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Rug Hooking Changes People
So many times I have heard people that rug hooking changed them. As they started rug hooking they began to see the world differently, started noticing beauty around them. Hooking rugs allowed them to express themselves, to use their time wisely and creatively, and opened up a whole new community of people to them.
Rug hooking is full of possibilities. It has changed my life, and been a powerful force in changing the lives of the people I have met through it over these twenty five years. It has made me who I am. I started out as a therapist, thinking that was how I would spend my life helping people, but rug hooking found me and helped me find myself.
I have learned that craft and handmade can totally change the way you view the world and how you feel about it. I believe that I have helped as many people by teaching them how to hook rugs and embrace their own creativity as I would have as a therapist. My style of rug hooking, with its meditative qualities, and its freedom from rules adds beauty to our world and is therapeutic on its own. It is joyful, powerful and transformative. My style of rug hooking is not about being perfect, it is about creating beauty everyday.
How I Started
I grew up in Freshwater, Placentia Bay, Newfoundland, the youngest of seven children. My mother and both of my grandmothers hooked rugs as a past time, and as a chore of necessity. By the time I was born both my grandmothers had died and my mother had long since abandoned rug hooking as a chore of poverty. In Newfoundland in the late sixties, and early seventies very few people were hooking, though there was still a scattered mat hanging about peoples back doors.
For the most part it was out with the old and in with the new. I can still see a Rita Murphy, my friends mother, sitting in her back room, hooking away on her mats. Her floors were a carpet of many multicoloured hooked rugs.At the time to me it seemed an old fashioned thing. Little did I know that I would spend years doing exactly the same thing.I learned to hook rugs because I wanted rugs for an old farmhouse where I had settled. It began as a purely practical craft for me, and later turned into an art.
Though I did not know how to hook, it was something I had always been familiar with. As a teenager, I began seeing rugs for what they were. I marvelled that a woman's' hand had pulled up every loop in a rug that lay on the floor of my sisters' farmhouse.In my mid twenties, I went to an annual meeting of The Rug Hooking Guild of Nova Scotia, and Marion Kennedy taught me the basics. How to cut your wool, and how to pull up a loop, then she told me to get to it. As soon as I started hooking rugs I knew it was for me.
It was a simple technique, and I could see my progress. I finished my first little stamped pattern with in a week and so it began. For me, Marion was the right teacher. She gave me the supplies, showed me the basic stitch, and said, "Now do it, finish the rug." Her simple style of teaching made a huge difference in my learning. She did not try to direct me but let me learn as I hooked. I learned that I could tell stories, and express myself through rug hooking. This is what really got me involved with it. Each time I make a rug I create a new design. In many of my pieces I tell stories or express ideas about the world. I work full time as a rug hooking artist. Each piece I create is different from the last. I use recycled cloth, gather old wool clothing from real people in real communities. The clothes are washed, dried and torn apart. It is then hooked loop by loop on a a backing of burlap or linen.
What I Believe
I am a woman who lives on seven acres in an old farm house with wooden clapboard that is lifting in the wind. I walk a few miles each day, most days, because it clears my head, and stretches out stiff limbs that have hunched over a rug frame. I am a lot of things in no particular order, a mother, sister, wife, artist, writer, teacher, reader, thinker, talker, friend, fool, dreamer, buddy. I am good at all of these. I am also terrible at all of these because sometimes I am being one of them when really I want to be one of the others.
In my work the thing that matters most is making great rugs. I hook nearly everyday. I cannot stop myself. I like the feel of wool slipping through my fingers. I want to write more books. I want them to be both worthwhile and beautiful because writing is another thing I found that I liked to do. I dream that a small stack of books that I wrote myself will lay on my office shelf. I love land, especially fields. I find that a bunch of scrub and brush is a beautiful thing. It changes all day long with the light. I love the smell of fresh air on a person. It makes me want to hold them. I want to hang onto as simple a life as I possibly can. I do not find that easy because there are so many charms, that are like a ruby to a crow, but it is my goal to live simply, and make hooked rugs that are unmistakably art.
My studio is nestled in downtown Amherst, Nova Scotia where I display my one of a kind hooked rugs, create kits, patterns, host workshops, and sell supplies. It is a warm colourful space that I am able to create and write. I love to spend time there, touching the wool making tea and playing. It is a dream come true for me. We have welcomed visitors from all It's also a space for me to meet people from all over North America who come to visit and have some tea.
Shows and Collections
My work is in the collections of the Canadian Museum of Civilization, the Art Gallery of NS, and the Art Gallery of NL. (Read More)
At the studio we produce a calendar to raise money for community mental health. Giving back to our community is an important part of our work. We also raise funds for the local transition house through our cutter rental.
"I love your Sunday letters of reflection, wisdom, and inspiration. Your in studio workshop of 14 textures and afternoon tea was just so much fun, and I learned a lot. Lovely to connect with a group of women whom I had never met before, to travel down the path of creativity with you! I could go on and on. Not a day goes by that I don't tune in to one of your videos and get inspired and uplifted."
Deb from Nova Scotia
"Deanne and her team of good folk are in the business of helping people to create! From podcasts, workshops, supplies, an extensive and an easy to navigate website, etc. to one on one lessons on the fly in her store, my description could be endless but to put my praise in a sentence here goes. Deanne and her dedicated team can help you find a way, big or small, to live a better life by creating space to be you, no doubt about it!"
Donna from Ontario
"I have visited from Ontario twice now, and each time I have enjoyed my visit. Deanne's studio was the highlight of my trip to the Maritimes. I evenrented a cottage at Northport to be nearby. I was able to meet Deanne and the girls, and it was just like imagined... Lovely!"
Elaine from Ontario
"Not only do I learn about rug hooking from a master, but Deanne's insightfulness and kindness warm my heart. Her counselling background comes through in all of your videos. I notice it every time I watch her and know that people benefit from it. Her kind spirit, caring demeanour, thoughtful reflections, inquiring questions and philosophical comments just make life better."
Melody from Michigan
"Deanne INSPIRES me. Since I started hooking, my creative juices have been flowing, and I am now back to painting. Thank You, Thank You, THANK YOU!!! Deanne is a beautiful and talented artist, and has lead me on a path of expanded creativity. I am so grateful!"
Beth from New York
"Deanne You are a breath of fresh air when we are told to stay indoors. A ray of sunshine where there may be darkness. A cause for out loud laughter when inclined toward silence. A source of inspiration for creativity when now we have time. And a person who brings joy to the lives of so many. For all this I deeply thank you!"
Barb from Chester, Nova Scotia
"I have bought numerous hooks of various types from Deanne’s and as always the product is great. Love shopping there as well as online. Always feels like happy, helpful service."
"Not sure what you want or what is available? Call the store and speak to any one of the knowledgeable, helpful, friendly staff. Deanne's is my go-to wool store. Recently I wanted some sparkly yarn similar to what came in one of her kits and sure enough they still had some in stock. Great store, great people."
"The Harbour class is helping me to learn about myself, and is a grand reminder that we all have some creative potential. I am more inspired than ever to pursue rug hooking and incorporate it more into my life."
"No matter where you are on the creativity spectrum, Deanne offers so many tools to open your eyes, your heart, and your spirit."
Drop by and have some tea and homemade oatcakes.
Visit the studio year round at:
33 Church Street, Amherst , Nova Scotia, Canada
9am to 5pm, Mon. to Sat.
We can teach you to hook rugs in five minutes!
We are just a phone call away.
Please call us at
....where you'll find a real person ready to answer your questions from 9am to 5pm Atlantic time.