Tag Archives: Ruckman Mill Farm

December Studies

It was exciting to put out two months of squares and see the variety of techniques, materials, subjects and color/values.  I have found it challenging to keep coming up with new images and then decided I do not have to.  Revisiting a composition and changing some element involves experimenting.  The landscape subjects are especially good to look at again, weather and seasons change the details.  SNOW brings out high contrast and changes shapes along with visual focus.

Not surprising, the December squares are filled with white and neutrals.  Color still abounds, but like spring in the Arizona Desert you need to look closely.  Bluebirds flitting, holly berries, sky blue, the warmth of our wooden buildings are all examples represented this month.  Enjoy a sampling including some subjects photographed but sketched from memory.  First a blank slate staring at me on January first:

January 2014

January 2014

 

Support the Arts

 

Willow 21st Century, Susan L. Feller

Willow 21st Century, Susan L. Feller

One hundred years ago craftsmen and women dedicated their skills to creating work by hand.  The Arts and Crafts movement is alive today. As a lifestyle or during a piece of their time, artisans and arts organizations are presenting unique objects to reflect on in your personal environment.  This was a long way of suggesting you BUY ART, buy from an artist you met or who’s story is communicated to you at a gallery, BUY LOCAL.

I am grateful for the support of clients who chose original pieces from the studio and through Tamarack in Beckley, WV.  Those of you who are working up rug patterns or using our dyed wools from Ruckman Mill Farm, thank you.  To the participants in workshops this year I look forward to seeing your personal designs.

We purchased these pieces for our collection.  I am sure each artist has some more work if you are interested. Look up Lori LaBerge, Gail Becker, Marie Sugar or visit my work at Ruckman Mill Farm. One was purchased at an auction supporting ATHA, one through an art gallery during a hooked art exhibit, and one directly from the artist.  I admired each of the individuals work before and was happy to be able to select tangible memories.

November Study Finished

I am thrilled to create this post of the studies created in November 2013.  The variety of techniques include painting canvas, beads, hooking, applique’, using found objects (ceramic mug, twist ties, clothesline), alpaca yarns, proddy, wire.  Styles ranged from realistic, dimensional, abstract to geometric.

Inspired a larger piece

Inspired a larger piece

During the month I created three larger pieces inspired by the studies and like the feeling I had while making two random squares.  They too could become runners at least.  The palette is changing to softer, colder, and more subtle as the seasons change.  I am going to bring out the alpaca yarns in a range of neutrals and softness for winter and the bare woods.  Missing the FALL foliage wools already.  Sure the small sparks of color will be much more enjoyable as our birds, the evergreens and wintry sky become subjects.  But that is for December and into 2014.

I began this journal on October 18 and was literally in the studio or outside working each day.  As November’s weather changed and the work space became a warm corner in the kitchen (with wood cook stove going) my work ethic changed.  In the studio all the toys were accessible adding to pieces easily.  Away from those inspirations more of the squares were just hooked.  Those which I envisioned needed different materials awaited a trip downstairs.

So it took until December 13 to complete November’s squares.  That’s ok with me.  For the year each month will remain as you see on the header image, one large piece of linen divided in a calendar grid.  After that I will divide them out and finish in appropriate manner for the piece.  I have photographed changes, documenting the lessons I am learning.  Considering this year to be my Independant Study.  Self issued certificate at end.

December has each square drawn out but I felt completing one month was important in the new discipline.  These pieces are revisiting some of the subjects with the new high contrast which snow adds.  Tree branches, railings, even a chair are different when defined by a blanket of snow.   Enjoy the Gallery of selected pieces.

Patterns found in Nature

We added Speckled Sussex and Golden Polish chicks this spring to the barnyard.  In the order Murray McMurray included an extra chick which has grown into a MALE Hamburg.  So we have TWO roosters for 17 hens.  Trust me that is at least ONE too many and the girls think it is 2 too many.  BUT they both look spectacular, so who ends up in the stew pot?  Stay tuned.

Hamburg Rooster

Hamburg Rooster

Golden Polish Rooster

Golden Polish Rooster

In the mean time, with this variety we learned each breed has an identifiable voice along with feather pattern, and leg colors.  It is a chorus of clucks and chirps when we feed.

See if you can match the legs with feather patterns selecting one from column A and one from B.  Answers below the gallery.

Answer: Feet top to bottom (Dominique, Speckled Sussex, Golden Polish)

Feathers top to bottom (Speckled Sussex, Golden Polish, Dominique)

Year Long Study

Beginning the study, working outside

Beginning the study, working outside

I have decided to dedicate the year leading up to my 60th birthday to studio work. Each day a sketch and five inch square design will be worked up in techniques I want to explore.  The series began ahead of time on October 18th with a plein air landscape outside of the studio.

This does not mean I won’t  teach and travel, but right now there is a long stretch of time off the road and a routine was necessary.  The short term goal is a sketch for each day.  Several larger works have evolved from these exercises already.  It has been a productive and meditative time.

Lori LaBerge’s Plein Air Hooking Artists concept helped formulate the process.  Although I am religiously sketching my subject into a journal, and working from the image for color and values, most of the subjects are also photographed as documentation.  I am also documenting changes made anticipating compiling a text to accompany an exhibit.

So far skills from a wire jewelry workshop have been incorporated into several pieces; acrylic paints; quilting; embroidery; and coiling have augmented traditional rug hooking.Monthly there will be a progress report showing the seasonal palette; design evolution; and techniques explored.  Below is a gallery of some early subjects and works.

Summer Bouquet in Wool

This design is finally finished in my eyes.  Thanks to several critique sessions this summer.

