Tuesday, May 8, 2012

A "Jewel" of a Presentation

Saturday's featured program speaker at RUG was Carolyn Clemens.  She is a masterful hooker, dyer, teacher and - as I learned yesterday - presenter. She is also one of the hookers of whom I have been in awe since I first picked up a hook.

Carolyn's work adorned the walls and tables in the room - people were asking which "branch" had the display and were amazed to find out that they were all hers. Some of the larger pieces were simply breath taking and were done in an incredibly short period of time. There were the beautiful works that I was expecting -  Orientals, Kilims and Crewels - perfectly executed in her favourite #3 cut. There were also quite a few pictorials, for which she is renowned. Her classes for pictorials seem to always be the first to fill in any school.

I was so disappointed at my lousy pictures that I decided to see if anyone had better pictures and then  dedicate a post to Carolyn and her rugs.  Luckily my friend Elaine did have a few, so I had added those to the only two of mine worth sharing. I hope the post captures the awe of the afternoon.

Carolyn with her pointing stick (donated by a feisty neighbour) in front of a small sample of her work. Right behind her head is an Emily Carr rug of Sitka Alaska with the most amazing sky reflected in the water.

This is a shot of one of her most beautiful pieces which was hung on one wall with several others. I believe she did this one for her McGown Teaching Certification, and if I recall correctly, she did it within a year. You can tell from the camera angle that it was an enormous piece.

This close up gives you a better idea of just how incredible the colours and the details are.

And here is a leaf sampler which she showed in her presentation and confided has a mixture of cuts used in the leaves. Everything from a 3 to a 6. This pattern is available through Martina Lesar.

But there were other pieces that I wasn't expecting, like a couple of Primitives" including a Mola, a large rooster and a Maude Adams in bright colours that were incredibly wide cut for her - I think they were a 5! There was a fantastic wolf portrait, beautifully executed, looking ready to jump off the wall. And there was a Thor Hansen pattern that was again a total departure. I think what I learned most about Carolyn on Saturday was her curiosity and willingness to try just about anything.

Her large pieces demonstrated her uncanny ability to fine shade that is rivaled by only a few of the other hooking goddesses. And her sense of colour is astounding. So much so that one of the "must have" dye books was written by her. If you don't already have a copy of "Jewel Tones" in your dye library, order now. The MC spent the afternoon wearing the swatchette samples from the book around her neck like a beautiful scarf. (Here is a bad picture of the book.)

Carolyn's presentation was filled with great stories, funny anecdotes and very effusive praise and credit to all whose patterns and classes she was showing. The words most often out of her mouth were "I really enjoyed hooking this." which made me wonder if there were any rugs that she didn't enjoy hooking.

She had many tips that punctuated the presentation. And she answered questions with thoughtful responses. What more could you ask from a presenter? I can't think of a thing! I think that every rug hooker who was there would dream about some day having a body of work like hers.

Thanks Carolyn for captivating each and every person who was in that room as well as the countless students who you have similarly inspired over the years.


Judith Dallegret said...

Thanks for the update on Carolyn C! and photos of her work . . .Her dye book is a must!
Beautiful colours and well presented!

Jen Manuell said...

Great post on a great presentation (and an all-around great day at RUG! :-) ). I loved all of Carolyn's little tips and tricks that she shared. Two of the more memorable ones....
• if you're hooking with yarn, lay a swiffer sheet between your gripper strips and your work, and then you can lift off your work later, without pulling out the loops.
• miniature dip-dyes, by wrapping strips of wool around curlers and standing them all up in the pan...then add dye mixture by the cupful

Orange Sink said...

Thank-you so much for sharing this! I would have been on the edge of my seat listening to her every word! How fortunate to be able to learn from one of the masters in the rug hooking world! I can't get over the shading and perfection in her work!! Awesome!
Cathy G

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