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TitleScreech OwlDesigned byPeg IrishHooked byPeg IrishDimensions11" x 4.5" x 7.5"Materialsembroidery floss and yarn on cotton backing, wool roving, polymer clay, pewter claws, birch log, lichens and mossShare

I concentrated on the face for my screech owl. I hooked it using the mini-punch tool and embroidery floss on cotton. I created the body with needle felting over a wire armature attached to the pewter legs. I hooked the feathers with yarn on Monks cloth. Everything was attached to the felt body and set on a birch log embellished with mosses and lichens. Photo by Charley Freiberg.

To make my 3-D screech owl I had some wonderful 2-D patterns as references. Bird woodcarvers have many resources to help them achieve accurate representations of birds in nature. For the screech owl I used “The Illustrated Owl: Screech & Snowy” by Denny Rodgers. It is deemed the “ultimate reference guide for bird lovers, woodcarvers, and artists” and I could not agree more. There are measured drawings, color specifications, feather arrangements and color charts. It went way beyond my needs, but it was a great help in creating my screech owl. I was also able to get pewter legs for my owl.

Since the face was the most significant part of my bird, I chose to hook it with a mini-punch hook and embroidery flosses. First, I printed the face on cotton fabric which became my backing. I also made a polymer clay beak which was attached to the face. See detail 1 for the hooked face.

The remainder of the owl was hooked with a variety of yarns in several pieces. To create the pattern for those pieces, first I made a wire armature which was attached to the legs and talons. 

Then a 3-D body was felted onto it with wool roving and a felting needle (detail 2).

Then the hooked body pieces were attached to the body (detail 3).

The entire bird was placed on a birch log which I embellished with mosses and lichens.

(You can click on these details to see them larger.)


About the Artist:

I began rug hooking shortly after moving to Madbury, New Hampshire in 1979. Lois Dugal from Dover, New Hampshire, was my primary rug hooking teacher. I had dabbled with a variety of fiber arts techniques, but after I began rug hooking, all my other interests faded. It was the first craft where I thought I could excel. Although I began with commercial patterns, I soon recognized that I wanted to design my own rugs. I had never had art training in school and my drawing ability was quite limited, but by working with geometric patterns and using photos that I had taken, I was able to create a personal statement. I appreciate the variety of processes possible in rug hooking: the tools, the materials, and the treatments of the materials (such as dyeing). I also enjoy combining rug hooking with other techniques such as felting and embroidery for a mixed-media approach. I like that my work has a distinctive look, but it is not easy to maintain a “style” when there is a strong desire to try every new technique or material that comes along. Some rug hooking artists depend on a particular color palette or a consistent technique. For the last several years I have concentrated on a specific subject matter, namely birds, to provide a coherent body of work. Some are two-dimensional, some are felted, some use a mini-punch technique, others are three-dimensional. Almost all of them represent realistic birds from nature. My apartment feels like an aviary.