Christine here. I am back home after the recent Valley Forge Spring Braid In last weekend, which was a tremendously fun event. After the braid in was over, Kris McDermet and Dianne Tobias and I stayed in the Chadds Ford, PA area and went to the Brandywine Museum, Longwood Gardens, and the Winterthur estate and gardens. (Do you get the feeling that I was trying not to come back home?) But yes, it’s all still here: little progress was made on the stone and cement soup of a back yard and the demolished kitchen while I was gone.
Here’s a photo of the attendees of the braid in:
One of the events that I look forward to every year is the Rug Challenge. Truly, I believe that the craft and art of rug braiding is advanced every year by the creations for the Challenge. It stimulates the imagination and encourages the makers in new directions in order to achieve the image they have in mind. The Rug Challenge is one of the events that I look forward to the most about the braid in.
Unfortunately, with all the recent mayhem in my life… I didn’t finish my own Challenge rug — the leaf. But, I’ll keep working on it, because I’m enjoying the rug and the process.
I did, however, enter one thing for the “Going Native” Rug Challenge: I made a braided grass skirt and sashayed with the other braided hula girls across the luau “stage.” I’m hoping someone sends me a photo of all of us together because if nothing else we made each other laugh! Here’s a photo of Nancy Young and Pam Rowan as Hawaiian Natives.
Here are some of the entries to the Challenge. Thanks to Cheri Coberly for her photos.
Cathy Kinship made braided ear muffs in honor of Chester Greenwood, the inventor of ear muffs, from her home town of Farmington, Maine.
Pam Landry made a beautiful hooked and braided rug that honors her Native American ancestry.
Deb Lynch brought two items to the Challenge. She lives in Maine, and brought a braided buoy and a quillie’d and braided Maine Lobster — see photo. The backing needed to be reinforced to support the weight of the large claws. Deb used hot glue to attach the quillies.
Bobbi Mahler made a large and beautiful butted basket with Native American designs on the sides. (It amused me to see Bobbi working with such a somber color palette: her rugs are usually tropical flower colors — hot pinks, purples, and lime greens…) Well, we all stretch in different ways for this Challenge!
Peggyann Watts modeled her design after a Native American piece she found — see the photo in her hand. Her own mat uses braiding, hooking, and quillies to create the design. Note the felted flowers on Peggy’s braided hula skirt: Peggy taught a class on how to make these flowers at the braid in. She also was one of the “Hawaiian Natives” in braided hula skirts.
Marjorie Kauffman’s take on “native” featured a basket with possum fur braided into the walls of the basket. The fur was actually cut from a thrift store fur coat and, due to the stiff nature of the fur strips, required an adaptation to the braiding in order to incorporate the fur. In between the fur strips she has 9-loop centers arrayed in a decorative row.
Pam Rowan’s entry into the “Going Native” Challenge is a dramatic Zebra Rug. She achieves the stripes with an 8-strand diagonal stripe mulitstrand. I particularly like the center, with those sharp corners that change the stripe direction. Very graphic!
Next year’s 2017 Rug Challenge is “The Four Seasons.” (If you’re particularly ambitious, the challenge for the year after that is “Blue Willow.”)
Not to be repetitious, but I think these Challenges are really important. Just look at the different techniques and fabrics that were incorporated into the braiding in order to achieve the challenge goal: we had multi strand braiding, braided possum fur, quillies, rug hooking, some sculptural pieces, felted flowers, and some items of clothing. Pretty amazing!