New Feature: Rya Artist Spotlight on Judy Nelson-Moore

1Judy

I generally share info about what’s happening in the studio or how I do a certain art technique, or fun art shows coming up.  This month I want to share with you someone who has amazed me beyond words. Judy Nelson-Moore, an accomplished ceramics artist from Santa Fe, had never made a rya rug in her life, but contacted me with an email that started: “After seeing your website, reading your blog and email news, buying a rya backing, and ordering rya yarn samples, I almost feel like I know you!  I hope you will not mind if I send you pictures of the entry rug I plan to make using the backing I bought from you and ask your advice about the yarn.”  Thus began the a relationship across the states, of one artist with another.  Judy shared with me her technique for graphing her design with the help of her extensive computer know-how.  2original imageGraphing with the help of a computer had been something I’d been trying to figure out for months!  She applied logic and figured it out.  She went on to say, “Unfortunately, the ease of doing the designs was almost a liability.  I have about 200 images in my “rya” folder.  It has taken me far too long to decide, but I finally have the selected design.” The design she chose was full of blended shades which could be daunting to most beginners, but I had no doubt she could do it.  3FinalDesignwGraphOverlayShe made a graph overlay and plotted out her course.  Next she had to select colors to make this design come to life. Since she had the sample color card in hand, she selected lots of colors.  I am always happy to help a designer by cutting skeins so they don’t have to buy more than they need just for small areas or highlights.  5YarnFrom MelindaByrdForFirstRYARug_1000

So once Judy gave me her yarn request, I piled it on the studio table and send her a photo to be sure the pile matched her vision of her rya.  The yarn was all Lundgren yarn (my grandparents’) and the backing from Finland if I’m not mistaken.  With the yarn in her hands, she was able to more accurately chart out her progress. 6 RyaRugYarnSwatchColorAreasShe created needle threading combinations and a color chart for herself. Everyone does this differently and it is great fun for me to see how she chose to keep her vision on track.  In essence, this is comparable to the painter’s palette where countless color combinations can be created.  (Other rya artists, how do you create your color combinations?)

At just beyond the halfway point these are some of the most subtle blendings I’ve ever seen in a rya. (And I’ve seen a lot of ryas!)  Look at the strands of yarn on the margins–her way of knowing when to change colors.   She followed the graph very closely up to this point she tells me.

7january judynelsonmoore rya - CopyI can only imagine that half way into the rug, she began to feel like the “captain of the ship” and details of the graph become less important than the feel of blending colors.

8judy nelson-moore with rya (2)A few days ago, I received another email and more photos from Judy.  It read, “Melinda, I finished the Rya Rug I had started knotting in September.  In retrospect, it doesn’t seem so very long, but it has seemed like a long time during the making!  Thank you for being there when I decided to make this rug…couldn’t have done it without you!  I really love the finished rug.  My husband thinks we should hang it on the wall instead of putting it on the floor where our three cats will probably adopt it, but I am fixated on putting it in the entry to replace my grandmother’s rug. “9Completed rya in situ

What do you think, friends?  On the floor or on the wall?

Your choice, Judy. On the wall, it will always look as beautiful as it does today. On the floor, it will still be beautiful, but will gradually show signs of living and household activities.  In this photo, the rya is a great focal point in your hallway gallery.  I think if your three cats have any say in the matter, it will stay on the floor.

 

10Diablo Inspects 1stRya

I am often asked if I find satisfaction working on the computer so much, cyber-connecting with people who I may never meet…such an impersonal way to conduct business.  NOT!  Most of my rya connections are with people who live very far from me.  But with connections like I’ve made with Judy, I can honestly say that I am more than thrilled with life as it is.  Once my how-to rya book is published, I will be able to get out more, meet people, teach classes.  I am really looking forward to that.

Would you like to learn more about Judy Nelson-Moore?  You might even see in her ceramics works designs similar the the rya design she brought forth.  Take a look at her website to see her other works.  http://judynelsonmoore.com/.  I think I would like to see her add on to her Dancing Mud Studio an area called Judy Dances With Wool!

11nextprojectIn Judy’s first email to me, she had just selected her design from many she had created.  Here is another of her designs that I really liked and hope it becomes her next reference for rya #2.

Wouldn’t you just love to see this in wool?   I have already put the bug in her ear that she may have requests for designing assistance from others. We’ll see. Go, Judy, Go!

PS  Judy recently wrote about her experience with the rya project from her perspective.  It has a lot more detail and background info.  Take a look for “the rest of the story.”  http://judynelsonmoore.com/category/other-media/

 

9 thoughts on “New Feature: Rya Artist Spotlight on Judy Nelson-Moore

  1. This rug is so beautiful and plush. What a lovely piece of art, amazing for a first attempt. I’d hate to see anyone walk on it, especially with shoes, even without. The hall seems to be a bit too much of a trafficked area, so perhaps in a place where it’s still viewable but less walked on. And, having had cats claim fiber pieces like coiled baskets and afghans for snuggling and couches for scratch-pads, I am afraid they will love this rug too much, bless their little hearts!

    • I agree Judy has created quite a work of art. At least cats are light weight and clean. A black cat on a colorful rya is a work of art in itself, isn’t it?

  2. Of course JUDY could and would produce a gorgeous rug like this on her first venture into Ryan rugs! She is an amazing ARTIST!

    • I have just discovered what you already knew. Her website shows a very diverse body of work, and now she can add rya rug-making to her repertoire!

  3. Just read this so i’m chiming in a bit late. I love the rug, the colors, the story and I would definitely would love to see the second design made into a rug as well.

  4. I truly enjoyed this article. The way she painted the full colors is more my style. I need to work from color to color, not the split color like the Monet design. I have never done a Rya, but have to study every aspect of the craft before I proceed. I’m just a researcher at heart. Question….can you use 3 or 4 ply 100% wool rug yarn?

    • Tanya, Yes, you are a researcher and that is wise. But I am pretty sure that Judy has blended her colors on the needle (3 strands/needle) and as she worked across her rows, there was lots of color combinations across each row. But that is what makes it so much fun. To keep colors more “pure” some people like to start with a project that is more geometrical as so many were in the early years of off-loom rya. Tanya, here is an idea I share with folks, Google Images or go to Pinterest and type in Rya rugs or rya rug design. The more you see, the more sense it will make. And about the 3-4 ply100% wool rug yarn, most good rya rug yarn is 2-ply and has a very long fiber length. There are a bunch of wool yarns on the craft market that are called rug yarn, and even rya rug yarn, but they are more like latchhook yarn and not very durable, but there may be some good ones out there. Finland has some beautiful 3-ply rya yarn (but even they say it is not designed to be walked on.) keep researching, friend….I still am! Melinda

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