My mother, Emma Webber, got me started in Rug Hooking and supports me all the way! She gave me the upstairs bedroom as my studio and the garage apartment for a dye kitchen. She calls her home … The House of 2 Studios! We host a couple of hook-ins every year and are usually available for visits. Emma spends many happy hours braiding rugs; combining the colours and textures of her wool stash.
It was wonderful having Nancy Terhaar come down from Oregon to teach for us. Everyone appreciated her expertise and helpful manner.
Most of Tanya Graham’s class 2018
We all love having Tanya Graham come teach and share her Art knowledge with us. Her mini-talks are so fun!
Little River Inn Rug Camp 2018: Emma Logan, Tanya Graham, Nancy Terhaar, Laura Pierce
A great week! I had folks helping me make decisions about the rug show; it’s always a puzzle how to put it all together… as the rugs straggle in. The rug show was quite fabulous; with a couple of real show stoppers! Emma and I attended to the details of camp comfort, while Tanya and Nancy took care of their students. We had 4 lively mini-classes, an art talk by Tanya and a Halloween celebration complete with a Cajun fish fry… mmmmmm!
We look forward to next year with Suzan Farrens & Sara Judith, teaching. Emma and I will be back, of course; it’s a sweet tradition for us!
I am center in my white shirt, shown with my ‘Kokopele’ rug, Emma is on the right with her ‘Story Teller with a Border’ rug.
When my mother, Emma Webber, and I joined the new ATHA rug hooking guild in 1996, I learned to hook rugs. Emma had hooked rugs all of my life and I knew that I would take up the hook someday. That someday had arrived when she received an invitation to be part of this new group; the Wine Country Rug Hookers! In the beginning, we met at each other’s house; which was very interesting. We really enjoyed getting to know all these other rug hookers and being in each others’ homes added to that appreciation.
I stopped calling my mother, ‘Mom’ at that time and started calling her ‘Emma’. She had indicated that she preferred to just be herself, Emma that is. As most of the other members of the Wine Country Rug Hookers were mothers, when I called out ‘Mom’, almost everyone responded. Clearly it was time to change my ways. Some people thought it was disrespectful to call my mother by her name, but it suited us fine.
‘Story Teller with a Border’ by Emma Webber, 1996
This is the rug Emma was working on when we joined the Wine Country Rug Hookers. Emma wouldn’t teach me the actual technique of rug hooking, since her ‘method was unorthodox’, her words. I quietly observed and listened to others in our new group. We demo’d rug hooking at the Sonoma County Fair that summer and I learned a lot more listening to Emma’s responses to the questions asked of us… ‘do you have to pull a loop up in every hole?’… ‘oh no!’ Emma answered. ‘What?’, I thought.
Laura and Emma enjoying the afternoon on back porch, September 5, 2015
My daughter, Emma Rose, took this photo of old Em and I; our last photo together. I’m so glad we had those 19 years of rug hooking together!
It is a fine legacy.
Yes, all of the Caswell Impression blocks have been hooked! It’s been fun to hook ’em and now it’s fun to see them come in with a variety of interpretations. Sara Judith is a Master at punch hooking rugs; using combinations of yarns to create colour magic! I can hardly wait to get this lovely Caswell block in my hands! Sara will hand it off to Brigitta Phy at Puget Sound Rug School in a couple of weeks. Puget Sound is really the jumping off point for my Caswell Impressions project; it was last year while I was preparing to teach at Puget Sound Rug School that I decided to open up the project to other rug hookers. It was the perfect place; an intimate and inclusive rug school. I printed up 40 of the patterns I had created by that time, offered to loan the patterns to participants and asked them to hook it their way! 25 rug hookers did.
Caswell Impression #41 adapted & hooked by Brigitta Phy
Back at home, my friend, Brigitta Phy signed up for a Caswell Impression, got one of the challenging patterns and came up with a great solution. The original block seemed to have sea shells with foliage, but the sea shells looked like little hamburgers!?! Brigitta designed sea shells that we could recognize and hooked this lovely rug. As Brigitta is teaching at Puget Sound Rug School this March, she can bring home the final block from Sara. I wish I was going too; it’s a great time with stimulating classes and interesting activities. Check it out on line at Puget Sound Rug School
Caswell Impression #27 hooked by Michele Wise
Michele loves a challenge; she says, “In a design class I am presently taking there was a challenge to use a graduated dark to light in the motif and the opposite in the background which inspired me to try it out on this pattern. These are not my normal colors and I like to challenge myself so I went with the purples and yellow greens.” These are my colours and I love the way Michele hooked this piece!
