July’s Rug of the Month is a freshly finished project! This month, Ania has decided to talk about her gargoyle rug. The formal name of the pattern is “Notre Dame Gargoyle,” and it was designed by Ania. The inspiration for the design was a postcard from 1910. The pattern’s dimensions are 28” by 30”, and he’s hooked in #3 and #4 strips of wool.
You created this pattern for yourself – what inspired you to do so?
For the longest time, probably since I was in my teens, I’ve always liked gargoyles, the history behind them, and their use in architecture. I realize that not everyone likes gargoyles, or their appearance!
In the early ‘80s, I took a trip to Europe. One of the places we visited was Notre Dame in Paris. I saw this gargoyle for the first time on that trip. Since then, he’s been my favorite gargoyle of all time.
I think the reason why he’s my favorite is because he sits at the very top of the cathedral, with his head on his hands, and observes the city below. It almost looks like a pose a human would strike. He’s been sitting there for centuries, never moving, never changing, and I always wonder: what is he thinking? Sometimes I think he’s deep in thought, sometimes I think he’s being mischievous with his tongue out. He’s always been food for my imagination.
Since my earliest days of hooking, I’ve always wanted to hook him. Then, I came upon the postcard on eBay last year. I bought the postcard, and that was the start of the pattern I created.
Because he had this imagined personality I had come up with, I wanted to make sure he was the focus of the pattern. I wanted him to be in a very thick fog in the early hours of the morning. I wanted the tower in the background to be visible but only partially, and I wanted only a hint of the buildings below.
How did you approach color planning for this project?
The gargoyle is made of stone, but I also wanted a potential perception that he was alive, or coming alive, which is why I made his eye blue and his tongue pink. The rug, by the nature of the stone and the fog, was going to be in all greys, but I wanted his face to still have a human aspect. At the same time, I didn’t want the colors to be striking – it had to be subtle.
I also wanted to make sure the greys I used to hook the gargoyle really looked like stone, so I used very cool tones. The ledge and the tower and the other greys were warmer.
I used a variety of greys, from warm to cool, to try to ensure there was enough contrast in tone between all of the elements in the rug. When you’re working with mostly the same color in one project, it’s important to have that contrast wherever possible.
I also added a little bit of red to the wall underneath the gargoyles ledge, as a remembrance of the fire at Notre Dame this spring.
What was the biggest challenge with completing this project?
The fog, I think. I experimented with a couple of different hooking techniques to try to get the right effect.
The gargoyle itself was a challenge as well! Once I got the face done, then there were a variety of different aspects that were “micro-challenges,” like the horns and the wings. There were parts of the gargoyle that I tweaked multiple times, to make sure I got it right.
Is there anything else of note about this project?
It was important to give him, and the stone ledge he is resting his elbows on, a good deal of dimension and sense of height. I wanted to make sure that came across well.
Directional hooking played a big role in it. I had to use directional hooking to give a 3D effect to it, and to further create contrast.
I might want to do another gargoyle rug, but I think my next take on a gargoyle would be very different from this project. If anyone is interested in this pattern, it is a custom pattern I will be offering for sale in the begining of September 2019. Any interested parties can contact me!
As always, if you have any questions or thoughts you’d like to share with Ania, feel free to leave them in the comments below! On a separate note, we’re delighted to be listed as one of the 60 top rug hooking blogs on Feedspot this past month. Thank you to all the readers for your continued interest and support.