Summer Bouquet

Summer Bouquet

 The composition came together easily, an odd number of large motifs, connected with organic (curved) lines to a small vase placed within the outside border to anchor the design.  I used templates from ‘Design in a Box-Frakturs’ and the quirky principles of balance the PA German Fraktur artists had in their repetoire.

Then came bringing the lines to life.  I photographed each of the changes and will highlight some lessons.  Click on the first image and then you can see all in larger format by using the arrows.  During one workshop where I used the images as a lesson plan, a student commented in awe at the multitude of changes I had made.  To me that is what makes a project part of my process in learning.  Kits and following directions are for a goal… completed item.  Working on a design to achieve your knowledge of GOOD is growth.

Retreat again into the Mountains

For the 6th year our RETREAT INTO THE MOUNTAINS was a rousing success.  Friday through Sunday in mid April is a beautiful time to wake up your creative juices with SPRING bursting out all around at the Peterkin Camp and Conference Center in Hampshire County, West Virginia.

The theme this year was COLOR… Participants selected their color of the weeeken and developed a small design evoking the hue with motifs and selection of fabrics and techniques.  This gallery shows works in progress throughout the session. 

During the weekend we participated in a yoga session sitting in our seats which focused on the tight back, arm, hands and eyes.  Music and levity loosened us up too as we moved our extremeties making letters and pasta shapes in the air.  We sat for a group photo, reviewed finished pieces on the porch and listened intently to Beth Tembo’s talk and display about African fabrics.  Several jumped into a dye session on Saturday and we all caravaned out to Ruckman Mill Farm to visit Jim and the chickens.  We were well fed by our host.

Working on a Commission

The following series takes you through an exciting design project.  I was contacted in August of 2012 and the rug was delivered on April 5, 2013.  This design reflects the owner’s creativity in building their home and the natural site they chose.  In retrospect I would call the style Arts and Crafts (my mind and creativity are intertwined with the process).  The size is 40″ x 84″ and I used #8 cuts (1/4″ wide hand cut strips of wool) hooked through a primitive linen.

Steps involved contact from client based on a label on previous small mat purchased four years earlier.  We arranged a visit to the home to see surroundings, meet and discuss site in house, size, color, environment.  Three sketches were sent, the selected one was then drawn to scale and brought to the house with wools for color and approval.  At this point an estimated time for completion was established and deposit put down.  Wool prep including dyeing began and the hooking process is illustrated.  On final delivery the owners walked on the rug, and I photographed it at home.

Floral Message of Good Cheer

Caraway Garden Runner created using motifs from Design in a Box-Frakturs

Caraway Garden Runner created using motifs from Design in a Box-Frakturs

HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL!

This design completed 2012 with a colorful BANG.  I approached the colorplan selecting my favorite analogous combination warm yellows, oranges and reds which also are traditional to the Frakturs (PA German illuminated manuscripts of 1740-1840’s) the motifs were inspired from.  With a wonderful pile of textured wools and spotted or solid hand dyes available, each flower is a bundle of contrasting values making the entire rug an exciting project.  The full rainbow can be found since blue and yellow greens and a wonderful turquoise just had to creap in along with a plaid with purples and cherry reds.

I hadn’t used the gold recipe which mimics a yellow glaze on redware in awhile and incorporated several different subtle textures and natural wool into the three different dye baths of varying values.  Hooking consistently in small puzzle shapes, the background hopefully sets the mood of a fun summer garden. Do you see the flowers all being thrown into a sunny sky?

The border technique of beading, (hooking contrasting strips in an alternating pattern) pays homage to a typical geometric border on Frakturs if the interior designs are all organic.  Bordering the rug with a full inch wide red plaid set off the riot of color and seems to settle it onto the table top or floor where we will enjoy the glow. 

I extend my wishes you will find beauty in every day and interpret these moods using your talents… in music, words, extending help, or artwork.  Look, see and show us your spirit in 2013.

Hampshire Highlands Studio Tour 2012

The first full weekend in December for the past 5 years has meant visitors and locals shopping at Hampshire County studios.  DECEMBER 7-9 are the dates this year, and I have just finished some fun items hooked with wool. Hope some of you can come out to Hampshire County on the weekend and visit with us.  This year our log  home is open with my work hanging among the other artist’s pieces we collect, a great opportunity to see Jim’s log house and our working studio. 

IF YOU ARE NOT ABLE TO COME BY BUT SEE SOMETHING INTERESTING, Email me at rugs2wv@yahoo.com and ask if it is still available, we would ship!

PINS which are 2″ x 3″, each titled and labeled are $25 each.

Push/Pull, Up Hill, Shadows in the Valley, Moonlit Hill

Push/Pull, Up Hill, Shadows in the Valley, Moonlit Hill

 

Starry Night, Fall Road, Fall Stream, Coppery Moon

Starry Night, Fall Road, Fall Stream, Coppery Moon

There are several 8″ x 10″ mats for $90. Many with complimentary mini 5″ square mats at $25.

Coloring Box: 8 x 10 mat

Coloring Box: 8 x 10 mat

 

Orange Flame, Geode, Energy Paths, Hayfield and Sumac

Orange Flame, Geode, Energy Paths, Hayfield and Sumac

 

Nature's Beauty, Apple Blossoms in the Valley, Jewel Light

Nature’s Beauty, Apple Blossoms in the Valley, Jewel Light

Fall Leaves 8 x 10

Fall Leaves 8 x 10

Sky Through Honeycomb 8 x 10

Sky Through Honeycomb 8 x 10

We have a new “designer” BOB (the second female tabby cat named Bob) and yes the first one is still around.

Bob with Layers and Celebrate each $165

Bob with Layers and Celebrate each $165