Sara Judith and Michele Wise direct the Puget Sound Rug School which a big reason it is so special! Each year, they invite three great teachers to come and teach a specific class; it makes for a stimulating and creative gathering.
When I got home from Little River Inn Rug Camp, I found a couple of rugs on my door step… from Cec Caswell and Laurie Wiles of Edmonton, Alberta! Wow! Cec uses the alternating stitch in black & white to outline her flowers and leaves! this is often her signature stitch… though it is most often around the edge of the rug. I love it!
Caswell Impression #52 hooked by Laurie Wiles
Laurie handles her purple throat flowers with finesse! The leaves too, are interesting with a variety of colours!
Caswell Couple hooked by Laura W. Pierce
My friend, Nancy Terhaar, is hooking this pattern for the Caswell Impressions. I haven’t seen hers yet… but she talked about how it represented her and her sweet husband, Ron. I was inspired after hearing that; I had to hook a version of my sweet husband, Kirby, and I. We got married in 1973; a time of ‘Open Marriages’… not that we would have such a marriage; we were much more traditional and would just be ‘we two’. It was a home grown marriage; I sewed my own dress and wore flowers in my hair. Kirby bought some cool clothes at the local haberdashery. Our plain gold rings cost $12 for mine and $17 for his. It was supposed to take place in the park across the street from my folks home, but it rained. We all crowded into my folks living room; it was intimate and wonderful. The sun came out afterward, so we took our photos outside.
Caswell Impression #20 hooked by Ruth Scott
Ruth’s bluebells border on purple; the spotty green background is perfect! of course, I love her outline and fill randomly leaves. Ruth’s work always pleases me.
Caswell Impression #23 punch hooked by Karyn Dambach
Simple and powerful, Karyn’s flower stands on it’s own. Her finished edge uses the same yarn as the middle colour in her flower. Perfect!
Caswell Impression #26 hooked by Patricia Helland
Loving the blue and red flowers; the blue showing up again on the leaf tips! The dark background sets everything off perfectly.
Caswell Impression #32 hooked by Leisa Robinson Collin
All the way from the Yukon! That place that’s almost like outer space… far, far, away! Leisa teaches school and lives off the grid up north in Canada. We met at Puget Sound Rug School, then again at Western Teachers’ Workshop. She and her friend, Lise Merchant, are going to teach rug hooking in the Yukon… yaye! I love the colours in her rug; the golden edged leaves with light blue high-lights glow and murmur.
Just 5 more to arrive… I’m looking forward to that!
The Caswell Impressions will be shown at Sauder Village in August, 2017. My friend, Barbara Larsen, and I will be driving out to Archbold, Ohio, to deliver the rugs at Sauder village. We can stop by your place on the way; let me know if you’d be up for that.
The final result; I’m happy with it and it’s done by the January 1, 2017 2nd deadline. It was a crazy journey getting to this colour plan; it’s because of the ‘dull’ white I used to outline with. I could have changed the outlining, but it became my challenge to make it all work and understand why it was so hard.
Caswell Impression #9 colour plan 1
Funny to see these two next to each other… I came practically full circle. I started off with coloured pencils and a yellow-orange and blue colour plan. I had it in mind to use a textured white with little bits of colour in the weave, as an outline.
Caswell Impression #9 colour plans
I tried reversing the colour arrangement with white and blue flowers and an orange yellow background. but the flowers almost dissappear into the background. so I tried dark blue background, but the flower openings blended in. Then I tried a dark orange background and thought it might work. However, working with a dark outline as in these sketches, didn’t give me an accurate picture.
Caswell Impression #9 colour plan on the computer
So I colour planned on the computer; first making the outlines off-white. Blue and Orange Yellow; one of my favourites!
Caswell Impression #9 colour plan on computer 2
Burgundy on Antique black, which is actually dark green; and changing up the 2 flower vines. hmmmm
Caswell Impression #9 – 1st start hooking
Looking at the photo, it seems like it could have worked. But I wasn’t enjoying hooking it. I added a bright orange plaid to the background mix and still wasn’t happy. I wondered why I was hooking yet another orange rug?!! I tried the piece of wool next to it, but it just got muddier and more tedious.
