Icons of America, American Folk Art Museum
April 7th, 2006 / News / No comments
The Icons of America contest sponsored by the American Folk Art Museum created a lot of energy in the rug hooking world this year. People from all over the country — and Canada, too — planned and executed their ideas of what they thought was an appropriate symbol for America. Not many rug shows are juried, and not many rug shows award prizes for the top rugs. This was a big deal.
When the 15 finalists were chosen and the rejections sent out, the online rug hooking message boards were abuzz with questions about the winners and losers. The criteria the judges used were not clear and not one of the judges knew how to hook a rug!
Those of us lucky enough to attend rug day (I manned the table for the Peconic Ruggers along with Tracy Jamar and Denise Johnson) felt part of a great thing. The air was filled with excitement and energy as we waited for the noontime announcement of the winners.
The conference room was overflowing and people had to be turned away when it was time to announce the winners. Lee Kogan, the director of special events at the museum, offered to announce the winners a second time for those who couldn;t be present the first time. Unfortunately, the rugs were hung on coatracks, too close together and too low to get a good look at them. No lables identified the name of rug or the name of the artist, but Lee’s assistant did her best to point them out and make them visible.
I’ll write more on Monday when I return from the Shelburne Museum, where the Green Mountain guild is holding their annual show. All of the finalists in the Icons contest are there along with many that weren.t accepted. I hear there’ lots of talk about the contest at the show — so I will report back next week.
Deanne Fitzpatrick’s Creativity Class, Halifax 2005
April 7th, 2006 / News, Suppliers and Teachers / No comments
Magic happens when Deanne Fitzpatrick teaches a class. She has a way of looking at the world in general, and rugs in particular, that no one else has. Everything captures her attention — the fields along the paths she walks each day, an elderly woman in a restaurant. She finds beauty in just about everything and she turns just about everything into a subject for her hooked rugs.
Photographs don’t do her rugs justice. It’s impossible not to touch them — the pile is deep, the texture nubby and bold. I don’t know how she does it and I’ve never seen anybody get the same effect. Her subject matter is what surrounds her — the landscape of Nova Scotia, friends and family members.
Deanne’s classes are infused with the same energy as her rugs. She gave us all a creativity kit — a bag filled with pens, paper, burlap, note cards, templates, playdoh and her favorite — King Kole tea. She spoke about keeping a sketchbook — or several — to record ideas and the world surrounding us. We made templates and swapped them, we drew out patterns, we drew each other! And it didn’t matter if we were “artistic” or not. Half way through, she served us Scottish oatcakes — how many teachers serve you homemade cookies when you tyake a class? (The recipe is on her website: http://hookingrugs.com/or google her.) It was an amazing day, and I am sad I was so exhausted from lack of sleep, too much caffiene, and my class earlier in the week.
Deanne’s newest book from rug hooking encompasses what we did in her class, so you can get the info without her incredibly warm personality and electric energy, but I recommend you take a class from her if you can. Deanne is offering a rug hooking symposium near her home in Nova Scotia in October 2007. I hear it is filling fast, so call quick if you are interested.