Saturday, September 14, 2013

A few words for my Great Grandmother, Edna Ruggles

A woman I never knew, but whose presence has always been strongly felt in my life.  Growing up, I was surrounded by her bright colorful works of crewel embroidery that adorned walls and pillows and just about everything in our house.  


She lived in the house before I ever did, and so her work that was there, never left, along with her folders and folders of drawings and patterns.  I'd like to share just a few of my favorite renderings of her animals.  Really, these are just small details in a sea of designs, but have so much character nonetheless.

the brown lamb

the tic tac toe turtle

and my favorite, the sleepy donkey

She made a living selling her work in local shops, at the Women's Industrial Union in Boston, and doing special commissions for private clients.  As a lover of animal rendering myself, I like to pull out her drawings sometimes, and see how she would choose to draw an lamb, or a bunny or a squirrel or a big giant tree of life.

Her finished work is really what is impressive, with her precise needlework and eye for color, but I am short of photos since I only possess one of her finished pillows.  I would like to share more as I collect photos from scattered relatives houses.  Until then, I have her drawings and ideas for finished pieces, which I like to imagine are still out there, hiding in corners of all the old houses of New England.

2 comments: said...

Oooooh that's an awesome thought, that your grandmother's handiwork's hiding all over the city!

The animal rendering is in your genes!

Maureen said...

I knew your grandmother did crewel work, but I had no idea it went back a generation as well. How cool is that! I have some beautiful pieces by your mother too. I totally enjoy your drawings. What a great way to keep the family talent going.