Friday, February 26, 2010

Glassed UP and The Secrets of the Universe Revealed

Friday's Treat Night ..... Eye Candy: wonderful textile tradition in Chiapas of women making their clothing using backstrap looms, here is an example:

This week-end I'm going to begin to dye. I've had a bit of an interruption while we settled the kitchen down after the world's longest redesign, going on 2 years.
One thing that was holding me back from any serious dyeing was my glass for my small wooden countertops on either side of my gas stove, no pictures, I promised Tony. I need to protect the raw wood from dye because soon it will look like a clown suit if I don't.

I found a wonderful quote to back up what I was saying about learning about colour last blog post.

"An artist is an explorer. He has to begin by self-discovery and by observation of his own procedures. After that he must not feel under any constraint." (Henri Matisse)

In order to explore we need space and time and a modicum of freedom.
I think it is good to add in self encouragement and if you can swing it, a group of like minded individuals.

When I set about "travelling" somewhere new I don't want to be distracted in case I miss some important niggling. I want to concentrate. I want to be deep inside the ME.
Jackie was asking me why I'm not hooking as frequently as I might.
That is a great question.
I told her, some need to hook to soothe and smooth over troubles.
I need to have a nice smooth space free of big bumps and humps to get to the hook and frame.
And in the last few years if it wasn't one thing it was another.

Which kind of hooker are you?
A soother or a smoothy ?
Once you know that you can appreciate more fully your own trends. More importantly you can accept them.
Today is my traditional "day off"
I think I will smooth my way to hook.

Friday, February 19, 2010

The greatest question I've heard...

Warm light, winter night, shadow and snow. Look at the colours...

I recently got a great letter and I love these great letters and want to share with you what comes from them, oh the beloved question I must think about, is there any greater gift?

Dear Wanda,

I'm looking at the colors, which clearly work, but I can't tell you why they work or, in contrast, what would be jarring. Why do the orange and fuscia work together, and why does the sad little green in the lower left corner fit in with those other peppy colors? It gave me an idea for a series that could be useful. (The title "Why This Works" comes to mind.) I'm not expecting a personal answer from you, just passing along an idea.

I said:

I want to answer you!

Orange and fuschia are the most loving of partners as they are sisters, only red separates them in the warm family.

The sad little green acting in the necessary role of the quiet receding aunt (neutral opposite) from the other side of the tracks (cool). Every family needs one.

It makes everybody else in the family seem all the more important! LOL.

I think your idea is WONDERFUL.

I see people really want to know how to grasp color. I love to talk about it. As a matter of fact about twice a month I take a painting and talk about the very thing on my blog. I call them "let's look at this " You might like to read them, just go to, the link to my blog is there.

No other subject I have EVER came across including money and religion and politics has ire been raised so quickly and so vehemently and without intelligence as the discussion of colour.

We are so ignorant of our own notions about colour, so riddled with improper terminology, so confubbled and focused on what is not important we are missing the rainbow by a mile!

As with everything you have to start with your preconcieved notions and air those out. ie do you even know what a dark looks like, do you have any, would you use it if you did?

Of course humans being human don't want this. It takes reflection discomfort and hard work.

To start to learn why something works or not in the colour department you must first know thyself!

Horrible isn't it?

Find out what you are, daughter of darkness, sister of the light.... are you a fence sitter. What is light, dark, where does any given colour sit on the saturation scale, is it almost a 10% gray blue or is it a 100% brilliant blue?

Is it warm?

Dull is not always dark, bright is not always light...

When we recognize and become a diagnostician and can read a colour like House reads a patient, looking for all the signs, wonders and influences, we will then hold all the colour power possible we crave.

Interesting isn't it?

I've already started the work of enriching people's colour power through free online classes group in The Welcome Mat.

I would welcome you and encourage you to do them.

12 years ago I started hooking, 10 years ago I became an instructor, 6 years ago I started refining, grasping and executing my own colour usage from a place of control not happenstance. I still have miles to travel. But I'd love to have you along as a companion.

Can't wait to hear what you say! I want to use part of your question anonymously and my answer with personal things excerpted for my blog please dear, you asked one of the most important questions I've ever heard.


This brings me right back to making mistakes. You gotta play, you gotta fall down, you gotta bleed a little, get gravel in your elbow, grass stains on your knees. It hurts, but the freedom of running full tilt boogie towards what you want to grasp, eyes on the prize, man that is beyond great.

If you desire to learn more about colour you can only do that by learning first what your long held beliefs are. Once you know that you can amend them to become your tools instead of your stumbling blocks. It is a new way to think about colour. Looking at a colour wheel to provide insight into colour use is like looking at darkness to discover the light, a desert to discover the condition of water.

