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Making a living from doing what you love

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Making a living from doing what you love

A long time ago I learned that I can only be myself. I think I really found this out when I started hooking rugs. I hooked the way I hooked. It was a bit lumpy and soft but it was my own stitch.

At the time there was great pressure in rug hooking guilds to hook neatly and orderly. I just could not. I hooked like it was my handwriting. I hooked the way I hooked. 

When I did orderly stitches in six shades of fine cut of cloth it did not resonate with me. But when I hooked like I wanted to hook it just flowed out of me.

Once I asked a Doreen Wright who was on the executive of the Rug Hooking Guild of Nova Scotia if she would critique my work. She looked at me solemnly and said, "I could but what would be the point? You like the way you hook."

I took that in. She was right. I knew all the rules but still I hooked the way I hooked.

I also knew that she did not like the way I hooked. It was not her style. And I understood that. I was never upset by that. I just leaned over my own frame and hooked my style. I made rugs that reflected my life and my story.

If I had worried about everyone liking the way I hooked, I could not have hooked like myself. I would have been lost.

This has occurred time and time again as my art and my business have evolved. I remember moving from my home studio into town and for years people said how they missed my old studio. As I began carrying more yarn, there was pressure to just stay in my own lane and stick to cloth.

Over the years as I tried different subjects like hooking people or abstracts and moved away from my earlier work, some people did not like the new work. This happens. As a rug hooker and an artist, it is my job to find my own self and express it in my work. I need to follow different paths and winding roads to keep making. It is the breath of inspiration that I need in my life.

There is always a story outside of your story. And that story is someone else's. I have learned to accept that.  

My job here in this life is to share my hooked rugs and my love of rug hooking the way I see it. I want to share the joy of it, not because I believe it is a panacea, but because I believe it spreads community and joy, and that that is a good thing.

Every time I see someone else starting, I see potential and seeing potential in others is inspiring. 

So this is my story. It is the only one I have. I hook the way I hook because it feels right to me. I believe that the idea of creating beauty everyday is a kind of sustenance. I make and I teach because it is important and I have had the good grace of making a living from doing what I love.

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  • Deanne Fitzpatrick
Comments 6
  • Georgina
    Georgina

    When I first learned to rug hook it was mostly in straight horizontal lines. It drove me nuts if the wool was cut a different width as the row did not flow smoothly. I found your website and it made a difference. I redid part of the earlier rugs and was very heppy with the results.

  • Judi Rempel
    Judi Rempel

    Deanne, you are brave. It take alot of bravery to be yourself. It seems like something that should be so simple. After all, who else can we really be? I work in a job that I mostly enjoy, I am a maker of chocolate items In a shop in Courtenay, BC on Vancouver Island. It is a job that has become increasingly hard on my body, exhausting me to the point that after my work day I have very little energy. I would love to be able to take walks after or before work and take in the beauty all around me on a regular basis, so here is my idea. I want to make some money hooking! I have recently gotten back into this wonderful and rewarding artform and have sold a few of my rugs for very little money, really. I know they were worth far more. I am mostly self-taught. My sister-in-law way back showed me late one night for about 10 min how to hook, and I knew right aways I wanted to do more. You inspire me to be brave. II love your openness and find it very refreshing! My dream in the hopefully not too distant future is to work less and hook more, Judi

  • Deanne Fitzpatrick
    Deanne Fitzpatrick

    Thank you Sherrie. I appreciate your note very much.

  • Sherrie Petersen
    Sherrie Petersen

    Sorry to post three times. Our internet is so undependable here. It doesn’t show up so I thought it hadn’t posted.

  • Sherrie Petersen
    Sherrie Petersen

    Your letter really speaks to me. I have only been taking your classes for about the last year but hearing you talk reminds me of where I grew up in Wisconsin. You have become like a comforting friend.
    When I graduated from high school, I started out by majoring in music therapy. Within in a year though, I knew that it wasn’t the right fit for me. I switched over to art, particularly fiber arts. I had to listen to how I should change majors, how my work didn’t measure up. It was devastating but I had to keep going.
    Over time, I have gotten better, skill wise. Hearing how you say you thought your work was like an 8 one day was so comforting . It was ok for it to be an 8 and to move on. My previous experiences often drives me to overdo my work and not enjoy the process as I might have.
    Anyway, keep being who you are. Let those who want to use primitive colors and styles do that. Let those who want to mix media do that. You be you and we will continue to marvel at your growth, your inspiration, and your ability to teach.
    Stay well.

  • Sherrie Petersen
    Sherrie Petersen

    Your letter really speaks to me. I have only been taking your classes for about the last year but hearing you talk reminds me of where I grew up in Wisconsin. You have become like a comforting friend.
    When I graduated from high school, I started out by majoring in music therapy. Within in a year though, I knew that it wasn’t the right fit for me. I switched over to art, particularly fiber arts. I had to listen to how I should change majors, how my work didn’t measure up. It was devastating but I had to keep going.
    Over time, I have gotten better, skill wise. Hearing how you say you thought your work was like an 8 one day was so comforting . It was ok for it to be an 8 and to move on. My previous experiences often drives me to overdo my work and not enjoy the process as I might have.
    Anyway, keep being who you are. Let those who want to use primitive colors and styles do that. Let those who want to mix media do that. You be you and we will continue to marvel at your growth, your inspiration, and your ability to teach.
    Stay well.

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