|Entry to Hooked in the Mountains XVI at the Shelburne Museum Round Barn, Shelburne, VT|
And speaking of friends, can't you just somehow see yourself in this lovely rug, replete with the bathrobes and bottle of wine?
|Designed and hooked by Jeni Nunnaly of Cape Neddick, Maine|
The rugs were from many American states and Canadian provinces, although I'd say the majority of them were from the eastern seaboard. All exhibitors were members of the Green Mountain Rug Hooking Guild, which Jen and I have joined in the humble hope of exhibiting there next year. The variety of styles, themes and subjects was extraordinary. There were contemporary art pieces and very primitive pieces. There were maritime themes, personal memoirs, causes and political opinions expressed in wool. I got seriously schooled on the style of Pearl McGown and there was a very small, but lovely, landscape study in the style of Deanne Fitzpatrick. There was an entire corner (you know, if a round building can have corners of sorts) devoted to chicken designs (yay!). There were three dimensional pieces, and functional pieces, for example chair and ottoman upholstery and stair riser covers. Most of the pieces were designed by the men and women (mostly women) who hooked them, but some were pieces by other designers. There was a monochromatic piece - yes, just white wool - in which the design was done strictly in loop height and texture. There was a piece framed beneath a window frame. There was a triptych, and also a 3D bird's nest. And, in case by now you are positively aching to actually see what these incredible works looked like, I did take 110 photos. Yep. And with around 350 rugs in the show, I didn't even shoot the majority of them. Here is my Photobucket file of the photos (click on "view as slideshow"), each with a shot of the card that shows who the artist was and any back story that person offered for the piece:
Beth's Hooked in the Mountains Photo Album
I had the privilege to speak to a couple of the artists while I was there. I explained that I was a newbie, and that I was humbled and inspired by their work. Here is the interesting thing: each artist I spoke to expressed to me a genuine humility, one, Cathy Henning, speaking of her own creative journey over the years as she's tried new things. She had been hooking for decades, since I was a child, and her work was breathtaking and original. Not only was it original, but her work spanned multiple styles and mediums. She even had pieces with birch bark backings. This was clear: no matter how long we pursue this art, or how accomplished we become, there is always something to learn. I know this by speaking to the gurus at the show, and I look forward to a lifetime of learning in this craft.
I would be remiss if I didn't mention the vendor area on the lower level of the round barn. This was truly an extravaganza of woolmania (is that a word?). There was all manner of wools - off the bolt and hand dyed, accessories, finished pieces and doo dads (use your imagination - if you can imagine it, it was there). Punch needle has been a mystery to me and one of the vendors gave me a demo. It was fascinating - probably not for me, but fascinating and her work was lovely. Truly, I'm just fine with the challenge of rendering a pattern the way I really want it to look working on the "right" side with a hook let alone punch needling my way through a pattern from the "wrong side." I take my hat off to all of you punch needle artists out there.
|Vendor area at Hooked in the Mountains XVI|
How the artisan got those little rings carved out is beyond me, however, these hooks are fun to use with their little rings softly clattering away as you hook. I thought it might be distracting - it's not.
I have saved the "rug that made me cry" for last. This rug was made by Anne Cox of Tenants Harbor, Maine. I wish I could sit down to tea with Anne, because just by looking at this rug I know we share a love for many of the same things. It is a view of Tenants Harbor, Maine and it is based on a poem, the words around the border being:
"Look, I want to love this world as though it's the last chance I'm ever going to get to be alive and know it. So this is the world. I'm not in it. It's beautiful."
The rug is very, vary large - I would guess perhaps 8 feet by 4 feet although someone who was there may correct me if necessary. At any rate, the photo does not do it justice. And yes, I literally cried when I viewed it.
|"So This is the World" by Anne Cox, Tenants Harbor, Maine|
The Hooked in the Mountains show is a great inspiration, whether you are a rug hooker or not. The northern New England area has so much to offer - why not take a week or a long weekend to take in this amazing show next year and relax in one of the most beautiful settings on the east coast? And maybe - maybe - if you come next year you'll get to see some pieces by Jen and by me. :)
Happy hooking! ~ Beth