My responsibility as co-curator of the ‘Garden to Table’ exhibit at the Schwenkfelder Library and Heritage Center was to collect contemporary work incorporating rughooking. The pieces contributed by Carolyn Boutilier, Kris McDermet, Mary Jane Peabody and Darlene York Trout along with several of mine portray a variety of techniques within the traditional rughooking medium.
Carolyn Boutilier from Harrisonburg, VA hooked and stuffed a 3-D pumpkin which complimented the wax fruit displays of the 1800’s. Exhibited under it’s own plexi glass box the humble object receives the respect it deserves. Candace Perry chuckled with glee when she saw the pumpkin.
Kris McDermet’s braiding, hooking and felting exemplifies contemporary fiber art using traditional crafts. Living in Vermont the rug represents her generational family homes in a palette connoting the Green Mountain state. Kris is co-author of Combining Rug Hooking and Braiding published by Schiffer Publishing.
Mary Jane Peabody from New Hampshire was inspired to learn an old technique – sculpting or the Waldoboro style. She began this piece in a workshop conducted by designer, author and expert Jacquelyn Hansen from Maine. The pattern Fruit and Flowers is by Hansen.
The 3-D effect is achieved by progressively pulling the loops higher as the shape is hooked from outline to center. Then the thin strips are each clipped at the loop and gradually TRIMMED to create the shape. Popularized in Waldoboro, Maine in the early 1900’s on rugs, this piece is beautiful finished in a burled frame.
Darlene York Trout from Indiana is a designer willing to use any of the fiber skills she has accumulated to make a piece unique. This work was created specifically as a gift for her friend Patsy Jones which made it even more enjoyable to work on. I enjoyed a week at Cedar Lakes Rug Camp working with Darlene on the Paisley Bouquet and knew it would reflect the fruit compotes in the Schwenkfelder collection.
Embroidery skills are evident in the detailed cross hatch of the central flower and the quilted, appliqué corners. She also used beads and hooked in sari silk ribbon to highlight some accents and hand dyed all the wool.
In Haying Stages I used several techniques to create the hay rolls, mowed fields, and scrabble of grasses. The rolls are made using a pin loom and continuous weaving. An addictive satisfying technique popularized in the 1940’s and seeing a resurgence in the crafts wave of the 21st C. The ends are closed with a plaited strip made from the wool I hook with.
I used a ragged approach to the ends, cutting them off higher in many areas to depict the grass. In the area where the rolls are there is hand dyed wool anchored by the same yarn used int the roll.
This piece was juried by Jane Dunnewold into an exhibit at Morehead State University, Kentucky titled 7Stitch.
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