Recreating Winter Wonderlands
Seeing hooked rugs of winter scenes definitely isn't as common as seeing mats depicting bright and colourful autumn and summer designs. I suppose not many people look at a soft ivory and think "hmm, I'd really enjoy hooking an entire rug of this". It takes a different kind of bird to truly love and frequently find inspiration in those long winter months; even though it is the time when hookers are their busiest. To me however, there'd be nothing more cozy than sitting curled up in a blanket with a cup of coffee and hooking the ethereal winter landscape that's outside of your window onto the rug sitting in front of you. Do you ever go to a friends house and notice how many paintings or photos they have hung up take place in the winter? It's because they're beautiful to look at. A charming photo of children making snow angels in crisp white snow with their cheeks all rosy, or a horse drawn sleigh making its way through evergreens, these are the type of images that you could be recreating! When winter comes, go outside and crunch around in freshly fallen snow, notice how quiet it makes everything, watch it tinkle down and blanket everything it touches.
Winter themed rugs are probably not hooked as often because of their colour schemes and because you don't see many patterns floating around of them. Pale mottled greys, ivories, frosty blues, pale mauves and purples, dark blue greens; these are all beautiful when you see them melded together to create a snowy masterpiece. And the textures, the sparkle and the different things you could incorporate into a winter rug, the possibilities are endless.
Next time the snow falls and you're feeling blue about the oncoming of winter, stop and look around, try to see the snow as a delicate decoration to your already inspiring world.
Roadblocks to Your Creativity
The following are some habits that may be keeping you from accessing your full creativity without you even being aware of it! Keep an eye out for these routines that could be hindering your hooking:
-Keeping the same books on your shelves for years, try switching up your books about every year or so, or when you're done scouring them, donate them.
-Watching TV and Netflix a lot, screens keep you from experiencing the world around you.
-Pinterest: it has a way of pulling you into it's DIY vortex of doom but beware, things don't always look the same on a screen as they do printed out in a book or once you actually create them. An in-person visual is always your best option.
-Relying on your old tricks every time you take on a new project, without tweaking them a little bit or modifying them to suit the new things. Take advice from your friends and fellow hookers every now and then, you may discover your new favourite technique.
-Not using new fabrics and materials in your work. Using the same old stash repeatedly can eventually give your rugs a dreary appearance and make them unintentionally all look the same. Explore new materials you don't usually play with, and frequently buy new pieces of stuff that catches your eye, it doesn't need to be excessive, just don't use the same cut up sweater for the next 3 years.
-Asking the same people for their opinions over and over again. You get the opinions for others to get an outlook that isn't yours, by asking the same people for theirs all the time, you're defeating the purpose.
-Sticking to your favourite artists for inspiration in your rugs. Artists are always evolving and there's always new people on the scene, look for new motivation and creativity in other people from time to time.
-Not keeping a notebook is a big no-no. Your brain is like an endless abyss up there, not jotting down your thoughts, ideas and doodles means there's less of a chance you'll ever retrieve them again once they slip from the front of your mind. Even keeping a list on your Notes app in your smartphone can work.
Journal : Tiny Landscapes
I have stayed home from my downtown studio for over a week. Of course I have worked on my online courses, email, and I have hooked.
I have made six small landscapes each 8 inches by 8 inches. Over time I have made over 100 of these. Sometimes I think that I have made every angle possible than I remember that landscape, colour, light, and perspective make this impossible.
First of all the landscape itself has so many angles bumps, styles and possibilities that there is no way I could ever get closed to getting bored. I just have to seek out new possibilities . I cannot rely on what I see everyday. We get used to looking at things the same way. Photography is a great resource for this. You get to see the landscape from different perspectives.
Then of course there is colour, which can be dictated by the time of year or even the time of day. Colour is another infinite possibility. The problem is we are atttracted to the same palettes over and over again. We need to stretch ourselves, not to palettes we do not like, but to palletttes that intrigue us. Sometimes new materials do this.
Light is another factor that makes hooking landscapes interesting. Of course this is just another word for colour on some levels. But the light creates a tone for the whole piece, small as it may be and dictates the tones of every colour you will use. John O’Donohue, the Irish poet and Philosopher, and a favorite writer of mine, said , you can never see the landscape twice because the light is constantly painting it. I love the infinite possibilities this way of looking at things gives you.
Finally Perspective also changes how you can hook these tiny landscapes. Are you on top of the mountain, or sitting at the foot of it. The view will be completely different either way. You can reimagine every little rug you make simply by putting yourself at another vantage point.
Isn’t something? The idea of infinity applied to tiny landscapes. I think I just went through this idea as if it were a mathematical proof!
Now I am back to the frame. With so many possibilities. Oh joy.
Tips for Hooking Big Rugs
-Make sure you start out with enough wool to complete your large rug.
-You don't have to use every colour throughout the entire rug, using a similar shade in different areas works well and will keep the design light.
-Have the rug set up on a frame in a visible place so that you get into the habit of hooking a little bit every day. This is a good habit to get into.
-If you're getting bored make a design or colour change instead of putting the whole thing away.
-Try not to get held up by not knowing what colour to use in an area, you can remove a small area of colour at any point without affecting the rest of your rug.
-Borders are a good way to tie together a large rug.
-Big rugs are hard to complete sometimes so stay focused on just getting it done and not necessarily making it perfect in every way.
-Be patient, you won't know how it's going to look until it's done and you can step back from it and see it for what it is.
-You can create a big rug out of small patterns that you've repeated over the whole rug.
The Makings of Moody Skies
-A stormy sky is unsettled and has a lot of drama, as well as movement and flow.
-A stormy sky is typically created from greys, blues and creams.
-You can use deep shades of grey, grey-blues and grey-greens to accentuate the heaviness of an impending storm.
-Clouds should be lightest of greys, creams or pale yellows to emphasize that the sky is darker than usual. colour. In the rug above it is just grey areas outlined and a cream background. Very simple idea, but it works so well.
Experiment with your skies. You can create interesting moody skies by experimenting just with colour.
A Lesson on Templates
A template is a cut out or stencil that is used to trace a design onto a burlap or linen backing. A template can be made of hard cardboard, paper or plastic, really it's all up to you. They're used to produce your own design on your backing and gives you the freedom to create without feeling like you need to be able to draw or draw well. Templates are very useful when it comes to symmetrical designs or drawings that incorporate the same pattern multiple times.
In older times women used to save their brown paper bags from buying fresh produce and copy designs off of china or really whatever their hearts desired, so the pattern could be used again.
You can also enlarge a design on a photocopier, cut them out and use them for a bigger sized rug.
Lay your templates onto your backing to configure your design before tracing them, you can also practice on paper so you can get a better idea of what your pattern will end up looking like. Make sure to use permanent marker when tracing your templates. If you don't end up liking the way your pattern looks you can always flip your burlap or linen over and use the blank side!!