Hooking rugs can be the ultimate in creative expression. It is relatively simple to learn, and consists of one stitch - using a hook to pull a loop of yarn or fabric strip through a hole in a backing.
From this basic platform, you can expand to design your own patterns, dye your colours and hooking the cloth strips into the backing. There are many levels of rug hooking and the combinations of colour, texture and design are endless. The craft is appealing because it makes the beginner look good, yet challenges the expert.
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ABOUT COLLEEN WIKE
Sage House , where I live on Vancouver Island, is a rug hooking studio located in a little seaside cottage surrounded by fragrant flowers and herbs.As I hook, I am immersed
in the atmosphere of my environment. The world around me adds a distinct cachet to my work. My pieces are infused with silence; the call of raucous seabirds; chattering
children in the playground and the joyful barking of unleashed dogs. Evocative colours, transported through soft breezes; gusty wet winds; sun-washed skies, fresh, briny
sea scents and gardens inspire my work.
My passion to hook germinated at age 4 when I “helped” my grandmother hook at a huge frame resting against her kitchen table. The dark print of her traditional Mennonite dress contrasted wonderfully with the brilliant primitive purple and yellow pansies that she was creating.
This is a rug I hooked after tracing one of her own rugs.
She died at age 59 and I subsequently learned the finer points of rug hooking from my maternal grandma (below) about 30 years later. She lived to be 103. Her large primitive rug hook is one of my dearest possessions and I use it often when I want to feel her near me.
This wise advice is adapted from an old book circa 1947, that I found in a Salt Spring Island used bookstore. It has a "common sense" approach to rug hooking that appeals to my Old Order Mennonite roots:
Four steps to Freedom From Fear & Frustration
[in designing your rug]
1. Don’t fuss over your designs.
You may have an idea come to you and you can’t wait to get it drawn. Do it while you are in the mood but know enough to stop at the right time! You’ll draw something and instead of stopping when the creative mood is over, you’ll go just a little bit farther and often spoil what you have done. It isn’t the time that you spend on a design, it’s what you do in that time that counts.
2. Keep your designs simple. Do not try to cram too much into one design. You have to allow space to show off your design. See your rug as a whole design, not as separate flowers or units.
3. Be original. Make your own or adapt from others and go with what resonates with YOU regardless of what others say. Have your own style. You may not be a famous artist but your work can be unique.
4. Do not aim for perfection in your designs. It’s handiwork that you are doing, so make it look that way.
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