Generating Abstract Ideas

As I have been reading about abstract art this year, I have been trying to think of ways to apply the principles to rug hooking. I have started to come up with some practical suggestions to create abstract rug studies so I'm going to begin to share them on the blog, and will add more as they come my way.

Abstraction means taking something and moving it away from realism. Abstract art does this by taking representational art and 'abstracting' it, moving it away from a realistic representation of the object, to try to get at the nature of the object rather than reproduce the object. Or it eliminates the object altogether and works in color fields, lines or forms only. The "theory" behind abstract art is that it is not about the object, but about the painter making visible the inner self.

Here are some practical suggestions for designing abstract rugs:

1. Chop a small portion of a photo of an object. Enlarge the small portion to the size of your foundation. Draw this on your foundation.
2. Take a photo, enlarge it to the size of your foundation. Outline the objects you want with a big marker. Cut or slice the enlargement into different pieces. Rearrange them into a mosaic of your liking. Draw lines around various pieces of the mosaic if you want to add a linear element. Draw this on your foundation.
3. Take a photo and enlarge it. Draw thick black lines around the objects. Distort some. Enlarge some of the objects, but not others. Arrange the objects to your liking. Hook stark lines around the objects perhaps like the cubists did.
4. Take a photo, enlarge it, and change up the colors, using unnatural or unexpected colors. Simplify and distort slightly the objects before hooking them.
5. Draw free forms or run free lines across your foundation. Hook by concentrating on color and transition of color.
6. Go geometric, but funky. Keep away from repeated motifs lined up or in quilt blocks. Let the geometrics run around the foundation.
7. Hook colors with no design at all. Just an empty foundation to fill up with color. Hook freely.

Consider joining the 2010 Abstract Challenge over on RHD. I am finding hooking a color field (#7 on my list) to be very liberating.