Zoo Faces for ATHA

My latest project is Zoo Faces, which I am teaching at the ATHA biennial in Denver in August. I plan to have as many 7 x 7 inch animal faces hooked as possible so that students have their choice of mats to hook themselves as they learn my Zonalism technique. I just finished five faces, and hope to add another five over the next two months. The faces are all hooked with #6-cut straps leftover from my larger projects.

If you are interested in the class, check back occasionally to my website to see new Zoo Faces posted as I finish them.

Also, if there is an animal you want me to create, leave me a comment or send me a message by email.


Footloose and Fancy Free

I have been hard at work on a new wool snapshots rug.  This one is another panoramic but a little longer and wider than Joy Ride.  I felt that I had to go with this bigger size because the children in the photo are quite small and I would loose all detail if I hooked a smaller piece.

This rug is based on a family photo taken in Galveston at the pier at Christmastime.  I loved the photo immediately because it showed the pleasure of a carefree moment of childhood.  For me, the rug is bittersweet because the moment captured also depicts the last of childhood for these three cousins who were on the brink of young adulthood, when such moments of childhood freedom would become part of their past.

Footloose and Fancy Free.  2018. 18" x 33". Designed, dyed, and hooked by April D. DeConick.

Footloose and Fancy Free.  2018. 18" x 33". Designed, dyed, and hooked by April D. DeConick.

Original Photo

Original Photo

Wool Snapshots Class: Finished Pieces 2

Jean Boeckeler sent me photos of her finished 7" by 7" pieces.  She started both of them in the Green Mountain Rug Camp. 

One is Max, her husband's devoted cat.  What I love about this piece is Jean's choice of contrast and color with the purple blanket.  The photo showed a cream blanket that didn't do much for the image.  But wow the purple gives the whole mat a feeling of happiness.  Note too the great plaid background hooked linearly and the whiskers embroidered on top of the hooking. 

The other is her daughter as a bride at her wedding in 2013.  Jean remembers how lovely her daughter looked with gorgeous flowers and a pearl headband that she grabbed at the last minute.  Jean embellished the hair with simple pearl beads in memory of that moment.

Wool Snapshots Class: Finished Piece 1

The finished mats are coming in from the Wool Snapshots class at Green Mountain Rug Camp.  Judy Shields is the first to send me her finished piece to share on my blog.  She choose to hook a Christmas photo taken of her grandchildren last year.  The baby girl is 14 months old and her brother is 9 years old.  Judy wanted to make the mat extra special, so she cut some of the fabric from the actual dress that the baby wore and hooked with that.  She embellished with a little red flower at her waist.  She also textured the background with the basket weave stitch to set the children apart from their surroundings.  I love the way she hooked the shadows in the boy's shirt.  She framed it under glass.

Joy Ride

I just finished a 10" x 20" panoramic snapshot rug of my sister and I riding bikes last summer on Mackinac Island.  Wade snapped this photo of us with a long lens so that the photo would be candid.  This picture is extra special to me because I had undergone surgery about six weeks prior, and the recovery was tough.  So to be able to get on that bike and ride around the island felt like a miracle.  All the more so because I shared that ride with my sister, but also my husband, son, and niece.

Joy Ride, 2018. 10" x 20", #6-cut wool on linen.  Designed, dyed, and hooked by April. D. DeConick.

Joy Ride, 2018. 10" x 20", #6-cut wool on linen.  Designed, dyed, and hooked by April. D. DeConick.

Original Photo 2017.  Wade Greiner.

Original Photo 2017.  Wade Greiner.

Red Geranium

I am continuing on the Mackinac Island series with a third 5" by 7" mat called Red Geranium.  Anyone who has been to the island is awestruck by the profuse blooming red geraniums, how they grace window boxes everywhere and march in white troughs along the porch of the Grand Hotel.  I figured that any series on Mackinac Island has to include this delight.

Red Geranium, Mackinac Island Series, 2018, 5" x 7", designed and hooked by April D. DeConick, linen foundation with hand-dyed scrap wool.

New Mackinac Island Series

I still have halfway to go around the border of my bench cover with the Bighorn sheep.  Tired of hooking rectangles!  So I pulled out a series of wool snapshot mats that I wanted to do for some time and got started.  This is a series of 5" x 7" photos taken on our summer trips to Mackinac Island.  I don't know how many will finish the series, but here are the two I did this weekend.

Tea at Fort Mackinac 2018

Alexander and Horse 2018

Terryl finishes her wool snapshot

Back a couple of years, I taught my wool snapshots workshop at Sauder Village, and, since it was only a day-long course, most students did not finish there work on site.  Terryl Ostmo got busy with life but recently returned to her project and finished it.  She sent me this picture, which shows how adorable these miniature pieces are.  Just wonderful how she captured the delight of her son Karl on his third birthday.

