VE Magazine features Mid-Century Modern Ryas and my Efforts to Revive the Almost-lost Art of the Rya Rug

Rya Rug-making…Yesterday and Today. This early ad is from one of my old C.U.M. Rya catalogs from Denmark.

A few weeks ago, I received an email from the editor of VE Magazine (stands for VintagExplorer) based in the United Kingdom.  VE is available both in print and online with subscriptions from all around the world.  She was working on an article featuring the history of mid-century modern rya rugs and some of the unique advertisements that were created to put this art form on the map.  You have to see them to believe it!  Click here to go directly to the Rya Rugs article.  If you are a fan of all things vintage, treat yourself to a trip back in time.  Let me know if any of you remember the advertisements.  I recall my grandmother saying, “That’s ridiculous.  Who would put a rya rug in the beach sand?”  But the image lasted for decades for me.

The article also contains rare information about the history of the Nordic ryas to which I can attest there is very little written.  I was thrilled to see the history is very similar to what I have assembled for the history chapter in my book on designing and making the off-loom rya. (Phew!  So I know it is all TRUE!) She wanted to conclude her story with an optimistic word about making a rya rug today…and she found me.  Of course I gave her all the info and photos she needed to complete the story.  The off-loom art of rya rug-making has a new ally of support and outreach to the world.  So exciting to have others sharing the story.

Louise working on her first rya of her own design at the February 2017 Rya Sewing Circle at Byrdcall Studio. Denis is starting on his third rya of the past 12 months!

I think it is really cool that she has put the challenge out to the VE readers to make a rya rug.  A kit is a great way to get started, or start designing your own.

I keep adding to my kits-on-hand inventory from Rauma of Norway each month.  I also have a few of my earlier designs listed on etsy. Why not check out my etsy shop?

If you would like to share your latest rya project, or even a vintage one, post on Pinterest or Instagram with hashtags #vintagexplorermag, #ryarugs, or #midcentury.  Be proud to share in any social media you choose and in real life, too, like as a fiberart in the County Fair!  If there is no category for “Rya Rugs” request a new category for an old craft.   The more we get our ryas “out there” the more people will realize it isn’t just an art of the past.

While your interest is peaked, why not check out these links:  www.vintagexplorer.co.uk and www.mantiquexplorer.co.uk

If you remember these ads, tell us.  If you care to comment about this blog, feel free to do so below.  You may not see your comment immediately, but check it out later and see what others have said.  Thanks!  Knot on!

Perfectly manicured hands demonstrate the rya knotting technique in another promotional photo by C.U.M. Rya of Denmark in 1960s-70s..

 

A Rya Challenge for the New Year

img_0289Happy New Year!  I think we stay young when we do things we have never done before on a regular basis.  If nothing else, it definitely keeps life more interesting.  So that will be one of my driving forces during 2017.

I have been designing and making rya rugs since I was in 6th grade, so my new thing to start the new year is to make a “kit” rya rug from Norway–and an easy one at that. So, for me, my challenge is to not ad-lib or substitute colors.  Why am I holding back on my creativity? img_0267The reason is I have been selling the Rauma Rye (Norwegian for rya; pronounced the same) kits for over a year now and I have never made one.  Most design-kits have been available for decades, if there ever were any “bugs” surely they would have been worked out by now.  I ask my customers after they tell me they have completed a rye kit if they had enough of every color.  Usually the answer is yes, and I have to wonder when they don’t if it is because they made the pile a little too long. img_5967 So now I am putting myself to the test.  I am also putting Rauma to the test. It is coming through with flying colors. Many of my questions are now answered.

The neat thing is: I am totally LOVING making the kit called “ILD” which means “Fire” in Norwegian.  I have seen a photo of a completed Ild in gradations from black-purples-reds-orange-yellows.  But Ild is also offered as a kit in these cool blues-greens, but I didn’t know what they would look like together.

