From Celebration XXVIIII
I was inspired to create this rug because of my love of birds with all of their many different shapes, colors, movements, and habits. Many times, the birds come to me more often than I choose them. I saw herons several times within a short period in different areas around the lake. That sparked my interest to know more about the heron’s habits, colors, and movements and how I could incorporate everything into my piece. The long shape of the heron called for a tall piece of linen to draw the bird on. It looked great going off the side of the linen, which seemed to emphasize the bird’s head and beak, just like I wanted.
I used dyed, marbleized wool with many colors in the stone background. Then I pulled some of the peach, rust, and golden colors into the rest of the background. I wanted a bright-colored sunset behind the heron. I chose a bright lime green for the grass stalks shooting up around the bird. I wanted the long lines of the grass to help the eye follow up the long shape of the bird and piece. Creating the marbleized wool is an art in itself. It’s so much fun to roll up pieces of wool and throw in silk ribbons and wool scraps to add colors. I like to use these in special areas of my pieces.
I create all of my birds by raising the wool and sculpting it into shapes. I choose eyelash yarns, roving, velvets, and blue-gray feathers to enhance and finish the sculpted bird. I also used blue wool for the bird and left it higher than the rest of the surface to emphasize that area. After I cut and sculpted the bird into the shape I wanted, it still needed textured materials for enhancements. That’s how I made the bird come alive with a personality of it’s own.
I learned a lot from hooking this piece. The first was how to fit my heron into the 16″ x 48″ space that I chose and not lose too much of the shape of the body. I also learned how to make a unique background with bright colors that didn’t distract from the central subject: the heron. I was able to create an interesting background that flowed well with the non-traditional bird.
It’s a special honor to have this piece chosen for Celebration. I wanted to try some different things this year to enhance my birds with the raised hooking and the backgrounds. This made it very challenging to move along with the piece. I felt like someone was sitting on my shoulder while I created it, helping the new challenges to fall into place easily. My mother, who is 90, was visiting me when I finished it and she named it “Bucky the Blue Heron.” My dad’s nickname was Bucky, and he spent his life around the ocean, lakes, and birds, so it was very fitting.