis' MERIT PROGRAM (Hooray!), a sketchbook class with Heidi (Hooray!), and a palette dyeing group that I will facilitate. I think that more are to come very shortly.

Heidi lays down the ground rules as follows:

  • All of our "camp leaders" will be facilitating projects, challenges, or instruction with the intent to share their skills and the love of rug hooking with others.
  • Activities within the RHD "camp" will be free of charge.
  • In other words, Rug Hooking Daily will not form any profit in association with Rug Camp.
  • there cannot be a fee to join a camp group.
  • members of RHD are welcome to join any or all CAMP ACTIVITIES which can be found in the GROUPS section of RHD
  • Please remember that camp projects are meant to feature our facilitators. These folks are working voluntarily, for your enjoyment so be kind and supportive. Check them out on-Line. Get to know them.
  • Facilitators can agree to check in on a class / activity once a month, daily , etc.....
  • The aim of "Camp" is simply to encourage and to spark the imagination and creativity of the entire community.

  • Check out the camp groups that are already forming and consider joining those that inspire you. If you are interested in leading a camp workshop or other such activity, contact Heidi on RHD or e-mail her (hwulfraat@thewoolworks.com). Here is the link to sign in to Rug Hooking Daily if you haven't already but would like to join the 1360 rug hookers who belong to the network. It's a great way to share your rugs with others, meet new friends world-wide who love rug hooking, and participate in instructional and motivational groups and challenges.

    Can you tell that I'm excited?!

    Designing for Rugs 101: Border Design

    Designing the border of your rug presents its own particular challenges. A really successful border says to you, “The rug stops here.” Its function is like a picture frame, it brings the viewer into the center of the rug, pulling the eye from the edge to the inside.

    The initial decision you will need to make about your rug’s border is its type. What are some border types to consider for your rug?

    • Linear ~ The least complex borders are those of repeated straight lines. But lines don’t have to be straight. They can waver and turn like waves and become quite complex. When creating this kind of border, you should consider the direction you will hook the lines since this is the direction the border will flow.
    • Geometric ~ These are enclosed shapes that are repeated in the border. They can be simple like circles, triangles, diamonds, checks, ovals, and the like. Or they may be more detailed shapes like shoes, handprints, hearts, birds, flowers, and whatnot. Shapes like stars, ziz-zags, triangles and fans will move the eye outward because the shapes point outward. This makes the rug feel larger. Shapes pointed inward will do the opposite.
    • Storytime ~ Here the border continues or enhances the story, landscape or picture in the center of the rug. It is usually a broader view of the central story, landscape or picture while the center is a smaller element of that story, landscape or picture.
    • Motif ~ The border here is the main part of the rug while the center, which is very simple, is the place that the eye rests and then is pushed back to look at the border. Motif borders tend to be wider and more complex because of this. They contain the motifs of the rug rather than the center.
    • Script ~ A favorite verse which finishes the story of the rug is fun to try.

    Art Rug Journal: Since Mission Concepción was a Franciscan mission in the 1700s, I have decided to create a border that will feature a saying of St. Francis, one that will highlight the floral aspects of the Mission's frescoes.

    St. Francis was hoeing his garden. A man asked what he would do if he learned he would die before sunset. "I would finish hoeing my garden," he said.

    I also will pick up a triangle design that will be on the lip of the jar, and use it in the border. I want my borders to be a bit irregular, so the saying will be at the top and bottom, while the sides will be a series of triangles. But I will pull some of the flower motifs into the border to create an effect of abundance and overflow.

    There is nothing magical about designing a rug. In the end, the placement of the elements needs to be pleasing to your eye. I just fiddle around with the elements, cutting them out and moving them around on the fabric until I like what I see. I am always editing to simplify my initial ideas. I also use very quick sketches (really doodles) of things to try out placements. Here is one I made this morning.

