Well today was the best of times and the worst of times. I managed to get lots of work done but my nose ran the entire day. It’s hard to be positive when you feel like your head is in a vice squeezing body fluids out your nose. Thank goodness for the invention of Kleenex although I’m not happy at the number of trees that were sacrificed to wipe away my nasal drip. If you have a few dollars to spare buy stock in tissue immediately as I know their profits will soar until this cold is brought to its knees. Well…enough about the mucus. You’ve all had colds, you know the score but stay tuned for updates from Phlegm Central.
I worked a bit late and came home around 7:00 to forage for food. I wasn't overly hungry but I know I need to fuel my body. I never know which is right, starve a fever, feed a cold or vice versa. Regardless, I have to eat to keep my blood sugar regulated so whether I feel for anything or not, I have to be sensible and eat. At this point it wouldn’t matter what I stuff into my mouth as there’s not a taste bud on duty, so it comes down to what kind of texture I’d like. Something soft and chewy or hard and crunchy. It just isn’t very appetizing thinking of food as texture. I ended up making a homemade cream tomato soup as liquids seem to be a bit more soothing and roll down the throat without having to chew. Who wants lumps of food that have no taste?
Then I plan to tackle and finish that “Do The Hockey Pokey”pattern. I’m not sure how
intriguing it will be to others but I feel it’s interesting. I’m not sure what kind of appeal a rug that has shoes and parts of ankles and lower legs will have. It’s one of those artsy types and a few of those in the collection won’t hurt for those who circle outside the box. Sometimes you just have to design a piece that makes you think.
Speaking of provoking thought, I want to tell you a story without one designer’s perspective that crossed my path. It happened out of the blue via an email and left me with a bit of a dilemma. I’m not the judge and jury of rug hooking so it isn’t for me to say whether anyone’s work is relevant or not. She approached me to display her art so
that allows me to tell the story and give you my observations and here goes.
Not all of us see art in the same way, just as in life we are all different flowers from the same garden and diversity makes us interesting. So a while back I got this email from a woman who wanted me to showcase her pieces in my store. I learned a long time ago, that consignment rugs of other artists don’t do much for business. When a customer sees a fantastic rug and then asks for the pattern I don’t like saying, sorry, no it’s copyrighted by someone else. So I stopped taking rugs on consignment unless they were one of my patterns so I was able to supply the design when requested. So this gave me an excuse to turn the woman down but I also felt I needed to explain why and I did in a very diplomatic way, at least I hope I did. I felt like saying kids would run screaming from the store but sometimes it's better to bite your tongue.
Her pieces were too controversial for the shop; with subjects that might be considered offensive, if not grotesque. In this business you cater to a large cross section of the population and some view nudity and racy styles with a furrowed brow. There’s a pattern in my shop called "Temptation". It depicts the garden of Eden, with Adam, Eve and the serpent wrapped around a fabulous apple tree which I designed in a William Morris style with border. Eve is bare chested in all her feminine glory, the natural look before the bite of the apple shamed them into clothes. I’ve heard a few sniggers while people peruse the design racks, an indication which pattern they've just viewed. And I know that Rug Hooking Magazine has blacked out a few parts on a rug featuring a mastectomy scar so you have to tread lightly with certain topics as not to put anyone off.
Along with the email, the woman had attached a few pictures of her work and even though I am generally unshockable, I must say my lower jaw dropped into my shoe. The woman had a very interesting outlook and her pieces were thought provoking to say the least. They were incredibly graphic, and I got the feeling that the artist would take that remark as a compliment. I found her website and quite frankly, the pieces she sent me were tame. She’s a bit angry at the Ontario Craft Council for rejecting her submission for funding and the ensuing piece she created resembles revenge......it's spiteful, pornographic and dark.
I will admit, the women’s hooked faces had personalities; although I’m not sure if they are expressions of anger or fear or maybe both? Cartoonish squared off mouths and teeth, told a tale of strength though hard knocks and I don’t give a crap attitude. I think her stuff would have been well received in Gotham City but in little ole Mahone Bay, not so much. I would like to post the pictures but I’m a little weary of the reaction. I’ve already been chastised for telling the truth a while back. I don’t intentionally set out to upset anyone, I’m just writing about my experiences, that’s all I have; my truth. Besides, I wouldn’t show her work or name her without her permission, although I can’t see the harm in describing her work with words. If you are faint of heart sign off now.
The boldest of the group of pictures was a rug with a woman on a table giving birth. The child’s head was out and there was a great deal of blood over the table and on the
floor. There was something about the way the legs were parted and the look on the woman’s face that drew you in and made you wonder what could have happened in someone’s life to use the beauty of childbirth as something ugly, at least that’s how I felt. The infant was scary, had the same strange expression, more of the squared mouth and teeth. I sort of felt like the baby was packing heat and the next push would expose a cash of weapons. What do I know? It’s just a feeling. Quite frankly I’ve never seen anything like it but maybe I've lived a sheltered life.
Another one was of a nude woman on her hands and knees with nails along her spine and both of her hands were tools, hammers I believe. No explanation came with the piece and I could assume but I would have been wrong. I saw on the website she calls this one “Work” so I was off the mark completely. I really can't see the relationship it might have to toil, but I admit, I'm obviously not qualified to follow this script.
Another piece was a woman, once again on her hands and knees and her back was a table set for dinner with tablecloth, cutlery and plates. She had what looked like a stick of dynamite in her mouth and one sticking out of her back end, both had been lit. I wasn’t able to get a read on this piece either but I’m sure there was a story behind it, no pun intended.
One piece was a woman with half a head of blue hair, the other side blond, with the same squared mouth and teeth. She was staring right at the observer and giving the finger. It dripped rebellion and anger but that’s just my take on it. Unless art comes with an explanation the meaning becomes the interpretation of the observer and that’s what I saw.
After she emailed me I thought crap. Now I have to deal with this. Being raised with manners, I needed to reply, say something, but all I could think was how I get into trouble doing absolutely nothing. Like I have time for this. So I dealt with it as kindly as I could and I didn’t hear back from her which was absolutely okay. It takes all kinds to entertain and impress the world. I’m not sure who her target audience is and target might not be the best word....but I don’t think she’ll be president of any rug hooking guilds any time soon.
Designed in the William Morris style. The apple tree could be a visual feast with pops of red throughout the multi-green foliage. The serpent is wrapped casually around the tree trunk whispering to Eve in an attempt to facilitate the first temptation of man. Adam is arriving at the tree just in time for this pivotal moment.
Adam and Eve in all their naked resplendence, except for a strategically placed leaf to cover the part. Good practice piece using flesh tone values for realism. Notice the absent belly buttons....not created by natural child birth I thought it more interesting to omit them.
This design continually speaks to me, all those leaves and apples dance around in my thoughts. I know I will have to hook this design as I have hooked it several times in my head and need to see it come to fruition. Also, I look forward to working with flesh tone values to breathe realism into their bodies.