I loved the idea of “Story Rugs” when I first heard it years ago – which I have no idea when or in exactly what context. But I wondered at the time what my story would be. Then, in typical “me” fashion, I filed it away in my brain and went on to some other hooking projects.
I saw Paulette Hackman’s book Story Rugs when it came, grabbed a copy right away and dove in. When Green Mountain Rug School asked me to co-teach a “Story Rug” class based on Paulette’s book I was ecstatic! I was fortunate enough to have Paulette help in the planning stages and so she and I had some preliminary conversations about the class last summer. Have I mentioned how amazing she is and how excited I am for my class?!
In talking with Paulette I became so energized and inspired that I decided to create and hook a brand new story rug to use as a teaching tool for the class. So I started to ponder “my” story. What would it be? Did I really even have a story? The answer to that question is always “Yes, everyone has a story…” the trick is in finding the story. Little did I recognize “Work of Heart” my rug that I had designed with Bev Conway and given to my dad, was really a story rug. But then aren’t most rugs story rugs? As I began to really get comfortable with the idea of story rugs I realized that at least 90% of all rugs I’ve ever hooked can be classified as story rugs!
I settled on telling the story of Green Mountain Hooked Rugs and started a journal book making notes on ideas; what parts of the rug might look like; what ‘stories’ did I want to include? What did I want the over all pattern to look like? I love oriental rugs so it was kind of a no-brainer for me to pick an overall look of the Azeri rugs as they have such a strong oriental flavor to them.
Okay. That was settled.
I still did not know how big it would be, but I knew the center field area would contain five sections – one for each of the generations. How would I put them together? Should they be separate? Should I have the sections wind along a ‘path’? A path through the mountains? The center was tough to lock down and not having come up with anything concrete, I moved on to the borders. I wanted a wide border and two narrower ones – typical of oriental and Azeri patterns. After much more wondering, pondering and doodling in my journal I finally hit upon the idea for the large border! I would use the original logo of three mountains. But what for the smaller borders? And the overall color – green or buff – light or dark? And still that center field eluded me.
In fact it still eludes me! I’m not finished with my story rug just yet, but I’m still working toward how to incorporate all of my themes, hidden meanings, and mini-stories. You can see some of my ‘ideas’ as they progressed in the sketches below - I supposed I have the brain of an artist: moving too fast for my hand and somewhat disorganized! But I am loving this process nonetheless and I know I am getting closer to a ‘final’ design. I can see the different parts of the design, both the center field and borders, coming alive.
The process of creating this story rug has helped me define my own story, the story of my family, and immortalize it in the medium most appropriate for myself, my nieces, my sisters, my mother, and all of the important women who came before us and made Green Mountain Rug School possible.
Creating a story rug helps us become a part of something bigger.
Pam is teaching a class on creating Story Rugs at Green Mountain Rug School this year. For more information visit: https://greenmountainhookedrugs.com/products/planningstoryrugswithpamkirk-june17-202017?variant=3905124739