Two evenings ago I started knotting Ild while watch a Netflix movie (Sully, starring Tom Hanks). So sitting on the couch with my rya in my lap, I knotted the bottom 6″ within two hours while watching a riveting movie.  Now, two days later I am almost half way done and I can’t stop! The color combinations are amazing.  This is a great “starter kit.”  It is small 16″ wide by 32″ tall. It is totally symmetrical.  Reasonably priced at $206 for all supplies.  And now it is the only kit of all my Norwegian offerings that is personally “test-driven” by me.  (aside from my own designs!)img_0265

Now I have a fun offer for you. I would like to offer a small rya sewing circle of 3-4 people who want to come to my studio here in Woodbine, Maryland to start on their own Ild kit or any other rya project you would like to make. I’d be happy to set you up with these colors, or the red one, or we could do any color transition you want to do such as browns-rusts-yellows or purples through pinks.  I can personally teach you in a small group setting.  If you can’t come to my studio, You can still buy a kit and I will mail it to you. Click here to see the blue-green option or Click here to see the red-yellow option I’ll start the first few knots for you.  And for January and February, we can do an email progress-sharing report for all Ild makers, and in spring I will post a picture of everyone with their completed rya in what ever colors you chose to make them.  Contact me if you would be interested in starting with this kit this winter.  Let me know your general time availability. Weekdays, or weekend, mornings or afternoons.  Note:  I have just set aside Wed., Feb. 8 from 2-4:00 as a rya sewing circle day.  The first 4 people to contact me will be included in this sharing afternoon together.  Email me at byrdcallstudio@gmail.com.

img_0277All that to say, I AM LOVING THIS RYA EXPERIENCE!  And want to experience it with YOU! Throughout 2017 I plan to shine a spot light on various designs or ways of designing.  Keep me posted if you don’t want to miss a Rya Sewing Circle aimed at giving you confidence and a good healthy start on your project.

If you live anywhere near Connecticut, don’t forget to check out the STITCHES UNITED Conference in Hartford the last week-end in April.  I’ll be teaching there, and there is still time to register for my class. ILD and about 4-5 or my own designs will be on display in the Hartford Convention Center.

Feel free to comment below about other class types you would be interested to have me schedule in 2017.  Completing the book is my #1 priority, but a little class fun really makes my day!

A Design to Uplift and Heal

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Lately, writing my rya book has been first and highest priority in my daily life.  But with the stress of the recent presidential election and its outcome, I found myself sitting quietly in the studio last Sunday and wondering how to move on.  I had not even looked at my book document on my computer for nearly a week. I was not productive in any way.

Even though I had not carved a woodcut or linocut in over a year, I found myself taking a linoleum block from my carving bin and started to draw safety pins on it.  (The safety pin is being worn by many to symbolize standing together and uniting for the safety of others. When I saw a woman wearing a safety pin on her sweater in the market the other day, I felt a bit of optimism and comfort.  Such a small thing to wear a pin, but a big thing if it makes others feel camaraderie or united in some way. )

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This is a Unisex shirt in the color Berry. Click on the image to go to the etsy shop to see details.

I laid a little pin on the block and drew it, then moved it and drew it again, then opened it and drew it again.  Next thing you know I was carving it and within a couple of hours it was done! The process has been healing for me, but the real healing came when I thought, “I can not ‘market’ this art like my other designs, because there are too many people really hurting now and it would be unfair for me to profit on their loss.”  I got a big smile on my face (the first in days) when I realized that I could market them as printed shirts where a significant portion of the cost of the shirt would go to directly benefit marginalized people in our community and aid in creating unity among us all. I named the design: Unity.

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These long sleeve Comfort Colors shirts are now available in my etsy shop. Click on photo for details.

I selected two nonprofits which are near and dear to my heart and have promised $10 from each shirt sale to either of these nonprofits as selected by the person purchasing the shirt.  I have hand printed a total of 30 shirts in Ladies and Unisex style in long and short sleeves.  But I also have recently received from my local silk screener 200 more, so they can be distributed far and wide without taking up every minute of my life doing the printing by hand.

The nonprofits (to start with) and their missions are as follow:

  1. Common Ground on the Hill.  “Our world is one of immense diversity. As we explore and celebrate this diversity, we find that what we have in common with one another far outweighs our differences. Our common ground is our humanity, often best expressed by artistic traditions that have enriched human experience through the ages. We invite you to join us in searching for common ground as we assemble around theimg_5446 understanding that we can improve ourselves and our world by searching for the common ground in one another, through the lens of our artistic traditions. In a world filled with divisive, negative news, we seek to discover, create and celebrate good news.”          Walt Michael, Founder & Executive Director

You may recall from previous blogs and newsletters that nearly every summer for the past 15+ years I have taken classes during their summer camps and for the past two years I have been teaching rya rug making classes.

2. Mary’s Center  “Our mission is to build better futures through the delivery of health care, education, and social services. We embrace culturally diverse communities to provide them with the highest quality of care, regardless of ability to pay.”

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This is a Ladies style T-shirt. Click on photo to see the available hand-printed shirts in my etsy shop.  Hand-printed being rubbed from the inked carved linoleum block!