You need first look at yourself. Isn't that a pisser?

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Repairs on Vogue Rug

Although I have not had too much time to hook this past week ( please read none) I had done some things to my vogue rug to repair a few strange off centers I could not live with last week.
Here is what it is looking like these days.

Tony, avert your eyes I have to talk about my range!!
I'm waiting for the arrival of glass to place over my wooden countertop on either side of the stove top. Until that comes I really don't want to dye. It is hard on the wood to bleach it and I can't stop splashing a bit of dye about. As soon as I start cooking with wool again I'll be keeping you informed!

Making Mistakes

Here is Ness holding one of my greeting cards I make, this one was for her and Matt at Valentines, I call them Gwabbits and each one is different, crazy and fun. I just let them develop, I just go with whatever comes about. I let the good times and the mistakes roll.

You know what? Making mistakes, that is where the real learning is done.
Do you think you learn anything when things are smooth and easy and go quickly?

I'm not saying we have to struggle in deprivation to make art but if we want to push forward and make greater things we will have to strive a bit.
I'm not talking about the kind of striving that appears when we are just doing as others have done, maybe calling it something else or saying it's something new. I'm talking about the kind of thinking and action that requires GUTS.

All the great ideas you have can be perfect in your mind. Well, they look so good and all the colours are just right and it is so easy to make things this way. Aren't they best left there where nothing can go wrong?

The thing about creating it is an action. It requires movement and direction, plan and drive.
It requires skills and tools and it requires humility and acceptance. It requires bravery.

If you don’t make mistakes, you aren’t really trying. -Coleman Hawking

The man who makes no mistakes does not usually make anything. -Edward Phelps

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Let's take a look at this today

Let's take a look at Carolee Clarke's

Daily Painting Going Green contemporary tree in Oregon

I'm still hanging tough examining the details of things.

Notice the position of the main object.
The trunk is off center straddling right at the two thirds mark. Things are always more interesting when they are off kilter. This arrangement allows an provocative arrangement of branches to the right and left as well as a beautiful space in the middle where there are no branches. I love the weight of the right hand set of branches, notice how this was enforced by the darker and brighter colour choices.

The browns, yellows, green, blue greens and oranges used in this work are very interesting and harmonious. There is a restfulness of dulls in the background, the changes from green to blue green and to almost white in some of the negative spaces delights me.
The shadows and the far branch colours are making me thrilled. I 'm enjoying roving my eye over the branches looking for orange or red and finding dull turquoise too. None of this would be nearly so attractive without the subtle yellows.

Look at the edges.... sometime very hard, indicated by the black lines, and sometimes very, very soft indicated by colour that is extremely close to the background.
Of course you might want to note the hard edges are on the branches that are closer to us in perspective.

Look at the lines used, their kinks and weight reveal to us a realistic tree. There is very little fine line work , even though we know a tree would have many fine branches. To speak tree to our viewer though we must leave those minutiae off.

I'm always looking for my old adage, the one thing I find most important with artistic endeavours;
something is going to happen, something is happening, something just happened.
It doesn't appear here but I still feel satisfied because of the wonderful colour play.

Would a tiny nest lend intrigue? Or a a remaining leaf? Or a caught shopping bag?
Each of these ideas provokes an entirely different feeling doesn't it?
What do you notice or imagine could be?

All there is to thinking is seeing something noticeable, which makes you see something you weren't noticing, which makes you see something that isn't even visible.
Leo Strauss

Friday, February 12, 2010

A Different Finish

You might already know I don't like finishing my rugs very much right now.
I call it my no finishing era and frankly you don't know when an era is finished until 10 years later. Who knows when it will end?
As you can tell I'm very patient with my ins and outs on the creative path.

Remember my 2010 challenge rug? I'm proud to say against all odds I finished it.
And due to circumstances I did it a very unusual way for me.
I donated it to auction to raise money to provide an astronomical observatory at the IOEES where Man works. The river depicted in the picture is used as part of the program for canoeing and I thought it a good fit.

Sometimes I get an idea and this time it was a strong one. I remembered Margo White telling me about museum mounts for rugs. How she wraps a frame in wool and sews her rug to it. I wanted to mount this hooking on a thick wooden board.

I don't have board. I don't like glue. How was this going to happen?

Remember Patti ? my skiing partner and great friend ( if she ever asks- don't wii tennis with her, just a friendly warning) said she might have a board at her business Clearlite Windows and Doors
After some dumpster diving, we found the perfect piece. BTW we were not too successful at that- both too short. Thank goodness for good friends with good wood!

