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All good things end

Last day of the 8th Triennial.  Excellent coordination by board, wonderful friendships formed by 182 members, more workshops, lecture about Emily Carr the rughooker/treasured artist, fibre demonstrations.

The Gala Dinner with featured speaker Robert Bateman whose message was “be authentic to yourself.. break the stereotype” and the Founder’s Cup was awarded to Susan Feller.

TIGHR Founders Cup
TIGHR Founders Cup
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Portraits gather in Gallery

"Portrait", Val Flannigan, British Columbia, Canada; wool fabric, photo of self
“Portrait”, Val Flannigan, British Columbia, Canada; wool fabric, photo of self

TIGHR members’ work were reviewed to create the new gallery theme PORTRAITS at   Countries represented include Australia, Canada, Spain, the United Kingdom and United States. Juror Lori LaBerge describes the process in her statement:

“The jurying process can be an intimidating one. The reason I enjoyed jurying the TIGHR Gallery page is that it was a different procedure than usual. Whereas artists usually apply to have their work juried and shown, this procedure was based on my looking at all art photos on the TIGHR site. The process did away with artists having to worry about entry procedures, professional photo costs, jurying fees, and possible letters of refusal, yet allows their work to be part of the jurying process.

In choosing work for “The Portrait” I looked at skill, composition, creativity and how the artist communicated a sense of emotion for the viewer to experience. A further goal was to include a variety of work. I wanted to include artists who portrayed the portrait both traditionally and in a non-traditional fashion. The reason for this was to show the public the various ways the portrait can be presented as well as inspire artists to think differently about how they could portray the portrait in their own work.

I looked at whether a piece drew my eye to it or not. A clear intention for the creation of the work was taken into consideration. Did the work lead me to think about what the artist was trying to say? In creating a portrait, the eyes are everything. Are they expressing or hiding emotion? Could an abstract piece still convey expression? Could I look into the eyes and feel something?

Thank you to all of the artists who display their work on the TIGHR members site. There is a vast amount of talent within the group. We all learn from each other. TIGHR is a great venue to allow rug hooking artists to interact with and learn from others while introducing rug hooking as art to the public. “

Thank you,
Lori LaBerge

Lori has juried work for entry to gallery sales and shows. She has had her own work juried and chosen by university professors and curators of The Textile Museum, The Racine Art Museum, The American Folk Art Museum, The Turchin Center and the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art. Her work and process can be viewed at

Exhibitors (names highlighted, link to websites) Anne Boissinot, Canada; Diane Louise Cox, UK;  Susan L. Feller, USA; Val Flannigan, Canada;  Peg Irish, USA; Diane Learmonth, USA;  Rachelle LeBlanc, Canada; Laura Pierce, USA; Heather Ritchie, UK; Amanda Rosser, Spain; Sunny Runnels, Canada;   Judi Tompkins, Australia; Dianne Warren, Canada; Molly White, Canada;

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New Gallery Works

By searching through our members’ work on the private site we curated a new selection featuring original pieces from around the world.  Visit GALLERY and enjoy the variety.

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What’s in a Name? a lifestyle? hobby? traditions? Contemporary?

Words influence the attitude one assumes when discussing their craft. Is it a profession, hobby, social/psychological/creative outlet? We are educating in casual conversation even with an initial title……. rugger, fiber artist, rug hooker, matter, hooker, textile artist, traditional rug hooker. Recently our international membership responded, many describing their mindset for the terminology:

Susan Sutherland, Ontario, Canada
“If someone asks me what I do, I generally say I’m a fibre artist and I use traditional rug hooking as my preferred method of creating my art. If I want to have someone ‘stop in their tracks’ I tell them first I’m a “hooker”, and then I qualify it and say I’m a fibre artist and I use traditional rug hooking methods that our pioneer mothers did.

There is so much misconception about rug hooking with strips of fabric that I find I’m always clarifying what I do. I sometimes say ‘I don’t knot nor do I use short pieces of wool yarn’, especially if someone says ‘Oh yes, I did that when I was a child or in school’. Most of those who say this in Canada are remembering latch hooking.”
Fritz Mitnick, Pennsylvania, USA
“I imagine most Americans say “I am a rug hooker“. I do proddy also. I also thought about our guild name. I never say the full name. I say the international guild or the international guild of rug hookers. Maybe I should start doing it right!
Of course my husband always introduces me saying, “This is Fritz. She is a hooker.”

Judi Tompkins, Australia
“Obviously I’m a “hooker”….and I usually explain that to be a great hooker means that I am a good stripper…..ah how I luv the ashen looked faces I see!  Clearly I am the crazed, white-haired ol’ lady…. Sometimes – when I’m trying to be “nice” or “professional” I’ll ID myself as a “traditional fibre artist”….which means I don’t fall into an immediate category of “hooker” (many think of latch hooking) and opens the dialog about the spectrum of how these 3 words might be defined/applied.”

Heide Brown, British Columbia, Canada
“I say “I’m a Hooker.” Which always gets giggles or weird looks till someone, me if I’m alone, qualifies the term to — “Rug-hooker.”
I like “Rugger”  — my friend here calls herself a “Matter” and our weekly hook group “Monday Matters”. (NOTE: TIGHR’s newsletter is called “Hooking Matters”)

Jenni Stuart-Anderson, Herefordshire, UK
“I call myself a rag rug maker or designer/maker depending on where it is.
I have not heard the term “rugger” here in UK, maybe rug maker but that could be a weaver. Of course everyone sniggers when I say hooker, even if the term is American.”