My niece, Emily, has worked in Washington DC at Mary’s Center since graduating from college.  Actually she did an internship there during college.  She has shared with me the wonderful service they provide.  I like to support them.

If you would like an original hand-printed T-shirt, you can buy them now through my etsy shop for $25 or $30 for long sleeves.  Each time one sells, I remove that shirt’s description for the dropdown menu of availability.

Later:  On Dec. 2nd I  picked up 200 more shirts from my local silk-screen printer.  They are currently listed in my etsy shop, Byrdcall.

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These ladies enjoyed a shopping frenzy knowing $10 from each purchase benefited a favorite nonprofit for unity.  Click this photo to see my new silk-screened T-shirts on etsy which cost $5 less than the hand-printed ones.

Designing, carving, and printing this design was healing for me.  generating funds for my favorite unifying nonprofits makes me feel good and I love knowing that each person who buys a shirt is wearing it with pride and love.

I am back to writing my book now. Yesterday I made progress, and today I plan to wrap up Chapter 5!  I am thankful to have art as an outlet in life to work through stress and challenges.  I hope you are all well and doing the same in your own way.  United we will make it better.  We will go forward with eyes open.

Donation Update:  As of 2/7/17 the sales of these shirts have generated $450 for Mary’s Center, $280 for Common Ground on the Hill and $140 for the Social Justice Committee of Cedarhurst Unitarian Universalist Church.  One day in the studio–with hopes for a more peaceful world has put $870 in the hands of people working to make that difference.  And the donations continue.

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And I also silk-screened Ladies style long sleeve in Lagoon and Denim and Black. And Unisex style long-sleeve shirts in the color Blue Spruce. Click this photo to see the etsy listing.

 

Online Viewing of Rauma Rya Kits Currently Available

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This one is named “ILD” which translates as “Fire.” I have a small kit for $206. which measures 16″ x 35″.

Once a month, I order rya yarn, backings, and rya kits from Norway.  The kits are a relatively new addition to my offerings.  In my last order, I purchased four kits which had no one waiting to receive them meaning that they are available at this moment.

  1. ILD (In reds as shown and in Blue-Greens.)
  2. Gry
  3. Vinter
  4. Anemone (My best seller in recent months)

Here is a new way for you to view what is available in kits from Norway (as opposed to viewing my past blogs where I have listed individual designs.) Click on this link to go directly to Rauma’s web site in Norway.  http://www.raumaull.no/produkter/ryer

This is Gry. I have it immediately available in these colors, but can also order it in purple-reds or gray-blues.

This is Gry. I have it immediately available in these colors, but can also order it in purple-reds or gray-blues. It costs $350. 24″ x 43″

Then click to download the various catalogs to see all the available kits.  I believe I can get any one of them for you.  Send me an email asking for the price of a particular kit.  Please use the order #number along with the name of the kit and the size you are interested in.  I’ll get back to you with a price.  The kits come in three different price ranges depending on how many strands of yarn are used on the needle and if the rya has a sculptural effect or not.  I can tell you the cost without you knowing the details.  😉

vinter-photo

“Vinter” is available now. You can guess what that translates to in English. The kit is 24″ x 43″ and costs $350.

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I’m thinking that if local folks ordered (or bought) kits, I would organize mini-classes of 3-4 students at Byrdcall Studio for a little class (maybe two hours) in getting started on your kit.  (Free of charge.) I’ll probably keep doing this for years to come, too.  I might as well start now.  I’d be looking for a minimum of three students, so let me put you on my future mini-class list.

Since these blogs are interactive, let me ask you:

If I offered a half-day mini-class on getting started on a Wreath Rya Wall-hanging this Fall, would you be interested?   See Wreath Rya in my Etsy Shop

headband-with-rya-knotsWould you be interested in a mini-class in designing your own rya with other beginners?  I’m thinking of offering classes with themes.  For example a rya class for quilt-makers to incorporate their quilt designs into ryas… and a class for visual artists to turn their abstract paintings into rya rugs.  Stay tuned and let me know if something interests you.  I’ll put you on the list to contact when that class happens.

Have you ever made rya knots on clothing?  Hats and mittens in particular?  If you have, tell me about it, or better yet, send me some pictures.

You can take a plain crocheted head band and turn it into a fun art piece.

And another random question:  If you have made ryas before, and hang them on your wall, HOW do you hang them?  What is your technique?  Yes, I am writing this part of the book now and would love to learn from YOU.

That is all for now.  I have a lot more blog posts in mind which you may be seeing sooner rather than later… and a newsletter should be out in a week or so.

