April 25, 2010

Red Curl

Red Curl, hand dyed wool on linen, 11 1/2 inches in diameter

Red Curl is done, the curl tighter than I'd expected and the color transitions not quite as smooth, but I still like its odd shape, which makes me think of a snail. If you look at the study and the beginning of work on the piece in this post, you'll see that the two ends had more space between them than they do in the finished work. Something about the hooking must have caused the shape to tighten.

The changes in color don't flow, but I prefer the liveliness that comes from bouncing from one tone to the next. If I'd wanted exact color transitions, I would have to do some "jar dyeing": dye placed in several jars in graduating amounts––1 teaspoon, 2 teaspoons, 4 teaspoons, etc––with small pieces of wool. But since I'm not particularly interested in perfection, my less precise method of dipping the wool works for me.

Below is Red Curl hung between the two south facing windows in my living room, above a group of objects gathered a few years ago for still life photography.


  1. I like the red curl for its quirkyness especially, it is an object that doesn't want to play by the rules, and that negative space is very interesting. I keep wondering how it would look with the opening to the interior space at the top so the 'room' would flow into it? well, I'll just pull this off your site and see for myself. P.S. wonderful collection of objects you have.

  2. Altoon,
    Perhaps you might like to see how this work looked in the blog list visualbox this morning.
    The little square frame with white background to the red curl and the white behind that on the page....and the image sang out to me and I was pulled into your blog in rapture.
    I had been out for a morning walk in my neighbourhood which is rather green and the trees are full of seed pods at the moment... I was having a kind of reverie on small things and how I must try putting a single seed in a simple frame and I thought of that book by Arundhati Roy - 'the god of small things' and away I was on this reverie of the single image of such beauty and clarity. Maybe you can appreciate what I saw here that was so special - I hope!
    I walked along thinking I have to write down this idea and make experiments with it!
    This work of your worked powerful on that level but also is amazing to see here....with the subtlety of colur and the edge also which is very satisfying for its raw, made by hands look which gives it another kind of visual strength.

  3. Upon close examination; I feel like the REd Curl has an almost religious quality. The variation in the color creates a halo around the negative space that appears to be the head of an angel.

  4. rapp, it's funny how different the work looks upside down; the large end pushes forward in space instead of sitting back. And the space does flow into the center. I like it that way too. The shape is more like a letter if the opening is to the side, so I prefer up or down.

    Sophie, the shape does have a pull, partly I think because of the circle, a emotional shape. I took a look at the thumbnail on your blog,and it does have presence. I'm glad that you like the homemadeness of the work, because I'm also drawn to that quality in rug hooking.

    And anon (aka Cheryl): religiosity is certainly not a quality I aimed for, but it's nice to think of a spiritual dimension to the work.

  5. Love how this one came out, and the decision to include gradations of tone in the color.

  6. Your red curl is WILD compared to some of your other elegantly hooked work. This one is nicely rough around the edges-- the backing shows. The colors are not graduated perfectly. This shade of red is organic, like rust or blood. This could be a lock of shorn hair from the head of a forest giant!
    P.S. I am thinking of dyeing my next canvas-or burlap- backing, before I hook it.

  7. gee, Julia, I'm so glad you think this piece is wild; it's really fun to work outside the box of the traditional rectangle. And I love that you see the red as an organic color. What is showing around the hooking is the binding, not the backing. If I was more oriented towards perfection, I would have used a closer color of binding, or dyed it, but I'm not, so I didn't.

  8. I am a rug hooker also, mostly primitive designs, and found your blog through a Pinterest link. I am drawn to your hooked pieces...maybe because they arecompletely opposite of what I hook....I'm a Gemini....who knows. Hooked pieces do tend to grow as they are being hooked and that is why your space is closer at the bottom. Your shading is beautiful! :-)