Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Ode to Spring

Spring 2012 was the beginning of my gray phase.

One might think with a rug titled Ode to Spring that the colors would include an array of bright greens and a palette of the renewed earth! That it would scream new life, colorful unfurling buds and lengthening days. However, this rug's initial concept was more about experimenting with design and colors from a quilt and vintage hooked rug that I had seen earlier that year. Later, the birds busy in flight, won me over. They demanded to be a part of this design and suggested the title as a poem praising the emerging spring, hence the name, Ode To Spring.

I snapped a photo of this quilt pattern from a book or magazine while haunting the thrift stores. It was the initial catalyst for my new design.

I was entranced by the black and white blocks of this quilt. The way the black diamond was encircled by the roundish shape fascinated me. Immediately I wondered, what would it look like, if the circle shape instead were leaves encircling a flower?

The vintage rug, hooked by a dear friend's grandmother, was my inspiration for color. I loved the symmetry of this old pattern, but more importantly, what mesmerized me was the use of gray, red, black and white.

I was curious about how I might use these colors in an updated range of subtle grays, warm and cool in tone, warm reds, antique blacks and others neutrals.

Then came the bird element to this design. I treasure the feeling of wonder in early spring when the newly arrived flocks of vireos, bushtits and swallows return! I wanted to use birds in this rug, to capture their movement, yet not overpower the other design elements.

When I saw this metal wall sculpture at a local bakery, I realized that birds in flight, in a swirling motion, would compliment and mimic the encircling leaf motifs in the rug perfectly. *(I haven't been able to locate sculpture artist's name as of yet.)

The three birds in flight in the center panel of the runner shows my interpretation of that motion.

I designed the Ode to Spring Runner, yet wasn't quite ready to hook it when I was planning a couple of road trips. The runner measures approximately 23"x 52". I needed a small project. The center panel of the runner seemed like it was a rug that could stand on its own. I wanted to hook the small rug, differently than the runner, but with a similar color plan. I reversed the color placement and used antique blacks as the background, softer orangey-pinks, blue grays and warm greenish golds for the motifs. This smaller version is listed as Ode to Spring Center.

If you haven't designed or hooked a runner before I hope your interest has been piqued. A runner has many uses, such as in a hallway, at the foot or side of your bed, or in front of a buffet to name just a few.

Of course, I will be curious to know what design or color palette you will be experimenting with in YOUR next project!


  1. Great story. After finishing a rug that's started, my new color palette will be oranges, greens and grey, with some red and yellows thrown in. In my head, it looks good, we will see when I start hooking if it will be or not.

    1. Thanks Marie! Yes, it all looks good in our head! As we hook, that's where the real work begins! I'm sure it will be beautiful!

  2. Really fascinating to see where the inspiration/ideas came from and how you put them together in your own work..and I absolutely love the colours of the small rug.