Monday, April 9, 2007

New Orientation


I have always been an admirer of Oriental carpets, whether in someone's home, in a store, or on display at a rug show. I find the history behind the rugs themselves extremely fascinating. The fact that nomadic people found ways to create colourful works of art from what they had at hand was perhaps the most appealing part of the mystique. The ability to pinpoint the origins of a carpet, what the various symbols represent, and the stories they tell are all part of the romance for me.

I think I have discovered something quite different in how I feel about creating one.

As the previous posts would attest, my attempts at dyeing were not hugely successful, and it took a lot of time to get colours that could be used in my design, Curzon. My colour plan was quite pleasing and I think (as the above small section would confirm) that the colours are working out according to that plan.

However, I realize that the things that I enjoy most about rug hooking are not a big part of hooking an Oriental rug. It is very much a "hook by numbers" exercise that follows a very disciplined process. Once the initial colour planning is done, the hooking becomes all about technique and not so much about creativity.

The things that I enjoy most in my approach to rug hooking are, in fact, mostly about the approach. The germ of an idea.
The gestation of the idea. The translation into a sketch. The scaling up to pattern size. The modification of the design at the new size. The selection of colours and textures from my mostly-recycled stask. These are not part of the Oriental process.

I'm sure that there will be as much learning with this rug as with others. I am sure that the design elements that are incorporated into this pattern will follow onto other rugs. The creation of borders and the outlining of elements within a rug will all be partly influenced by this rug.

The ability to reproduce a dye formula to match a previous batch.
The discipline of staight row hooking and perfect (or nea-perfect) tension will also reform my cavalier, freestyle ways.

But I doubt very much that I will become a "dyed in the wool" Oriental rug hooker, like some of my new-found friends.
For me, it just doesn't scratch the itch.

My friend Heidi from Ottawa is a brilliant Oriental rug creator. She loves them more than all the rest. She hooks in a 3 cut and loves every loop of it. She loves to teach Orientals. And she has found a wonderful, creative way to make it exciting for her students (I will not divulge that secret without permission). Her enthusiasm when she talks about it is infectious - in fact, I think it is partly her passion that encouraged me to hop aboard the Orient express.

My friend Jane also loves Orientals, and as a brand new teacher, chose that topic for her first workshop. I salute her!

I will learn patience and calm from this Curzon I have begun. And I will finish it, because I have already decided where it will go in my home.

But I fear that, like my fine shading pieces, this will never be a passion for me.

And while I am working away on this fine piece, I will scratch my creative itch with other projects that will take me in the opposite direction.

I will have freedom, and texture, and wild and crazy creativity to keep me balanced.

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