025:365 Ways of Being

Ways of Being 025:365

Even though I haven’t finished my first rag rug, I’m planning another. The first one I intend to keep, but the next one I plan on selling.

This drawing represents the idea, using similar colors, that I want to try, using the texture of the threads (rags) to create a forms. This yellow and the pink are the most similar colors I have in oil-pastel, but I’m thinking colors that are even closer. Maybe two or three reds, or just white, cream, and off-white sheets.

Incidentally as the drawing progressed, I liked the way the lines created arrows, directing the view left, right, up and down. These in turn made me think about the icky snowy day today and how many near-misses I saw as people drove in their usual overly assertive ways. I’m pretty good in the snow, now that I remember what I’m doing, and people would zoom around me only to careen and fish-tail ahead of me.

There are so many different ways of living and moving through the world. We leave an impression on the world as we go through it, much like the fibers in the rag-rug or the tracks of cars through the snow.

The slippery bits aren’t the lanes, where people have gone before, creating an easier path. The parts that slide beneath the wheels are the places between the tire treads, where slush builds up between the lines, damp and icy, but impossible to avoid when changing lanes or turning.

We tend to ignore things that are not explicit, the things in our lives that are between the lines, but really, those places we seldom tread, where nobody goes, are the most complex to navigate.

024:365 Rag Knots

Rag Knots (photo)

024:365 Rag Knots

Today a flattened sketch of the forms made by crocheting the rag-strips for my rug.

Drawing the way the interlocked strips form separate shapes makes me think of Indra’s Net: that though we are all one long chain of being, we appear on the surface to be separate entities with separate strivings, dreams, and hopes.

It helps me see that though sometimes I feel powerless, sometimes it is just that I can’t see my connection to the fabric of the world. This is something that I often forget, that I am interdependent with the world, as Thich Nhat Hanh puts it.

In other news:
Busy day for me, running around getting more sheets for this and maybe another project, helping a friend hunt shelves, and finding myself a rocking chair:

Newest addition to my studio

021:365 This Way & That

pen and ink drawing in purple, orange and blue squigglesThis drawing is inspired by a combination of things.

Over time my work has become process oriented, meaning that I draw in an order and with a direction to create something that can be viewed as a series of events as well as an end product. Many of the oil-pastel drawings from the last several years were used to create time-lapse or stop-motion animations of ebb and flow.

Some of that orientation to process comes from my passion for fiber and structures that connect and go together in a logical way. The latest big project that I’m working on (the rag rug) is an example of that tendency. Each ring is executed in its own way with transition to, or contrast with the next one. There are rules that each ring follows that create the overall harmony for the piece.

Stretch! #ragrug progress with #cat for scale #catagram #crochet #craft

Today, instead of using a radial pattern, the sketch uses a variety of directional squiggles to portray how one would use texture to create a visual rhythm.  Complementary colors are used intermittently with analogous colors to add to the tension and flow of the piece.  I’m thinking about using it for another rag-rug when I’m done with my current one.  It is based somewhat on 004:365 Quilt:

Quilt 004:365

020:365 Greek Key

Greek Key Squiggle 020:365

My rag-rug progresses and I’m so inspired by the process that I’m making sketches for the next one, or for details to go into this one.  I’m not really sure which.  The neat thing about these rugs is that not only are they colorful and textural, but they also have a long history.

As I told you my grandmother used to make braided rag-rugs, and apparently, it is a long tradition not only in America, but also in Scandinavia.  There’s even a Finnish-American Rag Rug Collection at MSU, for which my aunt and I saw a monograph awhile back.  These are woven, rather than crocheted, and as it was the second line of thought I had today, I’ll have to post more about it later.

This morning I got  pulled along the trail of  Shaker rug history.  The Shakers are known for their handicrafts and woodwork, and I’d seen some of these interesting designs before, in the form of  these contemporary items marketed as reproductions of traditional designs.

But in the American Folk Art Museum (New York City) I found these beautiful rugs that bear more relationship to my current projects than the woven Finnish-American rugs because of their radial form and because they are made without a loom.  I love their use of bold colors and the way they emphasize the roundness with triangles and squares.  

Lion Brand Yarn has a pattern using cotton yarn which is inspired by these knitted and crocheted Shaker rugs.  If you want to download the pattern, you might have to sign up for their website, but all the patterns are free.  Yarn is a little less durable and thick than rags, but still quite cozy.

019:365 Triad

Triad 019:365

The origin of this one is probably obvious.  I have spiral squiggles on the brain because of the rag-rug.  It has ideas going through my head about clothing construction.  In the works, I have a red infinity vest. This started as a sketch for that and rapidly became something else, way cooler.

Though the colors aren’t on top of each other, they create a transparency blend.  Mixing colors.

 

Infinity vest? Or frogger? #ragrug #red #crochet