01 November 2009

Proddy Workshop with Gene Shepherd

I'm so fortunate to be a member of the Wine Country Rug Hookers, an ATHA guild based in the lovely region of California where I grew up. There are many reasons to appreciate this guild.....not the least of which is the varied and talented group of hookers I've come to know & love.

Another reason is that, at least twice a year, we host well-known teachers from around the country to come & share their expertise with our members. For some inexplicable reason, we don't have much difficulty getting teaching commitments from these great teachers. I wonder why???

Last weekend, we had a visitor from not-too-far-away, the inestimable Gene Shepherd from Anaheim, California (otherwise known as the home of Disneyland). Gene spent a very busy day and a half teaching us proddy techniques to enhance our hooking. It was great fun and Gene is a great teacher. He's thoroughly researched his subject and has worked hard to develop neat ways of prodding realistic-looking flowers. He's also quite personable, tells a good story and kept us laughing.

The hookers in our group have a broad range of styles and, as a result, there were a great many interpretations of Gene's proddy flower techniques. I took two pieces that I had put a lot of work in to before the workshop. The first is a Primitive Spirit design, Almond Blossoms, which I had completely hooked but left spaces to add the proddy blossoms. The top photo is how the piece looked after the workshop. I spent the whole first day cutting out the blossoms and adding them to the piece.
While I was very happy with all that I learned, I did find that I was not completely pleased with the colors of the blossoms.....somehow the brighter pink just didn't go with the overall muted colors of the mat. I have since made a few changes and additions and am much happier with the total effect.
I welcome your opinions on which you like best.....the first version with the brighter blossoms or the second version with the more subtle coloration in the blossoms?

This mat will be used as my demonstration piece for the Pillow Construction Workshop I'm teaching in my studio next month.....I rather like the idea that I'll be using a piece that Gene helped me to learn from to help others learn some of what I have to offer.

The second piece that I worked on is my own design.....you'll see the finished version & the pattern at a later time but, for now, I just wanted to share the flowers I added using Gene's techniques & guidance. This piece makes me very happy!

Notice the wonderful vintage Bakelite buttons I used as centers for two of the flowers? I have quite an extensive collection of vintage & antique buttons and it's fun to find such a great use for a few of them!

Keep Hooking.....


Crowsnest Pass Primitive Folk Art said...

I actually prefer the top rug...the flowers pop & seem to add some definition & depth to the rug that the lower one with the muted colors doesn't seem to have. It makes me smile & long for spring. The bottom flowers look wonderful with the antique buttons...lovely!!!Are you ever going to have online classes available for your projects? Would love to take one of your classes but alas I live to far away.
Thanks for sharing your work. Warmly,Susan Pilotto

tj said...

...Oh for goodness sakes, how cute is that?! :o) I for one love the muted colors better, it does go with the overall scheme of the mat. And the flowers with the buttons - adorable!

...Can I ask, do you just hook with long loops and cut each loop at an angle to achieve the petals on the flowers? And I agree with the person above me - online class please... :o)

...Beautiful works!


Gayle said...

BEAUTIFUL! I read about the workshop on Gene's blog, but it's fun to hear from you as a participant too. I like the muted colors when you redid your flowers - it's softer and calming now. Can't wait to see your finished new pattern with the sunflowers.

Rugs and Pugs said...

Marita ~
I also favor rug #2 because I prefer muted colors.
The buttons are a nice touch!
Pug hugs :)

debra said...

I also cast my vote for the muted colors, although the first one does have a nice contrast and is more spring-like. Now how is that for sitting on the fence!?!
What color wool did you use for the background in your birdhouse mat?

Maria said...

Oh my Marita, I have never been a big fan of proddy til now! Both of your rugs have made me a huge fan. Love the more muted version of the rug....but your flowers are simply divine. I must learn how to proddy now! I've added you to my blog lis:) Maria