Thanks so much for your interest.  Stay tuned. … Melinda

PS  Feel free to comment below.  I love to read your comments.  You might not see it immediately, but there is a delay in posting to stop spammers.  Thanks!

 

 

 

Drop-In for a Visit at Byrdcall Studio–Tuesday, August 23 Noon- 6PM

It is funny, every now and then, I get an email from someone who says, “I don’t understand it:  I have searched your newsletter for the location of your shop and I don’t see it listed anywhere.  Where are you located, and what are your hours?”

The truth is I do not have a storefront and I do not have scheduled hours of operation. I have a backyard studio where I do all my work. Most of my orders for rya supplies, hand-printed shirts, and other art come from email requests from my website and my etsy shop. I do not have–or plan to open–a store front for daily drop in business.  I always welcome requests for appointment and LOVE to meet people at the studio, but only by appointment.

This summer, I am trying something new.  Once a month, I have been offering Byrdcall Studio Drop-in Days where no appointment is necessary.  This is an experiment.  Let me know how this could work better for you.  Here are the Drop-in dates: Thursday, June 23; Wednesday, July 20th; and Tuesday, August 23rd.  Feel free to drop in between 12 noon and 6 PM.  My address is 1103 Hoods Mill Road, Woodbine, Maryland. Park in the driveway.  Walk up the gravel drive and enter through the gate (Please close it behind you to keep the dogs in).  The studio is the nice wooden building in the back.  Call for directions if you don’t have GPS. 410-615-2473.

Why might you want to visit?  To buy a T-shirt, to get a help starting on a rya kit you have bought, to see what the rya rugs are all about, to buy a woodcut print for a special gift, to see my yarn selection, to try your hand at knotting on the “practice” rya rug, to help me prepare yarn sample cards, or just to see the studio–or ME!

Note  In July I contacted several people who were working on their first ryas or about to start them.  They came to the studio and had a Rya Sewing Circle which was so  much fun for all of us!  Let’s do that again in August!

Comment below if you have suggestions for making Drop-In days work better for you. I’ll decide if we continue them after August. Or I could do two a month if lots of people come.

 

Grand Finale for Byrdcall Shirts at Art in the Park

A typical "double-wide" booth at Art in the Park back in about 2011.

A typical “double-wide” booth at Art in the Park back in about 2011.

This colorful floorcloth sold at AIP on the rainiest day when I was ankle deep in mud!

This colorful floorcloth sold at AIP on the rainiest day when I was ankle deep in mud!

Drum roll, please!  The studio is preparing for the last day of presenting hand-printed shirts at the Carroll County Arts Council’s Art in the Park.  Please mark your calendars for Saturday, June 4 from 10 – 4 PM. I have lost count, but I believe I have been showing and selling my art there for 16 years without a break—rain or shine!

The first year I scraped together enough to barely fill a borrowed 10 x 10 tent….some hand-woven belts, some painted floorcloths… I can’t even remember.  I think I made $50 and that was about “booth fee.”  I was happy!

A few years later I had bought my own tent, folding tables, a van(!), and filled the booth with hand-painted glassware, a few hand-printed shirts, and floor-cloths. In the past few years, I have displayed my work in a “double-wide booth” with all shirts!

Frank Baylor shares Thoreau in Vietnam

Frank Baylor shares Thoreau in Vietnam

Jan and Dave Flora at Machu Picchu.  Jan is wearing "Bee!"

Jan and Dave Flora at Machu Picchu. Jan is wearing “Bee!”

The shirts are popular, they last better than most shirts, and they make people feel good.  They seem to be the shirt-to-wear when you want to share a bit of who you are. People wear them to amazing places. What more could we ask for?

bins reorganizedThis year, I have organized my work in a very different way–really better for you. Instead of 26 stacking baskets containing ONE DESIGN in various colors, styles, and sizes, the baskets are arranged according to size. So you just go to your “size basket.” There might not be all 26 designs, but so many you’ll still have a hard time deciding which to buy.

My friend and invaluable helper, Debi Robertson, and I are looking forward to seeing you there.  Come early if you have something specific in mind you are looking for.

I will recognize you (probably) but I’m horrible with recalling names, so have mercy and tell me your name as you say HI!  I’ll have my name tag on, so you have no stress there.  😉

Now you are wondering, “What if she doesn’t have the design I really want in my size?” My good friend, Jennie DeArmey (we worked together at Piney Run Park back in the mid-80’s)–and I inventoried ALL of my blank Comfort Color shirts. So if you want me to print one for you, we will look on the blank shirt inventory page, and if I have what you are looking for, I will print the design you want on it!

