Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Our Next Blogazine Guest is Dulcy!

Hi everyone! My name is Dulcy Stewart and I live in an old rock house in the Ozarks.

I share my home with my photographer husband Jim Mayfield, http://jimayfieid.blogspot.com/

And a couple of lovely little kitties, Iris and Willow.

I was so happy one day when I discovered the sweetest comment from Maggie on my blog. I immediately hopped over to her blog wondering just who this “Grandma Yellow Hair” could possibly be. I don’t know how she found me, but I’m so thrilled that she did! Her stories are a delight, and had me giggling by the end of her first paragraph.

My blog, dulcysdoorstep, http://www.dulcysdoorstep.blogspot.com/

 is mostly about my passion for fiber art, and my journey as a rug hooker. I also add other images from my life. If you don’t know what rug hooking is, check out my blog and the many others I have linked to talented rug hookers from all over. The technique is simple…. pulling wool loops through linen to create a design.

The above is a rug I did inspired by a den of fox pups being raised in our yard. We live on a couple of wooded acres in a rather old wooded part of our town. We watched litters being raised over the past few years, and are totally smitten with the little fox families. Just about all my rug designs are inspired by nature and things I love.

My most recent creation is this tote I hooked for fall. I love to design and hook handbags. All my hooked pieces are made with wool hooked onto linen. This tote is lined with a plaid wool that matches the strap.

At this point I would like to share with you a bit of background about myself, and how I became so passionate about fiber art, and all arts and crafts.

I have been lucky to have the most talented, self-taught artist for a mom. Growing up, I never knew skipping home from the bus stop what I would find. I can remember walking into my room to discover an old time school desk. Remember the ones where the whole top lifted up to get your stuff out? Those were the best desks ever! Well, mom had picked one up somewhere and painted it a beautiful light country sort of blue. She then hand-painted the top with a quill and ink pen running down the side with vines and flowers. Gosh…. What I wouldn’t give to have that today! It probably ended up in a garage sale many, many years ago. I was the only kid in school with a hand-painted lunchbox. It had butterflies and flowers, which surrounded my name on the front. Mom had also given it an old worn look by antiquing it with rubbed gold paint (she was a visionary definitely ahead of her time!) Another piece I could just cry about not having kept.

Mom and I, eventually when I was old enough to help, made most of my clothes. I would get so frustrated when coveting some cute outfit in a shop window, and mom’s words would be, “We can make that.” Off on another trip to the fabric store for patterns, material, zippers, and such. As I reflect back on these times, I’m so thankful for the skills and the art of sewing that my mom instilled in me. I still sew, but mostly it will be constructing a hooked bag I’m working on, or possibly a piece of clothing I’m trying to embellish. I use the same sewing machine that I bought when I was 18 and it was used when I bought it. In other words it’s very, very old!

As my life ebbed and flowed with all kinds of situations, good and bad (as life tends to do) one thing remained constant. I was either drawing, painting, stitching, sewing, crocheting, needle pointing, and now rug hooking.

I’m still doing all of those things, but rug hooking is my main passion and focus of attention. I retired from twenty-three years in the teaching profession, which I dearly loved. But now, I have more time to be me. During my last year of teaching, I daydreamed about how retirement might look. I had worked my entire life starting with babysitting jobs at about age twelve. I was ready for some “Dulcy time!”

I decided on many things that I would do. Volunteer, spend time with other friends who had given up the 9 to 5 world, home projects, etc. But…. The most important thing I wanted to accomplish was to bring art into my life everyday. It’s not that I wasn’t doing that before. I believe we surround ourselves with art constantly (if we pay attention). How we dress, prepare and present food, garden, and arrange our homes. For me though, I wanted a more conscious and purposeful artful life.

Last fall I began designing and hooking more than ever. I spent more time with my sketchpad, and am now taking drawing lessons and I try to draw a little each day. Yes, everyone can draw!

I have given more attention to my life as art, and where I can enhance it daily. I rug hook most every day, even if that means sketching, looking at other hooker’s work on blogs, in books, or on display. I recently returned from Maine where I took a class with Jane Halliwell Green, http://rugsandpaintings.typepad.com/

She teaches rug hooking from a more painterly fashion, and I learned just gobs of great new techniques, made new friends, ate lobster every way imaginable (including creamed on toast), and came home more inspired to rug hook than ever. You see, Maine and Nova Scotia (where we spent some time after my class was over) are where rug hooking originated. From what I have learned, the art goes back close to 200 years. I carried one of my hooked bags with me, and people would comment about it and share stories of watching moms and grandmothers hooking rugs. Lots of old hooked rugs show up in motels, restaurants, and other places we explored. Rug hooking is shown in art galleries, museums, and gift shops. I was where I needed to be!

The thing about rug hooking is that to me, it’s sort of a metaphor for life. The process is slow, deliberate, and somewhat labor intensive. This means one must be patient. Each loop pulled is like a step. Sometimes they are purposeful, and other times they simply meander along. The meandering can lead to some of the best designs! Please drop by my blog for a visit anytime!

I just had to share Dulcy with all of you! Thank you honey for writing this great story for us. All of you are so gifted and do so much with your creativeness that I am always in awe of what you do.  Your rugs are truly beautiful and I wish I lived close where you could teach me.

I have to figure out what I need to be doing because I miss that part of my life when I created. Yes believe it or not I use to do things besides mow and chase bad guys. lol

Love to all



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