I remember going to day camp as a young child. I hated the cold-water swim time at Lotus Lake Camp so I immediately headed to the arts and crafts shop where I spent most of my time. I still have the small leather award I won for my wooden tray with a rope border. I also remember my mother saying to me that art is a great hobby but probably not the best way to make a living. I think that was the message that resonated for years as I didn’t really return to my passion until those notorious 1960’s. The 60’s opened many opportunities for those who wanted alternative creative expressions and I was no exception. I began to experiment with numerous multi-media designs, paintings, and sculptures. Even during my first year of college I was doodling with pen and ink. It was during Economics 101 class that I created a little 10 x10 design which has become one of my favorite pieces and also the inspiration for one of my favorite rugs.
In the early 1970’s I started experimenting with geometric, bold-line acrylics-perhaps before those who became recognized for producing similar designs. I soon introduced texture into my work using textiles and mixing oil with acrylics.
I was also fortunate enough living in Boston to be able to take a myriad of personal enrichment, collegiate art classes that included cold glass work and graphic design to name a few.
By the 1980’s after producing many paintings yet not finding a medium that excited me, I distinctly remember a beautiful, traditionally designed hooked rug that my mother had made while pregnant with my oldest brother in the late 1930’s.
Instead of using bolt wool she used woolen skirts and suits from the thrift stores. By the time I rediscovered the rug it was already 40-50 years old and had several holes. Burlap backing did not hold up well. Even though I had another artist attempt to repair it, it has always retained its beauty and memories.
My immediate thoughts said if I tried to combine my contemporary styles with traditional rug hooking perhaps I might be on to something. The first rug was roughly sketched out and crudely executed. I frequently ventured to Kennebunkport, Maine to a rug supplier and it was there that I started to learn more techniques and the finer points of wool and dye selections. The design process is the exciting challenge. Layer upon layer of tracing paper provides the foundation for the concept. Being red/green colorblind I do little with exact choices. My color selection depends more on contrast than anything else. As my rug style develops, my color selection becomes more challenging as I might not be able to see the exact difference.
I continue to look at my rug hooking as a continuous work in progress. New designs create new applications, challenges and colors which all allow me an opportunity to take the artistic chances for which I have been striving.