Shirts stackedWhy I am I leaving such a great show? Two main reasons:  1.  The rya rug-making supplies business requires more of my time, and nearly all of my studio space, and 2.  The shirt brand that you have come to know and love (Comfort Colors) has not been readily available since late last summer.  It was very challenging for me to meet all my fall and winter orders.  But I’m not sad about moving on…the rya world is on the move and I still have a book to complete…can’t forget that.

 

When the dust settles after the show, I’ll regroup and will probably maintain one basket for every size.

I’ll make them available to the public during the Carroll County Artists Studio Tour, Dec. 3-4 at Byrdcall Studio.

shirts in rackFor those of you who do not live within driving distance of Westminster, Maryland you can easily buy the shirts you want (while they last) at my Byrdcall Etsy shop… very easy to do.  In fact if you go to etsy now, you can see the actual shirts that I will have at Art in the Park.  (Don’t tell anyone but you could have first dibs today!)

I will be very sorry not to be part of this super show in 2017, but it has been the most wonderful annual art show for keeping me in touch with my extended community.  You have made me feel valued for the creative work I do, and you honor me by wearing my shirts. Fear not, I’ll keep you posted on where this all goes as it happens.

Love ya, Melinda

Become Part of My Rya Book–Strike a Pose!

Denise with Lloyd (1)

Denise from Washington state by way of France.

Thank you once again for your patience in awaiting the completion of my book.  Now I have something fun to offer you.  I don’t know about you, but I enjoy people-watching wherever I go.  It is fun to watch people go about their lives whether they are creating art, walking through an airport, or standing proudly with a rya rug they have created.

Theresa from Pittsburgh by way of Zambia

Theresa from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania by way of Zambia

As they say, inquiring minds want to know.

Over the years, many of you have sent me photos of your completed ryas.  Now I am asking you (and even those I have not met yet) to send me a picture of YOU holding your handmade rya, standing in front of it, sitting on it or laying on it, but I want to see your face!  I don’t care if it is a kit, or your own design, or made by your grandparents.  I am inviting YOU to submit a photo of yourself with your favorite rya for possible inclusion into the book in a random photo spread.

Jo Ann from Maryland

Jo Ann from Maryland

Our demographics are very diverse, our faces are beautiful and happy, and the ryas colorful and creative.  Wouldn’t that be a page-spread you would enjoy seeing in the book?  And all the more fun if you are among the many faces of rya in this unique book?

OK, even if you have sent me photos in months or years past, please resend or take another shot or two.  My book producer will use the photos that have high enough resolution to be clear, and fit well into the double-page spread.  They can be square or rectangular.

Melinda with "Purple Loosestrife" from Maryland

Melinda from Maryland with “Purple Loosestrife”

We will probably reduce them to 2″ x 2″ or 2″ x 4″, but send fairly large clear digital images. We will probably caption with your first name and the state, province, or country you are from.  If you tell us a tad more, we might be able to add a note about if it is your 1st or 10th rya.   We will need to have a Release Form signed which we ask you to send along with the photo (which basically says you give your permission for us to use your photo for this book and book-related press.)

Click on the link below for the Release Form. It is a PDF.  You can print, sign, and scan to send back, or sign and take a digital photo to send with your picture, or snail mail if that is easier.  Click here for form:  Release Form for Rya Book Inclusion

Sarah's first rya of her own design under her husbands feet in Kentucky

Sarah’s first rya of her own design under her husband’s feet in Kentucky

You get the idea.  I don’t care when you did it, I don’t care where you got the supplies.  I am looking for clear pictures that show your happy face with your rya (you don’t have to show the whole rya if it is big.  Just sit on it, or lay on it and have a photographer friend shoot you with your face in clear view.  For best light, shoot outside on a cloudy day so the shadows are soft, but many of these indoor shots are fine!

Erma from Pennsylvania.

Erma from Pennsylvania.

Send a couple of photos and we can choose the best for the book. If you are thinking, “Oh, she probably doesn’t want my little rya,” Yes, I do!  Big, small, simple, complicated, almost done, or done years ago…  If in doubt, just send the photo and release form.  If we can use it, we will.   Please don’t make me beg!  Feel free to ask questions.

Please have your photos and release form to us by May 15, 2016.  Thank you!!

judy nelson-moore with rya

Judy from New Mexico with her first rya rug.

David from Cincinnati with his most recent of dozens of ryas

David from Ohio with his most recent of dozens of ryas

For the Cause … Mark Your Calendars!

