Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Rug Hooking Road Trip: Green Mountain Guild Rug Show, Shelburne, Vermont

Barb and I hit the road again last Friday and headed to the Shelburne Museum -- one of my favorites -- for the 13th Annual Hooked in the Mountains Rug Show. It was a less than stellar trip in terms of food, accommodations, and driving, but the show itself was fabulous.

The show is being held in the magnificent round barn on the Museum grounds. This is the second or third year that the show is being held in November and I have to say, the barn was a lot warmer on Saturday than it ever was when the show was held in the spring. There were many fewer rugs this year, which made for a better show. (Amy Oxford photographed a couple of the shows for books, which made every rug hooker from here to Alaska enter every rug they had ever made into those shows, no matter how bad they were. That was sensory overload.)

This year's show is called Expect the Unexpected and features the rugs of Diane Kelly and Rae Harrell. Diane's rugs were enclosed in their own room, with a sign outside that said "Diane's House." The room was set up with furniture and rugs on the walls -- very charming.

Rae Harrell's work is a little more unexpected. She is obviously interested in eastern religions -- she had a hooked piece with a beaded figure that was quite striking. I imagine her stacks of what look like crocheted stones with eyeballs at the top (they reminded me of E.T.) are somehow tied in with the mystical as well.

She also had some braided pieces, including a web-like installation made of braids. My favorite of Rae's unexpected pieces were two dioramas, contained in little painted boxes with small holes that you had to bend down and look through with one eye -- very clever. While some of Rae's more experimental pieces don't always speak to or engage me, I certainly appreciate her spirit of adventure and her willingness to take rug hooking to places it hasn't been before. Her more traditional hooked rugs, which often feature women, are always striking. Peg Irish pointed out to me that Rae often hooks with a particular black and white off-the-bolt wool -- you can find it in almost every piece she hooks.

Speaking of Peg Irish -- she had an interesting piece in the show, too. She abstracted one of the Unicorn tapestries into a small hooked piece. In the photo you can see a picture of the tapestry as well as the finished piece. This rug was done for a class peg will be teaching at the Brookfield Craft Center in Connecticut.

I found this rug really interesting. The color was striking and the hooking was beautifully executed. I'm sorry to say, I didn't get the artist's name.

I didn't get the name of the woman who hooked this little colorful mat either, which presents an unexpected subject matter instead of an unexpected technique.

A few years ago it seemed that everyone was hooking self-portraits in shades of blue -- perhaps now we'll have a rash of colorful hooked male body parts . . .

I liked the border on this rug a lot -- looks like an oriental rug.

Here are a few others that I admired, either for their design, color or technique.

More on the show to come . . .

Hooked in the Mountains XIII: "Expect the Unexpected"
featuring the Hooked Rug Art of Diane Kelly and Rae Harrell.

November 8 – 16, 2008
Round Barn, Shelburne Museum, Shelburne, Vermont.
Exhibit open 10 AM – 5 PM daily.
Opening reception 5 PM Friday evening, November 7.

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