Lynne Hunt, British Columbia, Canada
“I think we all struggle with the term hooker. I find here on the Coast most folks think of latch hooking and the shag rugs of the seventies. I tell people I am a fibre artist (gulp). It is a fine art practised at many levels. Whether you design your own work or work with the designs of others, there is so much more in what we do. I tell people I make mats, for the wall, the floor, chairs, tables- only limited by your imagination. I explain that I use a backing of burlap or linen, strips of fibre, mostly wool, new and recycled and a hook similar to one used centuries ago. I explain that the process involves colour planning, maybe some dyeing and choosing textures and materials for your work.
So I am a mat maker in the tradition of our pioneer sisters, creating something functional and beautiful.”

Elizabeth Soderholm, Virginia, USA
“My husband loves that I call myself a hooker and it always grabs folks’ attention.  Gives me a chance to talk about this wonderful fibre/fiber art.  My boss (who is from Mississippi) will ask me on a Friday, in his lovely Southern drawl, “You goin’ hookin’ this weekend?”  It’s probably the best way to bring attention to our craft outside of schlepping our rugs and other projects around with us.”

Liz Alpert Fay, Connecticut, USA
“I call myself : a textile artist or sometimes just an artist.
I make: hand hooked rugs and mixed media sculpture.”

Sarah Province, Maryland, USA
“I call myself a “fiber artist” and our medium “hooked fiber art”.

Jane LeBaron, British Columbia, Canada
“I variously call myself a hooker and braider, a quilter and bookbinder and general fibre freak. I am fully confident that upon one brief look at me people understand my intended context in use of the term “hooker”…

Rachelle Leblanc, Alberta, Canada
“I tell them that I am a fiber artist and I make fiber hookings.”

Mary Watson, Washington,USA
“I say, “I’m a fibre artist and paint with wool”.

Dianne Tobias, California, USA
“Since I came to hooking through braiding I introduce myself as a fiber artist then say I am a braider and a rug hooker. That seems to somewhat limit the usual jokes!”

Sheila Stewart, British Columbia, Canada
“I use the term fibre artist and then say I am a rug hooker.”

Linda Rae Coughlin, New Jersey, USA
“I tend to work with this statement, the response changes depending on who I am speaking with, i.e. fellow artist vs. a layperson.
I am an artist whose medium is textile. I create with the technique of rug hooking/stitching using recycled clothing and materials.”

During the 2009 Tri-Ennial held in Louisville, Kentucky, USA we asked attendees the terminology they used to describe favorite fiber techniques. Miriam Miller, an Australian is a rugger and spinner; Susan Feller West Virginia, USA a fiber artist specializing in rugmaking techniques; Kim Dubay, Maine USA fiber artist; Jacqui Thomson, Australia a rugger and spinner; Iris Simpson, Ontario Canada a Hooker; Yvonne Muntwyler, Ontario Canada a Fiber Artist in rughooking medium.

Members in News Rug Hooking Styles

Rug Hooking Reimagined

The Spring 2014 issue of Fiber Art Now features “rug hooking artists who are making strides on the trek toward gaining respect” in the world of contemporary art, according to author Trudi Van Dyke. Editor, Marcia Young has provided the full article for this post. Click Fiber Art Now p40-45- rug hooking spring ’14

Congratulations to TIGHR members, Liz Alpert Fay and Michelle Sirois-Silver who are represented in the interviews with examples of their diverse work.

Lost Soul, by Liz Alpert Fay, CT USA
Lost Soul, by Liz Alpert Fay, CT USA

Liz creates spontaneous original works with such unusual things as shoelaces hooked onto a wire frame.  Her technique is what carries on the rug hooking tradition.

Decay, Michelle Sirois-Silver, BC Canada
Decay, Michelle Sirois-Silver, BC Canada

Michelle’s work has been impacted by her awareness of reclaiming and repurposing, using, in the Recovery Method series, hosiery seconds from Katherine Soucie’s clothing line.

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Traditional Style enjoyed in Norway

Berith Myrvold, Norway with pet bird and rughooking
Berith Myrvold, Norway with pet bird and rughooking

  The beauty of finecut rughooking is most evident in Oriental, Persian, and floral designs. Long time member Berith Myrvold, formerly of Toronto, Canada passed away on December 8, 2013 in her home country of Norway.  Her passion lives on in the detailed rugs she created and distributed lovingly to her family. 

Berith attended the Toronto Tri-Ennial in 2003 and was represented on Collector’s Card #5 with a quote many of her fellow rughookers can identify with:

” Hooking is nice and well in Norway.  I feel that when you have first gotten into this beautiful hobby, you can never put it away.  There is one thing to complain about – there are not enough hours in the day.”

Enjoy the collection of rug patterns and hours of pleasure below.  Note copyrights on images owned by Mrs. Myrvold’s estate.

Rug Hooking Styles

Plein Air Rug Hooking!

We all know the time involved in pulling loops, using different colors and creating hooked artwork.  Imagine working outside capturing changing light effects as artists in other media can more quickly and you have experienced being a PLEIN AIR HOOKING ARTIST.

Lori LaBerge reported in Hooking Matters Vol 20 Issue 3 :

“Sitting on the deck hooking one day, I grabbed my frame and wool and walked out into the local field.  If painters can work plein air (in the open air), why couldn’t rug hookers hook on location.  This entails no use of photographs for reference.  One hooks what one is viewing. 

'Along the Path', Lori LaBerge 2013
‘Along the Path’, Lori LaBerge 2013

  I had such a wonderful time, I decided to create a website, Plein Air Hooking Artists, that will display the work of rug hookers working en plein air and promote rug hooking as art.  Members work on their own and send photos of their work for me to place on the site. Please join us by contacting me through the site under Join Us.  Membership will be ongoing for those serious about their work and who will regularly contribute to the visual experience.”