November 15, 2012

New Hooked Wool Drawings: Contained and Free

2012 #18, hand dyed wool and egg tempera on linen, 15 x 14 in. 

When I start thinking about making new hooked wool drawings, I go through my pages of thumbnail sketches, looking for images that interest me. I sometimes want to explore a particular type of composition, such as one that will fill the entire surface, or one that is more geometric. Last week I chose both: the somewhat strict geometry of #18, an oval contained within a rectangle, which contrasted with #19's free movement across the surface. 

#18 detail

 Although the oval is held by the rectangle, it isn't a regular shape, but more wavy and uncertain. I found it hard to get the smooth transitions needed for a pure shape using this particular wool, a tweed fabric that I had overdyed with blue. I liked the variation in the color so stuck with it; I even like the quavery line. At first I thought I was going to fill the entire oval with hooked wool, but once I saw the line, I realized it was enough; I liked the emptiness of the form alongside the yellow paint.

2012 #19, hand dyed wool and egg tempera on linen, 14 x 12 5/8 in. 

Here, just a simple flowing line and loop, with a yellow diamond as exclamation point, animates the surface. 

#19 detail

I fiddled with the placement of the line and chose to have it seem to be pushed up and over by the yellow shape, whose straight sides stand assertively below the softer round of the purple loop, the thin paint refusing to take a back seat to the sculptural woolen hillocks. 


  1. As a decorative painter, I'm so impressed your ability to work in such a small scale and make your ideas read as expansive, free designs. Well done!

  2. So cool! While my hooking isn't overly traditional, I usually think to use the wool (or the cotton or the denim or the ribbon) as the crayon to color things IN.

  3. Thanks Shannon and Laura; I'm glad you like these.
    Laura, a couple of years ago a friend mentioned how much she liked my hooked wool pieces when they were just started, before they were filled in, which gave me the idea to make these works.

  4. Love the quirky line on the contained one.