Rome Triptych

I started this project last summer after returning from Rome.  It consists of three 10" x 10" hooked canvases framed in a triptych series.  Went back to it in August and finally finished them in white wooden boxes.  The idea was to create a panel of wool snapshot memories of our adventures in Rome.  Alex, Wade and I each selected photos of ourselves and various artifacts we especially loved.  Then I hooked them into this series using my scrap materials.

My canvas contains a photo taken of me at the Dionysus House of Mysteries at Pompeii.  A clay sculpture of Demeter and a marble of Athena.  Wade's canvas contains David, Venus, and Galileo. Wade's photo is one of him sporting a hat he bought in a Roman bazaar.  Alexander's canvas has the famous mosaic of Alexander the Great and an ivory mask of Apollo.  Alexander is sporting a cap that he bought in Rome at a men's store, and wore almost every day on our trip.

Rome Triptych 2016. Three 10" x 10" framed canvases. 6-cut wool on linen.  Designed, Dyed and Hooked by April D. Deconick

Rome Triptych 2016. Three 10" x 10" framed canvases. 6-cut wool on linen.  Designed, Dyed and Hooked by April D. Deconick

More student rugs

I am really impressed.  Here are more student rugs coming in from my Wool Snapshots class at Sauder Village.   Keep in mind that these are all really small, only 7" by 7".  Most used #6 cuts with some #4 thrown in.

Martha Rosenfeld created her impression of Edie and Marianne in Hawaii.  She used soft muted colors which bring out feelings of calm and joy, which must have been what they were feeling on vacation in Hawaii.  The palm tree in the upper left corner was an an important element that Martha saved (rather than edited out) because it is a location signal. 

Jan Grose did a portrait of her mom in stunning vivid colors.  The hot pinks and yellows bring liveliness to the face, and the cool blue background keeps it all grounded.  There is no mistaking who this is!

I will post more student rugs as they come in.   These are wonderful examples of wool snapshots.  And these are the first attempts at creating these small portraits by these rug artists!  Wait to see what they will do once they have a dozen of these snapshots under their belts.

 

Impressions of Sauder Village

I know this is long overdue, but when I got home from Sauder Village, I was so far behind at home and at work that I have been playing catch up all week.  So this morning I have a bit of a breather (although laundry awaits me) to share some impressions of my visit to Sauder this year. 

Here are pictures of me with my rugs and Alexander with his.

My Wool Snapshots class was totally fun.  Thanks to my sister Tiffany for helping out as my TA.  All the women in the class were troopers and went home with pieces that were started and headed in good directions.  I want to share with you Stacie Littlejohn's piece which she has just finished and sent to me.  It is so wonderful capturing the impression of her little boy climbing his first tree (he is 38 now and her grandchildren climb the same tree).

Other impressions.  Well the Sauder Award went to the leaves that all of us hooked for the Wool Bomb.  Mine was a rainbow leaf where I tried to used all the colors in the color wheel (top row in the center).

Loved these pieces by Marilyn Becker and Kristen Brown and Martha Lowry.  Marilyn's piece had intricate work on the lace dress that was stunning in real life, and the whole thing was created with wool that Marilyn dyed with natural dyes from nuts and berries.  Kirsten's pig was so cute with all the wonderful color.  Martha's primitive dog is lovely with soft muted color that gives the rug a feeling of quiet.  All these are in the Celebration of hooked rugs this year.

Really loved Susan Feller's movement toward fiber art and exploring straight lines in these barn doors. 

Liked these impressionistic leaves by Lori LaBerge.

After Sauder

Had a great trip to Sauder Village this year.  Here are some photo highlights. 

Satu 2014.  36" by 48".  Designed, dyed and hooked by April D. DeConick.  Exhibited in originals category.

Mary Magdalene 2013. 30" by 40".  Designed, dyed and hooked by April D. DeConick.  Exhibited in the Celebration special exhibit.

Nine series 2012-2013.  30" by 30".  Designed, dyed and hooked by April D. DeConick.  Exhibited in special Rug Hooking Magazine exhibit.

Maggie 2014.  12" by 12".  Hooked by Alexander DeGreiner.

I was honored to be awarded the blue ribbon for the invitational dye challenge for my eggplant gradation and sparkle wools.

Back from Nova Scotia

We just got back from a wonderful touring vacation, just driving around visiting family, friends and new places.  Along the route, I had the privilege of meeting Deanne Fitzpatrick, visiting her inspiring studio, and teaching a group of talented rug hookers my process for creating stunning mats from snapshots.   If you are interested yourself, I have written about this in a step-by-step instructional book available through LuLu self-publishing (refer to the left sidebar of this blog).

Wool Snapshot hooked by Susan Tirone, 2013. 

One of my students already finished her mat and sent me pictures of the final product to share with you.  Very impressive indeed!  Susan Tirone hooked this mat from a photo of her son and his friend.  It measures only 7" by 7" and was done with #6 cut wool scraps. 

Photos are used with written permission of Susan Tirone.

Wool Snapshot hooked by Susan Tirone, 2013. 

