Friday, April 6, 2012

"Are Ye Patriotic?" Rug - 2nd Installment

The “Are Ye Patriotic?” rug is finished so I will be sharing more about hooking this rug in the next few blog posts.  
Note:  if you followed prior blog posts, you will know I made an error in my pattern design and my animals are reversed in direction. Since the donkey represents "the left" and the elephant "the right" in our political systems, I fixed this error in Photoshop to show you what the pattern should look like. The final paper pattern for this rug is now available with the corrected placement of the animals.
 Looking back at my hooking history, I've noticed that my rugs either look primitive or old (like an antique).  I enjoy achieving an old look and each new hooking experience offers an adventure in trying to achieve my “old as dirt” look.  More and more I conclude (in my humble opinion): 
  • what appears old (in appearance) can automatically be primitive; but,

  • what is primitive isn't automatically old (in appearance).

Pattern design can imbue primitive, but design itself won’t make a rug look 100 years old.  As an example, the “Are Ye Patriotic?” pattern is naturally primitive, but I wanted the rug to look old.  To achieve this look, I took specific steps to create an old and tarnished look.  As is often the case, the rug looks far better in person than I can capture in a photo and it has a nice “patina” of old to it. 

Here are the beginning steps I followed to try to get “old” into this rug:

Background:  choice of background wool is the hardest part of hooking for me.  Selecting wools for a light colored background is especially challenging.  I prefer to mix several wools together, but in this case I primarily used one neutral texture for the majority of the background. 
I wanted the background to look muted and drab and have some aged spots, so I intentionally added off color areas and tidbits of wool from other parts of the rug – just in small spots.  It added a little discoloration, helping the rug to look used. 
Animals:  there aren’t that many colors you can make an elephant and donkey if you are following traditional colors, so the color choice for them wasn’t difficult, but I did stay with lighter versions of brown and grays to give a faded look and I used wool similar in value for both animals.  I outlined the animals in black (see prior posting about this issue) intentionally because black outlining is fairly common in old rugs. 

In the next installment I’m going to share what led to my decision about the wool used in the hit and miss corners and upper center of the rug.  Determining which wool to use for the hit and miss was the biggest challenge to this rug, and I'll show you pictures which add to my discussion above about a primitive versus old look in a rug.    
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