Sunday, June 01, 2008

Designing and Making a Memory Rug

My mother and I drive down to my farm every afternoon. On the way, my mother's deafness makes normal conversations difficult, but we have worked out a way to communicate - we point out trees - beautiful trees, old trees, tall trees, favorite trees. We have even "adopted" a set of oak trees into our family - there is a perfect one in the center of a large green lawn that Mother has named Jenny and two other trees are her "brothers". We look for them every day, and have now taken photos of Jenny through all of the seasons. This interest in trees led me to thinking about the trees of my childhood. We had a wonderful old cherry tree in our backyard in our home in Rosedale Park in Detroit - my brothers and I each had our own branch where we could sit without being disturbed. That was a great tree. There were also huge weeping willows in front of our summer cottage on Big Lake, near Davisburg, MI. I started remembering those willows and decided to hook a memory of them. We had a big heavy rope hanging in a branch that extended over the lake - we could swing on that rope and drop into the water. I can remember the thrill of fear that lasted for about three seconds while flying through the air. Those thoughts led to the making of a memory rug.
Step 1 was deciding on the theme for the rug and I chose the old stone cottage/willow tree theme.
Step 2 was creating the images. I did this by taking out some old Martha Stewart Living magazines and finding some ad pages that had spaces of solid color. I can cut images out of paper better than I can draw what I am thinking, so I started cutting. The first photo at the beginning of this blog is the cut-paper result.
Step 3 was using the paper pieces like stencils and drawing the pattern on linen. I used a commercial grade fabric-permanent marker to trace the stencils.
Step 4 was going through my wool stash to find appropriate colors. I found I had everything I wanted except flesh color for the child/me flying off of the rope. Eventually, I decided I didn't have to be too accurate and settled for a pretty bright pink - which, when hooked with a dark blue swim suit doesn't look quite so bright.
Step 5 is hooking and making any necessary changes. The second photo shows some of the hooking completed. I have decided that the flat front image of the cottage is too boring, so I'm going to add some drawing to make it more three dimensional. I have always loved the stones in that cottage and haven't hooked them very accurately, but I guess I will be the only one who knows that.
So, there's my brief lesson in designing and hooking a memory rug.