Caswell Impression #9 with burgundy background
I went into my stash and got a variety of burgundy wool pieces; from reddish to black texture overdyed with burgundy. This background worked for me. Actually, the Caswell Carpet had a dark background when it was originally made; it was a new style at the time.
But it seemed that the blue was not working for me, even though I hated to give it up?! I thought various pastels might work, but they blended in with the outlining; especially the lavender.
Caswell Impression #9 on it’s way…
Finally, I tried the orange yellow flowers with dark bright orange interiors. OKAY! I was still hanging onto the blue, but the bright blue green was obviously working better for me. Finally, I added a little bright blue green to the blue… in places.
I’ve heard talk of dark, dull, light and bright… I suppose I was having trouble with my colours because of the dull white. The same wool was light and bright used with a biege plaid texture that I used in the background of the ‘Caswell Blue Jay’. In this case, I found I needed hot bright colours with the dull white, to make it fun to hook.
Colour lessons with these small fun rugs are not too much of an investment… and who knows, they may be very useful in the future.
It’s marvelous to have another Caswell Impression to hook… they’ve been so much fun! This one got lost, so I’ve got a month to hook it, before the second deadline; January 1, 2017. Lately, I’ve been re-purposing patterns by drawing another pattern on the back; even my own. When a pattern never sells; after a few years in the offering basket, it’s time to re-purpose it.
Louise’s Iris, 16×16″ pattern, by Laura Pierce
Who would want to hook a giant Iris? the translucent quality of Iris petals… what was i thinking… ha!? This pattern was developed for a class on ‘Giant Flowers’ that Barb Kennedy offered at our ATHA chapter, several years ago. Also included in the group are the popular ‘Giant Poppy’ pattern, the ‘Giant Dahlia’, the ‘Giant Cala’ patterns and others. After I re-purposed this pattern, I thought about Barb’s class; it was about shading with wide-cut. I wondered if I could hook this Iris pattern effectively…?
‘Louise’s Iris’ shaded with coloured pencils, by Laura Pierce
It’s easy to print a small version of the pattern and colour it with pencils or crayons… to see what I can do. I think I’ll look for another pattern to re-purpose; I may be ready to hook the Iris!
Tanya, Laura, Emma & Brigitta; the team at Little River Inn Rug Camp
A great team and a great little camp! Tanya Graham and Brigitta Phy are great teachers, so having them teach at Little River Inn Rug Camp is a cinch! Our backdrop is part of the Caswell Impressions Rug Show. The first show, but only 65 of the 78 rugs were available for this rug show. The second deadline is January 1, 2017. Then i’ll be looking for other venues to show these wonderful rugs!
Caswell Impressions done in the warm colours/
I separated the rugs in colour families; cool, warm and neutral. I was wondering how I would hang all the individual rugs… and this seemed like a reasonable starting point.
The group of neutral Caswell Impressions
all of the rugs are beautiful and deserve to be shown off to their best advantage. This was a great trial run; yes they go together, but more room would be good.
Tanya’s class listens to Tanya’s art talk…
a few more ‘cool Caswell Impressions’ on Tanya’s class wall… to the left.
Tanya talks to her class about creating art in their rugs.
The Caswell Impressions are on the wall, but class also goes on… with a few teaching props leaning up against the same wall. Rug Hooking is a bit messy and especially at rug camp!
Tanya talks about rug design and modern art
Again, Tanya’s backdrop is the Caswell Impressions cool selection. The rug show was a couple of days in the hanging, but I learned a lot about the collection. I’m looking forward to hanging the show again… with more gallery lighting and space. I am looking for venues to show the collection; let me know if your group would like to see them! Next summer, I’ll drive them out to Archbold, Ohio, to show them at Sauder Village Rug Hooking Week; August 15-19, 2017! There are a lot of states between Petaluma and Sauder Village; let me know if I should stop by.
When I unpacked Mary Watson’s package and saw her beautiful rug; I thought… how wonderful; hanging flowers!
Caswell Impression #28 hooked by Mary Watson
Then I realized that the rug was upside down, but her initials work both ways.
Caswell Impression #22 hooked by Lise Merchant
Another beautiful rug arrived that day; from the Yukon! Lise Merchant’s Caswell Impression is rich and vibrant with textures and spots of brilliant colour. As many of the Caswell designs fill their space, the designs are similar to tiles.