    Rug Design 101: Central Motif

    Different people start thinking about the elements of the rug design in different orders. Whenever I'm drawing my designs, I usually start with a central motif and then I add the rest of the elements around that. This is the part of the rug design that makes most people nervous because, let's face it, most of us didn't take an art class beyond sixth grade, and, well, for most of us our drawing skills reflect that.

    But not to despair! As long as we have a computer, assess to a copier, and sharpies in hand, we have all we need. What is most important (even vital) is that we are able to find good visuals to use.

    So TIP 1: find pictures of whatever it is you want your central motif to be, print them out, and paste them into your RUG ART JOURNAL. Be aware of copyright laws though, and stick with public domain materials. There are numerous websites offering free clip art and Dover publishes a rich treasury of public domain art for reuse.

    TIP 2: use your own photographs

    TIP 3: use common objects which are especially useful for drawing templates. Just trace around the bottom of glasses, plates, and bottles and you will have instant perfect shapes. I designed Jack in the Red by picking up autumn leaves, photocopying them, cutting them out, and arranging them on my foundation. Then I drew around them. Other natural objects to trace around are hands, feet, rocks, tree branches. There is a story of an old guy who laid his cat down on his foundation and just traced around her! Why not? The results will be unique and funky.

    TIP 4: if your rug is for a particular room in your house, perhaps you might pick up inspiration from the décor like fabric or wallpaper or quilt blocks from a bedspread.

    TIP 5: don't be afraid of using letters, from your own hand or printed out from your computer. Consider how easy it is to select fun fonts and size them to fit the space perfectly.

    Rug Art Journal: For Mission Concepción rug, my central motif is taken directly from the photograph my husband took. All I did was print out an 8 by 10 of the photos, went to Kinkos, enlarged them by 200%. I then took my sharpie and drew a dark line around the outer edges of the elements in the photo (see FIRST PHOTO). Then I went over to the BIG copier (the one that does blue print size) and I enlarged it again until I had the size I wanted. Then I went home and am in the process of arranging the different elements on a piece of paper the size of the rug I want to hook. So I cut around the different elements and am placing them here and there on this sheet (see SECOND PHOTO). I'm not satisfied with the placement yet, but I'm getting there.

    Rug Design 101: What type of rug?

    The fourth initial decision that needs to be made in the design process if the type of rug you want to hook. It would be impossible for me to provide an exhaustive list of rug types since the possibilities are unlimited, but here are a few of ideas.

    • Celebration rug ~ a rug that celebrates a personal event like the birth of a child, a wedding, an anniversary, a retirement, or a proud achievement
    • Commemoration rug ~ a rug that commemorates a local, national, or world event
    • Memory rug ~ a rug that records your special memories
    • Portrait rug ~ a rug with a portrait of a pet, a favorite person, or even yourself
    • Animal rug ~ a rug that shows off your favorite animal, fish, bird, reptile, or insect
    • Ethnic rug ~ a rug with formal ethnic motifs (Native American, Persian, Turkish, Colonial American, Celtic, Greek, Indian, African, Hispanic, Asian, on and on)
    • Children’s rug ~ a rug based on a children’s drawing
    • Pictorial rug ~ a rug that tells the story of a place or landscape
    • Geometric rug ~ a rug that is filled with geometric shape
    • Floral rug ~ a rug of flowers or herbs or leaves
    • Wallpaper rug ~ a rug to match a wallpaper or fabric motif
    • Quilt rug ~ a rug inspired by quilt blocks
    • Stained glass rug ~ a rug inspired by stained glass art
    • Favorite Thing rug ~ a rug honoring your “favorite thing”
    • Story rug ~ a rug that tells a story including folk life village story rugs
    • Saying rug ~ a rug that has a phrase as a central motif
    • Abstract rug ~ a rug of abstract design
    • Fruit rug ~ a rug of fruits
    • Holiday rug ~ a rug for a special holiday

    Rug Art Journal: For the Mission Concepción rug, I think I am in the mood to hook a wide-cut floral using value rather than color as my guide. I want to multiply the floral motif in the rug, making it the dominant feature.