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As much it seems like my life is all-rya-all-the-time, I take a divergence in activity on occasion.  Recently I joined a group of really nice women who pool energy to work towards worthy causes such as fighting cancer through Relay for Life and this year, working towards ending Alzheimer’s Disease. As the newest member of the “Boozum Buddies,” I, too, am assisting with fund-raising by offering things that I do, (or used to do that I am looking for an excuse to “do again.”)  You’ll understand in a minute. Hint:

Bouquet of glass flowers

A set of flower wine glasses I painted many years ago.

As part of our fund-raising goals towards this year’s “End Alzheimer’s Disease” efforts, the Boozum Buddies are collaborating with Oscar’s AleHouse in Eldersburg, Maryland on Tuesday, May, 17 from 11 AM – 11 PM.  Oscar’s will donate 10% of ALL PROCEEDS of the day to the cause.  In addition they have offered their lobby for us to hold an awesome Silent Auction throughout the day.  The amazing auction items will make the trip worthwhile for you, but to be honest, plan on eating lunch or dinner or enjoying a beverage here while you are at it.  (Oscar’s is one of my very favorite places to go for food and bev in the area.)

glass painting at SRV

This class was held at Serpent Ridge Vineyard a few years ago.

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There is nothing like an evening learning a new skill with your favorite friends while nibbling on munchies and sipping a glass of wine.

Mermaid Wine Glass Set

This is one of my favorite wine glass sets. The customer bought these as a wedding gift for a special friend.

For this silent auction, I am offering a class I used to teach, but I have turned down many recent requests since I’ve been book writing:  A Wine Glass Painting Class in Byrdcall Studio in lovely Woodbine for you and up to 5 of your friends. I provide everything you will need. We will agree on a weekday evening or a Saturday afternoon for a three+ hour class where you and your friends will go home with two glasses YOU have painted. (Many choices of glassware available.) I will provide wine and light snacks. You can bring food contributions if you like. In the past these classes have cost $50 per person.  As a Silent Auction bidder you might get a better deal! But talk it up with your friends now to see who of your friends might want to go in on this item with you for a fun “girls night out” (or day).  The other thing that makes this a rare item indeed is the fact that I am kinda known for my glass painting ability. (Go ahead and click here to see some of my glass paintings.) I will be sharing with the class all the tricks of the trade.  Since my studio is mostly a rya rug studio now, you will not find this class offered (by me) anywhere else–maybe ever, but I won’t swear to that. 😉  Every penny of your bid goes to “End Alzheimer’s.”  So go ahead and bid.  If you can not make it to Oscar’s that day, but you have a group of fun folks who would want to join me for this class, call or email me with the highest bid you would be willing to make, and I’ll get it on the bid sheet for you.  You or one of your friends may need to check out the bidding before 11 PM in case it goes higher.  All for the cause!

What if you don’t have 5 friends in mind to line up?  I would be happy to hold 6 spots for 6 women who want to make friends that night for the commitment of $50/person.  If you commit, I’ll write $300 on the Silent Auction form and likely you will win–BUT maybe not–because if it goes higher, well somebody else wins.  Talk to me.  Send a buddy in late to bid up if needed.

Great Blue Heron modeled

Andy (back in college) modeling a Great Blue Heron shirt. I will also have these in the ladies style shirt at Oscar’s Ale House on May 17 as a gift to those making a contribution of $25 or more to help End Alzheimer’s Disease.

Another item I am offering for the Oscar’s Fund-raiser is a free silk-screened Great Blue Heron organic cotton T-shirt (designed as a 2-block linocut by me) to those who make a contribution to our cause of $25 or more. . . while they last!

See you at Oscar’s on May 17th.

Oh, did I mention that my contributions are just a few of DOZENS of fantastic items on the silent auction block?  Really, don’t miss out.DSCF0006

If you don’t live anywhere near Eldersburg, but you would like to contribute towards the Boozum Buddies fund-raising goals to help fight Alzheimer’s Disease.  Click on this link to learn more or to make a contribution.  You can contribute through me, or the Boozum Buddies, or however your would like to help out.  Click here to read more and make a contribution.

