July 25, 2011

New Hooked Wool Drawings

2011 #27, hand dyed wool and egg tempera on linen, 17 3/4 x 10 1/2 inches.

I always look forward to working on these "drawings" on linen, in between my more complicated hooked projects. There is a lightness and humor to them, a feeling of experiment, that I enjoy. When I'm in the middle of a new batch, I think of only working on them and abandoning my other textiles, but then I look at the saturated color and texture of those works and realize that each body of work has its rewarding qualities.

In #27 above, I was thinking of a narrow hanging scroll format, so cut the linen fairly close on the right. I wanted to give a sense of the rectangle almost leaning on the edge, just as the curling lines rest on the rectangle's right edge. After I cut the linen I thought that perhaps it was cropped too close, but I'm getting used to it.

2011 #28, hand dyed wool and egg tempera on linen, 13 1/2 x 13 inches.

This piece was inspired by Kenneth Noland concentric circle paintings, though I made the central circle into a square. My original idea was to have the square entirely filled in will color, but after I had hooked two rows I felt it was right for the composition, so left it at that.

2011 #29, hand dyed wool and egg tempera on linen, 14 x 11 inches.

All the drawings I've done thus far have had a composition centered on the linen field. I got an interesting suggestion from my artist friend (rappel): why not have empty centers? This question got me thinking about new ways of using the surface of the linen; having lines and shapes close to the edges creates different kinds of tensions. In my first two attempts I have a painted shape at bottom right; in #29 there's an expanse between the linear and painted shape, which I hope is filled with some "pull" between them; in #30 a zigzag leads to the red triangle. So, do you think this may be a fruitful compositional direction?

2011 #30, hand dyed wool and egg tempera on linen, 14 x 11 inches.


  1. these really ARE drawings, they have that kind of visual thinking-out-loud that I appreciate in drawing. the first one reminds me of asemic writing. the second of ritualistic art - these basic shapes we can all use and reuse in our visual conversations. the last two seem to open up a different kind of space, more ambiguous, active - the space between entities where something happens - something invisible yet very much present.

  2. Salute yr new direction! Not too cropped ( need that negative space to show off dynamic curves) and like the path of shifting tension with "empty" center. Because, of course it is not.

  3. Thank you, rappel and Julie for your positive comments. When I start something a bit new, I'm never quite sure of its value, so the feedback is welcome. And Julie, I'm glad you don't think #27 is too cropped.
    rappel, I have a couple of sketches for works with the type of curving line as in #27; they've become more interesting to me with your mention of asemic writing. And the ritual aspect of #28 is something hard to avoid with a central circle, and I was a little wary of trying it; I thought that the medium might lessen its conventional image.

  4. One of the tenets of art is to do the thing you are never supposed to do, like put the image dead center or leave the center "empty." But as julie says, it's never empty. No. 29 may be the most dynamic because we try to visually and mentally connect the two images the way we think it should be done.