      Even good ideas often don't work

      Unfortunately the button eyes did not work for Scare-Jack. When I put them on, they overpowered his face and the rug. They were all I noticed about the rug. So I took them off and reassessed.

      Since I am trying for an embellished fun stand up piece here, I have now tried appliqued eyes. Do these work?

      As for the shape, I had originally planned to run a line around the piece roughly shadowing the elements. But as I started to do this, I was not in love with it and kept wanting to put the rug away and not finish it.

      Then my friend Lurie (and fellow TEN-MINUTE RUG HOOKER) gave me a fantastic idea for the final shape of the piece. At the last Stash Sisters guild meeting, she suggested a tombstone shape. What a great idea! Since I want it for a stand up, and to finish it like a pillow, a tombstone shape it is!

      Rug Design 101: Initial Decisions

      You will need to make some initial decisions about the rug you are designing, but keep in mind that these can be adjusted (and probably will!) later if you change your mind about any of them as you work through the design process.

      SIZE
      You need to figure out what size rug you want to design. Will it be a small table mat? A large piece? A REALLY large rug? Are there any space limitations for the rug you have in mind? In your art journal, jot down the size of rug you plan to design.

      Rug Art Journal: The Mission Concepción Rug I am designing will be a large rug, in the range of 3' by 5'. Or 2.5' by 6'.

      SHAPE
      What shape do you want your rug to be? Do you have any space limitations for the completed rug that might dictate the shape? Do you want a rectangle? Square? Round? Half-round? Oval? Triangle? A shape that follows the outline of the motif? The creative thing about rug hooking is that rugs can take any shape you want to give them.

      Rug Art Journal: In the case of the Mission Concepción Rug I am designing in this blog series, the shape of the image above the door lends itself quite naturally to a half-round space. But I don't want a half-round rug. I would like a long rectangle.

      FUNCTION
      The function of the rug should be determined. Will it be a floor rug? If so, will it be in a high traffic area or a low traffic area? Will it be a tablemat, a wall hanging, a fire screen, an ornament, a pillow, a handbag, a doll, a bed rug, a Christmas stocking or a piece of clothing?

      Rug Art Journal: The Mission Concepción Rug is not being made for a specific place in my home. It will probably be hung. Although I might use it as a wide runner for my dining room table?!

      Virtual Rug Hooking Classroom

      I am collecting on-line instructions about rug hooking in order to create a virtual rug hooking classroom. The start of this classroom can be found in my menu bar above labeled: Virtual Classroom. If you know of other links to instructions about rug hooking and dyeing that I do not have yet, please leave me information or a link in the comments so that I can add it to the list I've started.

      Rug Design 101: Getting Started

      I've been asked by a reader to blog about my process of rug designing. What a good idea! I am going to create a series of posts occasionally on the subject under the label Rug Design 101. Even more than that, I'm going to create a new rug design in the process!

      I have a couple of things that I tell my graduate students who come to me struggling to write a paper, not knowing what to say or where to go. I tell them, "Just get started. Write something. Anything. Don't worry about the whole thing right now."

      The same is true about rug design. Just get started. Anyone can do this. Really. With all the computer tools available to us now, designing beautiful and pleasing rugs is fairly simple.

      When I first get started, it is usually because I have come across an image or a photo that is inspiring - something that jumps out at me and says, "I need to be a rug." This initial inspiration is important because it motivates me to carry through with the rug and complete it. It is the passion for the subject that keeps me going. So find an inspiration - a photo, a memento, a drawing, etc. Find an image that inspires you to turn it into a rug.

      So here is my initial inspiration for my new rug. When I visited Mission Concepción in San Antonio with my family recently, I turned around in the baptismal chapel and was struck by this painting created in the 1700s framing the doorway. It immediately jumped out at me and said, "I need to be a rug." This is the picture my husband shot of the painting which will become my rug.

      In the next post, I will discuss initial design decisions step-by-step.