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.
- Deanne Fitzpatrick