A Natural Beauty

I have been slowly working on another snapshot portrait this week.  There is an old photo of my mom that holds many memories for me.  So even though the exposure from the film camera wasn't the best, I dug it out of the family album.  I scanned it into the computer and got to work.

I did not edit the snapshot very much (I usually do) because the essence of this photo is where my mom is.  Her favorite place.  Glacier National Park.  She was drawn to the natural beauty of the mountains.  Here she is awed by the sparkling light on the lake and the freedom that the mountain landscape offers to all those who attend to it.

As I hooked the piece, I was taken back to my childhood, to living on a farm, vacationing in a camper, and enjoying being together with my family.  I miss you Mom.

My new book is now available

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I have been working on writing and illustrating a book on how to make snapshot portraits.  It turned out really well.  I wrote it as a step-by-step instructional book.  It is 68 pages, full color, 59 photos and illustrations.  It is professionally bound and available at LuLu.com.  See the left side bar for the direct link for ordering it if you are interested.

Finished with The Three of Us

My experiment with hooking really bitty 5" by 5" snapshots has worked out well.  I finished the third portrait in my series The Three of Us.  It is of Alexander. 

Alexander.  The Three of Us series. 2013. 5" by 5".

My idea is to take all three and frame them in big black frames.  I need to find some kind of decorative door or fence to put up on my mantel.  Then I want to hang the three frames on the white door or fence.  I have been having a tough time finding a decorative door or fence piece.  Any ideas where I might find such a thing?

Something I am learning as a fiber artist.  There is a reason why artists work on one subject for years, or one technique.  They work up the subject or technique over and over and over again.  As I have been working on these snapshot portraits, I have found that the more I do the better the pieces become.  There is something about repetition and human learning at play here.  There is something about experimentation leading to a new insight that then can be applied to the subject or technique to improve it or alter it.

I also am finding that creating series of mats that "go together" in an arrangement has its own challenges.  The Three of Us was no exception.  My idea was to hook each portrait with a dominant color that represents the person to me.  So Wade is blue, Alexander is yellow, and I am red.  These turned out to be the three primary colors, which was kind of neat.  The problem came when I hooked Alexander's portrait.  I did not realize that because he is a sunny yellow that his portrait would come up lighter than the other two.  So the highlights really stood out when I framed it up next to the other two.  I had no choice but to take it out of the frame and reduce the yellow highlights.  It is still brighter than the other two, but at least it works in the arrangement now.

The second even bittier wool snapshot

April.  The Three of Us Series. 2013. 5" by 5".

I just finished a 5" by 5" headshot of me.  This is for the series called "The Three of Us" that I am framing in big black frames.  The foundation is left exposed as a mat in the picture.  Here is me.  It is a shot from last month when we went out to enjoy the bluebonnets in Brenham, Texas.  I wore a very pretty white dress with a pearled collar.  I think that I was able to get the impression of the pearling in my hooked version of the snapshot.

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This is what Wade's picture looks like framed.

Even bittier rugs

Ever thought of hooking a 5" by 5" portrait and framing it in a large square frame?  I got the idea from another artist, Daniel Kornrumpf, who works in embroidery.  He creates intricate faces that are really small and then frames them up big.  They look amazing.   His website is HERE.  Go and visit and be ready to be stunned.

Wade.  The Three of Us Series.  2013.  5" by 5".  Designed, dyed and hooked by April D. DeConick

So I decided to give it a try now that I have hooked enough of these small portraits that I am getting the hang of it.  I went smaller last night and in one sitting created this wonderful image of my husband Wade.  I have now mounted it in large square frame, leaving the foundation as a kind of "mat" around it.

I will be doing two more of these, one of me and one of Alexander.  I want to hang them as a group above my mantel.  I am calling it "The Three of Us". 

Loopgram: Snapshot Portraits 3

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The third step is to use a permanent ink marker to draw your lines onto your foundation. 

If you are doing a gallery canvas frame technique keep in mind that the edges of the foundation will not be bound but will show.  So first draw a 7" by 7" square in the center of a 20" by 20" finished edge foundation piece.  Use a pencil to do this!  And do not draw anything outside this line.

Next attach your transfer fabric and center your motif as you want it inside the pencil square.  Use ink marker to make the transfer.

Loopgram: Snapshot Portraits 2

Transfer fabric over black and white print out of phot

Transfer fabric over black and white print out of phot

The second step in creating a Snapshot Portrait is to select a photo and get it transferred to your foundation.  I use digital photos, which I crop with a square in my photo program.    I play with the photo on my iPad using different photo filters until I have something I like.  Also make sure to save a black and white version of the photo as well as a color photo.  

These need to be enlarged to 7" by 7" square.  I use a program called PhotoRazor to do this.  It is a free download on the web.  Just run a google search and it will turn up.

Print 2 copies of the black and white version and 1 copy of the color in the 7" by 7" square.

Lay your transfer fabric over one of the black and white copies of your photo and draw around the light and dark areas, outlining your subject.  Reduce what you choose to draw.  The fewer elements the better.  These are small!