Saturday, June 15, 2013

Another Little Camp Experiment

I also hooked this little round mat I'm calling "Can You See Me Vintage Birds" before leaving for camp.
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:

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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