Caswell Impression #22 hooked by Lise Merchant
My mother used to say that a good design works upside down as well as right side up. Of course, in rug making, this is a good thing.
Caswell Impression #55 hooked by April Shekter
One more beautiful rug, from Portland Oregon; April’s rug is softly dramatic with cool colours. The design has a nice flow of stems and flowers; practically bending with the wind.
Caswell Impression #55 hooked by April Shekter
This Caswell pattern looks good turned 90 degrees too. Many of these rugs will make lovely pillows landing on the couch any which way!
I gave my rug hooking friends 2 deadlines; October 2, 2016 and January 1, 2017. Three quarters of the rugs have arrived and they are impressive. A familiar refrain is that the designs were fun to hook and the colours came easily from each artist’s noodles and stash. Also, the designs opened up a new avenue of expression for some of the rug artists. I’m very grateful for everyone’s participation in this project; and love getting to know each participant in a new, coloured and textured way!
I know a few more rugs are on their way; the first show will be at Little River Inn Rug Camp at the end of the month. I can’t wait to start hanging the show; even though the rugs are all as different as the rug artists that hooked them, they’re going to look great all together!
I’ve finished up the Peahen and her flowers since I took this photo. Making the flowers orange seemed competitive with the mid-body feathers on the Peahen… so I decided to make the ground orange too. The Peahen’s feathers are grey or brown according to the visuals I’m working with… orange is part of the brown family of colour, I reckon. Also, I got rid of the smokey yellow, except for my signature. I had it in mind to use my ‘Green Shadow’ and now I’m convinced it was a good idea. I am wishing for a bit more black to balance things out, and have started an additional row around the edge. not sure about it, but I need to finish up before I can decide.
Caswell ‘Think Pink’ by Laura Pierce
‘Think Pink’ was one of the early Caswell squares I did; using a orange brown spot as my starting place and outline. When I was finished hooking the piece, I felt like the orange spot was not present enough; so I used it to whip finish the piece. Since then, I’ve felt like there is too much orange spot. Since I baste my folded edge before I whip, I expect that I can change my mind and replace the whipping with a different material. But before I do, I mocked it up.
‘Think Pink’ Caswell by Laura Pierce with green border
I think the change would make the orange outlining much more delicate… what do you think?
I’m very happy to be hooking one more Caswell Impression! especially the Peahen! One of my students had picked this pattern, but realized she was too busy to get it done. I’m having a lot of fun with the bright colours, even though the Peahen is quite dull compared to the Peacock. It’s our liberty as rug hooking artists, right? You can see a few ink marks in the feather area; I frequently will change a pattern as I hook it. Several of the Caswell Impressions artist have made changes to the patterns and done it their way… and I say ‘Yaye!’
Caswell Impression hooked in velvet by Robyn Schoder
I re-photographed Robyn’s velvet Caswells… in bright sunshine. I never photograph hooked rugs in bright sunshine because it shows each loop, which is distracting in regards to the image of the rug as a whole. Velvet is quite different; it’s luscious and shiny and that was not coming across in a regular photograph. I think this is a better photograph, but some rugs just need to be seen in person.
Caswell Impression hooked by Cathy Kelly
Cathy Kelly’s Caswell Impression has some shiny beads in the flower centers; they sparkle a bit in the photograph, but show better in person. I love Cathy’s colour plan; pushing the envelope a bit… yellow gold, yellow green and apricot… analogous I suppose. I am curious how this came about.
Caswell Impression hooked & sewn by Susan Feller
Susan Feller’s Caswell Impression is quite 3-dimensional! Puffy flowers and free wool leaves rise above the colourful stitched background. These alternative fiber manipulations look like fun! I am tempted to squish the flowers, but resist in an effort to keep each rug in pristine shape.
Caswell Impression hooked and sewn by Martha Lowry
Martha Lowry showed her Caswell Impression on Facebook and garnered many, many compliments! It is 3-dimensional too with very wide loops, 2 kinds of ‘Shirring’ and twillies too. The beautiful soft colours and textures are hard to photograph; I held the rug next to my computer monitor to try and get the correct colouring. The wool flannel whipping is seamless and the round corners are stress free.
I have received quite a few Caswell Impressions and will be showing them at Little River Inn Rug Camp at the end of October. Even though the rug camp is full, you are certainly welcome to come by and see the Rug Show. We don’t fill up all the rooms at the Inn, so you can come up for a day and stay the night. www.LittleRiverInn.com