January 3, 2010

A New Rug Hooking Project: Roundabout

After my visit to the Metropolitan Museum of Art three weeks ago, I was inspired by the pots and porcelain and glass that I'd seen there (see this post on Chinese porcelain, and this one on the Greek and Roman study collection.)The curves, full bodied or narrow and refined, stayed in my mind; photographing them helped me to feel their shapes and keep them in memory. I did a number of thumbnail sketches––which is where I first work out my compositional ideas––placing a form alone or next to another in the frame. I then added color, using either watercolor or egg tempera. You can see one composition––of a narrow tongue-like shape on top of a rounder one––in three different color schemes.

I decided that I would use this diptych for my next project, so did a larger drawing; I liked the bulbous shapes, and the format allows for a moment of uncertainty between one panel and the next: we think the shape is echoed from left to right, but there's a variation in outline that is a small surprise, a disjunction.

In order to have a larger amount of color variation in the positive shapes than is possible to achieve in pot dyeing, I lay the wool in a wide pan and dropped the different colors onto it; the folds in the wool add to the irregularity of color as the dye reaches exposed areas with greater strength. I dropped some of the green color from the background here and there along with a warm brown. As you can see below, this process gave me a rich range of hue, as colors mixed in uneven patterns.

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