As a teaser, here are a few more items you can look for at the Silent Auction at Oscar’s Alehouse:

  • 4 ORIOLE TICKETS w/PARKING PASS
  • KAYAKING FOR 2 ON LIBERTY RESERVOIR
  • BEAUTY GIFT BASKETS & SPA CERTIFICATES
  • BASKETS OF CHEER
  • WINE GLASS PAINTING CLASS FOR 6 at BYRDCALL STUDIO
  • SHELL GAS CARDS
  • CLUB LEVEL RAVENS TICKETS
  • CORD OF FIREWOOD
  • TOOLS FROM HOME DEPOT
  • TEVIS HOME GRILLING BASKET
  • MODERN COMFORT SYSTEMS “TOTAL COMFORT” SERVICE PLAN
  • RENTAL SOLUTIONS and NATURALAWN GIFT CERTIFICATES
  • FRAMED ORIGINAL WORK OF ART
  • TUTORING ART PAINTING CLASS W/ VIVIAN DAVIS
  • ALEXANDER OVECHKIN(CAPS) CERTIFIED PHOTO W/HOCKEY STICK
  • MULCH FROM HIDEY’S
  • MUSIC LESSONS FROM OPUS COMMUNITY MUSIC SCHOOL, ELDERSBURG
  • PHOTOGRAPHY SESSION
  • 4 HR GARDEN CONSULTATION FROM MASTER GARDENER
  • CANINE CHIROPRACTOR GIFT CERTIFICATE
  • PLUMBING & WATERPROOFING CO. GIFT CERTIFICATES

AND MUCH MORE!

Thanks for reading.  Feel free to share with anyone you think would like to know about this fund-raiser.

Melinda

A Challenging Rya–and the story behind it…

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As most of you know, I’m not taking on any big design “jobs” until my rya book is completed.  But early Fall 2015, I received an email so intriguing that I had to find an excuse to tackle this challenge.  So I justified it by deciding to document this project as a lesson for the book.  Mission accomplished.  Here is a sneak preview.

paintingPolly Pook made ryas 40 years ago when she worked for a rya supply company in Illinois. The backing fabric she used was different from what I was familiar with, but she was excited to learn to knot on a backing I had from Sweden from the 70’s which was just the size she wanted.  She and her husband, Peter, live in Ontario.

Peter had painted an oil painting of a Canadian landscape. They wondered if this image could be drawn onto the backing.  I have often told people that pictorial images often do not become good rya designs, but this painting was strong enough in colors and design to hold its own as an abstract scene in rya.  So I said YES I could do it for them, if they would allow me to use it as an example in my book.  They were pleased with the idea and helped me along the way as much as they could.Acetate overlay Pook

First, they bought my yarn and backing samples on etsy so they could match yarn colors to the painting.  (Online photos often to not show the true yarn colors.)  Then Peter traced the painting on a sheet of acetate in order to make a line drawing for me to transpose onto the backing with a laundry marker. (Brilliant!)  I had never known anyone to do this before, but it is all part of simply figuring out in the most logical way how to get a job done.  I love it! They sent me digital images of the painting, the line drawing, and the line drawing with yarn color numbers written in each space–which was extremely helpful for me.Pook line drawing from iPad - cleaned up

I used the grid method to transfer the design from 8 1/2 x 11 paper to 34″ x 55″  backing.  I drew lines on the paper with a ruler and stitched the same proportional lines on the backing. Then with a laundry marker, slowly drew what was in each “square” onto the backing.  I’m not going to say that it was really easy because there actually is quite a bit of detail there, but in the end it came together very nicely. Pook line drawing with numbers 9-16-15Don’t worry–the book will have an easier example of how to draw on a backing.  All the same, isn’t it nice to know that this can be done?

working photoSince the backing being used was a traditional Swedish backing measuring 34″ wide x 55″ long, I knew that it had 85 knots across the row and 95 rows (I counted them).  85 x 95 = 8,075 knots in the whole rya.  Good to know.  I also knew that Polly wanted a pile length of about 1 1/4″ to 1 1/2″ which calculates to about 300 knots from a Rauma Norwegian skein of rya yarn (ryegarn).  So how many skeins would this rya need?  Very good: 8,075 knots divided by 300 knots per skein equals about 27 skeins required for this rya.  We round up to 30 skeins.  Helpful info, but how much of each color?  Aye, there’s the rub.

Pook painting divided into cmWas I in over my head? To figure how much of each color, I went back to a photocopy of the painting and with a ruler, drew lines dividing the painting into 1 cm x 1 cm squares.  It could have been any small size like that, but I thought 1 cm was good for counting the colors that fell within those squares.  I know this will sound like I’m from another planet, but I used math to make the calculations.  I’m going to write this more clearly in the book (I’m practicing on YOU!).