It needed some trimming which Man did and sealing off course because the acids in the wood will eventually eat away at the wool.
Next I made a sleeve out of black polar fleece that was slightly smaller than the wood.
Then I slipped the sleeve onto the wood ( it was like dressing a book case in a ball gown)
and neatly sewed the ends up.

So there I had it, a block of wood completely encased in polar fleece, I let the seam run up the middle of the back.
Next I folded back the foundation and positioned the rug at the corner and began to stitch it to the polar fleece with thread. When I was done I steamed it, though you might wish for that step first if you don't enjoy doing things bass ackward.

And now the confession: I had to colour the very edge of the backing with black sharpie to make it disappear, no matter how I tried I could not make that tiny edge invisible.

I love how the finished product looks and it can just set on a shelf or table top and I think it is interesting to see hooking in this sort of format. Although I thought I would put a hanger on it for the wall I decided against it.

I've been working on my Vogue rug and will post a picture here soon.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Q & A ... Details, Details

Close up lots of detail on roof: Painting by Don Gray: Frosty Morning

Close up of subject, lots of dark and light details:

Farther away, not so much detail:
Both works by Tom Brown
Dear Wanda
I am hoping that you will be willing to offer me some advice on a pictorial
I am hooking. This design was taken from an old black and white photograph
of myself when I was 7 years old. This was my first pony and I have many
happy memories.
I am trying to make this as authentic as possible and am having trouble with
the roof. I remember it as an old green tar paper roof. Do you think I
should hook each tile individually? I know this will be painstaking but I am
determined. Should each tile be outlined and how can I do that so that the
lines don't jump out at me? Should the lines be drawn on the diagonal which
then would form diamond shapes. It is hard to tell from the old photograph.

I said:
You might be surprised you already answered your own question.
Your barn is in the background and although you know there are diamonds on the roof they are not evident in your photo.

"It is hard to tell from the old photograph."

Your photo is your key.
If they don't show, don't do them.
What ever you see there..... do.

I also noticed you left your face unhooked, are you worried about that too?
Once again everything we see in the photo( and everywhere) is made up of shapes of light, dark and medium.
Do we need to tell everything we know is there or should we just infer it?

Inferring it creates realism, trying to tell it all creates chaos.
Be a subtle story teller.

Let me know how is it going, or if you have any other questions.
Happy hooking , Wanda
May I use this question and answer anonymously to create a blog post ? I think your problem will help other see things differently also.

Their Reply:
Hi Wanda,
Thanks for your reply. My main concern was with trying to have the shingles
look individual and I'm not sure how to go about that. To outline each one
it would seem to me that that would make each one stand out too much. I'm
wondering if if might be a good idea to hook an area and then go back with a
piece of yarn or embroidery thread and just outline here and there. I guess
I need to experiment but thought you might have some ideas.
Ah yes, the face. I have started it several times and have taken it out. I
will go back to it. You are absolutely right - I only want to create an
illusion. Unfortunately, it seems like the simplest approach is often the
most difficult!
Yes of course you may use this example in a Q&A. Thank you for your time -
you have been very generous.

Are you sure you are not getting het up about shingles that don't really need to appear quite so delineated ?
Can you see each shingle in the photo? I bet there are lighter and darker patches to the roof. Be careful not to provide more distinction to the shingles than the distance of the perspective allows. The veiwer is quite some distance from the barn and don't forget you and Suzi are the focal points, deserving the most detail.
I would concentrate on shapes, instead of lines.
We hookers are a line loving bunch. AND we love to make everything WAY more complicated than we need too, we are all alike!!! Always having the same hang ups.

For your edification in all things artistic and rural, try going here There are some monumental works of great interest and learning for us.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

I could not believe my eyes

My days have been full lately and it seems I must often make a choice, hook or blog. You can guess which one loses. I'm sorry but somethings are more important. AND I'd rather be telling you something than just blathering on and on for the sake of it.

Each morning I go skiing at 8 so my dear friend Patti can go and get back to work for 10.
Sometimes she sets a punishing pace, but it is good for me!!! Right ?
It was an extra early morning because it was blue box and garbage day and when we got home all I could think about was getting out of my wet clothes and getting one with momentum of the day.

I was stopped short by this:
My strips from my rug jumped the couch back and formed this message for me. Isn't it cute how they speak as one? This is the season of love..... how did they know? Perhaps our strips are more intelligent than we know.
A nice blend of prediction and surprise seem to be at the heart of the best art.
Wendy Carlos