|Can You See Me Vintage Birds mat by Kathy Clark, Briarwood Folk Art|
I wanted to test a muted background color and some intentional and extreme higgly-piggly type hooking (high, low, medium loops all mixed up instead of one consistent loop height) on the border ring of the rug (the blue area).
I had a good thing going with the high, low, medium mix in the blue outside circle and I increased this quirky look by pulling two 8 cut strips of wool simultaneously which added to the intentional irregularity I was striving for. But my efforts were thwarted when I pressed/steamed the rug. It flattened the loops to the same height even though they were hooked irregularly. So much for my higgly-piggly high, low, medium loops experiment.
I want to point out something about this rug that I did intuitively and later learned that my intuition was spot on. I work hard to understand contrast in rugs because getting the contrast just right to make a rug look old is tricky. You do not want high contrast or the old look gets lost. Very subtle contrast is a key to achieving a vintage appearance.
After adding the muted beige background (which happens to be one of my favorite wool choices for a vintage look) my birds were flat and nearly indistinguishable. While I wanted them to recede into the background (low contrast) they nearly disappeared. It surprised me that the beige wool overwhelmed the blue wool so much.
I didn't want to outline the birds but it seemed like the only option (I had already changed their color twice before). After trying a few things, my gut said to use the opposite color of blue on the color wheel (orange) to outline the birds.
In my reading this week (after I finished this mat) I found a very interesting website that discusses creating contrast in paintings: http://www.tlachac.com/ART/ColorContrast_DA.html
The technique I used, by sheer luck was to add "complementary contrast" and it worked. It is subtle but clear in defining the birds. I am thrilled that my experiment (driven by intuition) worked and is actually a real technique. I guess I'll be trying this more in the future!
Next I'll have some camp pictures for you from Texas.
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