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!