I am packing for Sauder and will be leaving soon to go visit my 'Ghost Horse' rug, which will be a part of the display of Celebration finalists at Sauder Village this year. I sent my rug off 10 days ago and hope it made it to Ohio without incident. This is a photo I took myself and it has some shadows on it, but you at least get an idea of what the rug looks like.
I designed and hooked this rug in a Diane Stoffel class here at the store, last year. Have you ever met Diane? She is a little spit fire ball of energy, all of 5ft tall, with so much rug hooking knowledge and color sense packed into her little self, you cannot blink during class or you will miss something that will absolutely change your rug hooking life. Remember........don't blink!!!!!
I told Diane I wanted to make a rug of my beloved horse Blackie, who you met in a previous posting. He is buried right by this pasture and I wanted this to be a winter scene, with the grey horse standing in the snow. Diane said, "OK, but here is what you are going to do, this horse needs to be RUNNING thru those trees and everywhere his ghost passages by a tree, it will change the color of the ghostly image!" I said, "I am not sure I can do that." Diane said (in her irrepressible Diane way), "Of course you can, I am going to help you!" And she did.
White is an interesting color (or non-color) to work with. Here we needed white snow, icy white sky and a white ghost. Yeah, sure thing. Fortunately, I like dyeing whites and have a huge selection of them in the store. Diane would grab whites off the shelf, throw them on the table by me and say "Use this here". At first, I had no idea what I was doing. It was alright, because Diane DID know what she was doing. After a while, I started to get what was going on and was able to start figuring this whole idea out. Over-dyed whites are still colors, with bits of pink or blue or green or whatever. So, the snow was pinky whites and bluey whites and greeny whites and yellowy whites. The sky was bluey whites and purpley whites and greyie whites (Is greyie really a word!) Because the horse was a living thing, even as a ghost, his colors needed to be warmer. So we went with creams, onion skin and parchment colors.
When it came time to hook the horse's face and shoulder into the tree, Diane came to the rescue again. This is a purpley grey color that perfectly set off the morphing ghost color as it passed thru the raisin colored tree. Oh yes, that is another thing I learned from Diane. I intended to make the dead winter trees black and grey and brown. Wrong!!!!!! Diane says winter trees are purples, raisins and taupes. And of course she was absolutely right.
Just so you don't think any of this was EASY.....the snow had to be a completely different pattern than the sky. Diane suggested doing these little strips that butt up to one another at 45 degree angles. The sky became these little puzzle pieces or key hole designs. She also thought the sky should get colder as it got higher in the sky........I did that too. It is a little hard to see this from the picture, but in person, the sky definitely chills as the air rises.
Well, there it is, my 'Ghost Horse'. I always say that I am still so close to Blackie's spirit, that sometimes I swear I still see him standing out there in that pasture. Some days I have to look twice, before I remember he is gone. I could not think of a better way to honor him and our 30 years together than the making of this rug. And the person I have to thank is Diane Stoffel. I would never have even thought of the idea, let alone accomplished the rug without her. She is a fantastic teacher. If you ever get the chance to study with her, leap at the opportunity. Thank you Diane.