See if you can follow this–and tell me if you can (or cannot) in the comments below.  On my 8 1/2″ x 11″ photo of the painting I drew 18 vertical lines 1 cm apart.  Then drew 27 horizontal lines to the top of the picture.  I didn’t choose those numbers; that just happened to be the measurements of that picture.  Stay with me now.  So the photo now has a grid with 18 x 27 squares for a total of 486 squares. THEREFORE the yarn in 486 squares = 27 skeins, rounded up to 30 skeins for a little spare yarn for wiggle room.

So with great patience I counted how many squares of each color and estimated when a square was half one color and half another.  I had the yarn color cards to know which colors would go in which squares.  So I started counting:  Threading #1 was a dark green. There were a total of 16 squares of that color.  So how much yarn would that be? 16 divided by 486 = .033 x 30 skeins total = .98 skeins, rounded up to 1 skein.  Phew!  If anyone followed me, you are hired!!

Pook Threading cardHere is another:  The mustard color was filling 31 squares on the grid.  31/486 = 0.064. Multiple that times 30 skeins and you would need 1.9 skeins rounded up to 2 skeins. Piece of cake!  It is magic.  For you mathematicians out there, please explain this phenomenon in the comments section  My aging brain is having a hard time expressing why this works so well.

A54BD205-1B82-4D5E-B4BC-98EE675C29A6And finally for those who are very advanced out there, you are thinking, “But what if there are three shades of mustard in that last example?”  Well, you would simply divide the two skeins by three colors and realize that you would need about 3/4 skein of all three of those mustards.

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Hopefully, you are still with me.  Peter and Polly came to the DC area to spend Thanksgiving with their daughter. They all came by the studio to pick up the rya “kit” and for Polly’s lesson since this was a new kind of backing for her.  She is now working on it at home in Ontario and I hope to share a photo of the finished rya wall-hanging in an up-coming issue of the Byrdcall Blog.

Here is what her work was looking like in January!  Way to go, Polly!

 

Rug in progress 1-21-16

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And here is what it looked like on April 11, 2016.

Polly Pook in progress

 

You’re on the Map!

I’ve been spending quality time writing my rya book lately!  Yeah!  But I did an impulsive “just for fun” thing a couple of weeks ago.  I ordered a nice paper map of the United States.  My husband helped me out by cutting a cork board to fit it, and we mounted it on the wall of my office.  I love it!  Then I took all the folders from my “Rya Customers” file (Yes, real paper folders) and typed out the name and town of every person I’ve helped with rya supplies in the past year–maybe a little longer.  Then I cut the name labels into thin strips and tacked each one up on the map.  You guys are all over the place!   (Apologies to my non-USA rya friends around the world…)map of usa

Why did I do that?  Well, for fun.  Girls just gotta have fun.  But in a practical way this helps to keep me focused on who you are and where you are.  There are some very helpful benefits provided by being able to SEE where you all live in this country as a whole:

  1.  I don’t have to rely on my poor aching memory. (“What was that lady’s name from Tucson, AZ?”)
  2.  In future years (after the book is done) I may travel to teach classes in off-loom rya rug making.  It would be so helpful to be able to see at a glance how may of you living within a reasonable drive of where I might teach.  Then I can let you know, and you can let your friends know.
  3. And a third fascinating idea I’ve been playing with in my head for about a week now. A man from San Francisco left a comment on the Youtube video page asking if there were any rya groups in his area that he might get together with to get back into making ryas with company.  Hmm.

That last one really hit home with me.  I can’t travel the world now to teach, but what if little pockets of rya knotting groups started here and there across the country?  With the map, I could clearly see where you live near other rya rug makers.  You could share techniques and teach each other.  How would this work?  It is still a little sketchy in my brain right now, but when we have a greater density of rya folks in specific DSCN7158areas, I could help by sending an email to let’s say 6-8 people within an hour drive of each other.  I would say, “Hey, do any of you have a favorite free meeting place like a side room in your library, coffee shop, arts center, a church recreation room–any friendly public place where you could carry in your tote bag full of your projects.  I would also ask you if it was OK to share your email address with who ever offered to coordinate a little get together.

If you say “Yes, give them my email address!” well, the rest is up to you all to work out the best day and time.  Do you think this pl_DSC0033an has merit?  I think we need to wait a little longer for the density of rya artists to fill in on the map, but I think it could be doable within a year or two.  Imagine groups of fascinating rya artists and beginners getting together once a month (or season) to help each other out and answer the many questions swirling in your heads.)

This could become a RyaMatch.com (don’t click on that–no such thing).  Or it could be a Rya-bee.  Think of the confidence a beginner would have to be surrounded by sharing rya folks…. Please share your ideas and comments below.

Thanks, Melinda