I started hooking rugs at the age of 10. My maternal grandmother taught me how to turn old clothing into useful mats. She was a true use it up, recycle, up-cycle kind of gal. Her rugs were made mostly of hand-cut, felted sweaters. Making up designs as she went along. My great-great paternal grandmother moved to British Columbia from Cape Breton in the late 1890’s. She brought her rug hooking craft with her.
In the 1970’s I visited Cape Breton and was thrilled to see that artists were continuing in the art of rug making. On my return to the West coast, I put hook to burlap and started my hooking adventures. With my grandmother’s hook and only vague memories of what she had taught me 20 years before, I started cutting up old sweaters and happily hooked away. One day a Studio for Quilts and Rugs opened up in town. I was astounded to learn that people used wool fabric, dyed wool, and that there were cutters and EVERYTHING ! Talk about living in my own little world.
To date I have hooked well over 300 rugs that range in design from florals to country scenes, to ocean creatures, to geometrics. I have experimented with hand-cut, fine cut, yarn, proddy, embellishing, over-dyed, dyed, as is ! I now try to stick with wool or wool blends, but am never afraid to throw in a random fabric if it happens to be an interesting colour or texture. I always design my own rugs and colour plan them.
I’ve taught beginner classes to young children and adult classes for Recreational programs or Elder College. I do custom and commission rugs or just hook a piece for the fun of hooking and put it up for sale or gift it. Many of the my rugs have been have donated to such organizations as the local Hospital Board, Thrift Shop, Community School, Rotary International. Some of my rugs have toured Canada as part of the ” Memories of My Mother”, “ The Elevator Project” , as well as the ‘BARN Project”.
My regular daytime job finds me caring for children , in my Licenced Family Childcare which I run out of our home. Having spent over 25 years working with children under 5, I have always been fascinated with their art, as well as how hard they concentrate when trying to print their names for the first few times. Over the years, one of my favourite things to do , is to hand a permanent marker to a child and let them draw a picture and print their name on burlap. We talk about what colors go where and then I hook the small rug for them. It’s a special window in time that is then commemorated forever.
On the first Sunday of the month I hold STUDIO DAYS in my home. The house is filled with creative women, sharing their love of rug hooking. In the last 5 years I have taken to BRAIDING. It first appealed to me to use the braid to frame my hooked pieces. I now enjoy making hooked, braided combos, as well as just braided rugs.
May you all free yourselves through your expressions of pulled loops.
One reply on “Val Galvin Profile”
Val – yes, I’m sorry too that we didn’t have a chance to connect a little bit more at the conference. If you are in Vancouver please call me and come by the studio for a visit. In the meantime I will try to arrange an island visit during one of your studio days – I’m thinking sometime in the new year… Busy as always…I’m getting geared up for the Maiwa workshops and the Eastside Culture Crawl. Best, Michelle