November 13, 2010

Something New: Hooked Rug "Sketches"

2010 #1; hand dyed wool on linen, bounded by masking tape; 12 x 9 1/2 inches.

I begin a new hooked rug by outlining the forms to be filled in by the mass of looped wool strips. A couple of times friends have told me that they like the work as it's just begun, with a line of color moving across the warm linen surface; so, one day I picked up a small piece of linen, rummaged through my piles of thumbnail sketches, my mounds of scraps of dyed wool, and made the "sketch" you see above: quick, simple, and fun, lines of colored wool "drawn" on the neutral ground. This could be a way to explore lots of ideas quickly, especially those that might not work as completed pieces. I then finished the edges with masking tape, which I'm sure is not at all conservatorially correct; but I like the provisional character of the tape, which seems to suit the offhand quality of the sketch, and the color is perfect with the linen.

2010 #2; hand dyed wool on linen, bounded by masking tape; 9 1/2 x 14 inches.

The image of #2 is based on a rectangular design, with elements fitting within it. After doing this one, and another which I considered a failure, I feel that this format is better suited to shapes not bounded by a four sided figure, but floating free within the irregular rectangle of the linen.

2010 #3; hand dyed wool on linen, bounded by masking tape; 13 x 9 1/2 inches.

So here, where the original thumbnail pencil sketch had the two elements––small square and off kilter rectangle––enclosed within a rectangle, I instead left one line of it to create tension and removed the other three.

2010 #4, hand dyed wool on linen, bounded by masking tape, 9 3/4 x 8 inches.

The shape of this piece is based on a Richard Tuttle sculpture; I can't help but think 'cradle'. When I first completed it, there was more space around the shape, but I thought it needed to be hemmed in, squeezed a bit, so made the background smaller.

Below are the four pieces taped to the wall and door. They look better on a dark ground, don't they? Although I've put them up with tape, they can be hung with tiny brads in their corners.

So, what do you think? silly? meh? or worth pursuing? (I enjoy these so will likely continue, but I'd love some feedback.)


  1. Hi -

    I found your blog a couple of weeks ago and have really enjoyed seeing your work.

    Your hooked sketches are wonderful. For me they give lots of room for thought.

  2. Altoon, I like these in their own right; the emphasis is on linear, and as such makes a different kind of statement as finished work from the ruglets.

    It's great for exploring ideas quickly as you mention, and what I can also spot from seeing the group on the wall, is how it could allow you to develop a group or series simultaneously instead of one piece at a time on the filled out ruglets. This could offer more flex up front on decisions and be able to see these in relation to one another as they develop. And while it's not the same in a watercolor wash as it is in hooked outline, I also enjoy your watercolor sketches of the ruglets ~ do you save these too?

  3. thank you, Dee, for visiting the blog, and I'm glad you like these sketches; room for thought is a good point.

    Mona I appreciate your thoughts; you're right that the sketches make a different statement,so might be an end in themselves. But they will certainly add flexibility, as you mention.
    As for the watercolor sketches, yes I keep them, piled up on a shelf.

  4. bare bones drawings. I like these a lot. except that the taped edge seems pedantic. what about no edge or a natural fraying edge...?

  5. rappel, glad you like these. Unfortunately I can't leave the edges as is; the threads come apart quickly because of the open weave, just with handling. Before I know it, there would be nothing there. What I could try is sewing a cross stitch along the edge, but I'm not sure that would look good, or solve the problem, as the fraying might then occur on the other side of the stitching. Stay tuned on this....

  6. I have been studying your work for a thesis I am writing on landscape.I am drawn to the way you impose man-made objects into a natural world.There is something interesting in your "rug pulls".Would it work to paint on the mesh you use and then raise out further texture with yarn?Just a thought.Regards,Win.

  7. hi there, Win. Interesting idea of using paint with the wool; I'm going to mull that one over.
    If you have any question re: my painting, just email me via the "contact me" link at the top right of the blog page.