I was formally an elementary school teacher in Quebec and Nova Scotia. I have always been interested in expressing myself in an artistic crafty way. When I was living in Amherst in the late 90’s I was introduced to Rug Hooking and I have been hooked ever since.
I have taught four classes at rug school, two Chez Francois (using recycled wool), Come Play with the Masters and Designing a Rug with your Stash in Mind. Besides RHGNS school I have taught in Moncton , Springhill, Pictou and here on PEI. I have taught at community school and the Leap Program for Seniors in PEI. I have been very involved with the RHGNS Teachers Branch as Secretary, Vice President, President, and I am now Past President. Notice I have not been treasurer.
I have taken many pictorial courses at RHGNS Rug School with Caroline Moser, Pam Bartlett and Jane Halliwell Green . In Amherst I have taken landscape courses with Deanne Fitzpatrick and Norma Silverstien . I have travelled to the States to take pictorial courses in Vermont with Molly Colegrove and Roslyn Logsdon. In most these courses I have used my own designs.
I have taken dye courses from Sarah Ladd, Gail Dufresne, and a day with Nancy Jewett.
Other teachers that I have been honoured to have are Jeanie Fields, Elizabeth Black, Gene Shepherd, Wanetta Evans, Doris Norman, Ruth Downing, Jon Ciemiewicz, Cherylyn Brubaker and Susie Stephenson. As you can see I have been very fortunate to have been influenced by the very best and talented teachers in my quest for knowledge in the art of hooking.
I would love to share all my knowledge with you. I have enough experience that I would prefer to adapt a course to your needs. I would love to give you wings to fly. Willing to travel anywhere. One final thing, since I grew up in Quebec I speak French.
Teaching has been a large aspect of every facet of my life throughout my varied employment as a nurse, a Discovery Toys consultant/manager, a daycare operator, and a volunteer with many community organizations.
Rug hooking appeals to the story teller in me and also to the slow growth of an idea that could be easily done or re- done as the story evolved on the frame. Wool can be luxuriously soft or tough and scratchy, it can be enjoyed in its organic colours or transformed into impossibly vibrant hues that seem to defy nature. In a world that seeks to become more “green”, a return to wool usage can only cheer a hooker’s heart.
Texture and colour motivate my work far more than any other element. The struggle to recreate, in fibre, the interplay between colour and texture that my mind has imagined is one that I may never fully overcome. On the other hand, would I ever want to? So long as I continue to imagine, I will live and live happily. The expression one step forward and two back has always struck me as so incomplete as to be ludicrous. My artistic process is far more likely to include lateral leaps, bounds and somersaults than just steps forwards and back. Three-dimensional time and spatial shifting might not be an exaggeration.
What starts as a vague idea may sit in a dusty back corner of my mind until, for no apparent reason, it demands attention. Out it trots, sits up and says…Hey, remember me? I want to play! So further thought, planning, evaluating, reconsidering and sketching starts. Occasionally, the sketches lead to a pattern. More often than not the sketches are shelved to await more consideration. Eventually sketching is complete and simplified to a pattern. The pattern may evolve as it’s being transposed onto the backing; sometimes the pattern evolves as it’s being hooked. Nothing is set in stone.
A knitter and seamstress from a young age, I was introduced to traditional rug hooking in the late 1980s and fell in love with the medium. Since then, I have been honing my skills in both hooking and pattern design.
I like to keep my hands busy creating and frequently have multiple projects underway at once. Hooking rugs provides me with an outlet to create beauty while furnishing comfort in my home. I strive to convey a sense of realism in my hooking designs that allows a moment in time to persist.
I discovered rug hooking in 1997 and so began my love affair with wool. I love the idea of recycling and repurposing clothing items and turning them into art. I do use some new wool but almost all of my work contains some thrift store treasures. My wool passion extends to spinning, needle felting, knitting and nuno felting, and my studio in Indian Harbour, NS provides a workspace and constant source of inspiration for me.
I received my rug hooking teacher’s certification from the RHGNS Teachers Branch in 2003 and the NS Dept of Agriculture Judges Certificate in 2004. I have taught at Guild schools in Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador, Ragg Tyme School in Niagara, ON, and Reeth Rug School in England, as well as numerous classes and workshops in the Atlantic provinces and Ontario. My work has been displayed at a number of galleries and venues throughout the Maritimes. Favourite subjects to teach are geometrics, folk art, and mixed-cut pictorials.
Debbie Lessard has been rug hooking since 2005. She especially loves to design and create her own work. Debbie has made sure she explores as many styles of rug hooking as possible so she can pass her knowledge on to her students.
Debbie is a Rug Hooking Guild of Nova Scotia Certified Teacher. Some of the courses she has taught are: Beginner, Stained Glass, Designing for Beginners, Grenfell and Finishing. Debbie gave a 5 Day Storytelling and a 5 Day Autumn Glory (all things autumn) workshop at KIRA (Kingsbrae International Residence for the Arts) in St. Andrews New Brunswick. One of Debbie’s rugs, “The Journey” is owned by Kingsbrae Garden in St.Andrews, New Brunswick. Debbie is willing to travel to teach.
I enjoy teaching beginner hookers the most. My favourite types of mats are story mats and original designs.
My Passion Mat is “The Cottage”. This is where my passion begins, a place to live in Nova Scotia while I pursue my love of mat hooking. The cottage sits on the Bay of Fundy. The mat is hooked on rug warp with wool strips in sizes three to eight and varying weights of yarn.
I am willing to travel to teach, as small groups are my favourite (small being classes of six to twelve). I will travel almost anywhere in the Maritimes.
Donna has been hooking since 1999 and has attended RHGNS school for the last 18 years as a student or teacher. She received her teacher certificate in 2011 and presently she serves as vice president for the Teachers Branch of RHGNS.
Her want to hook came naturally being influenced by her oil painting Mum, whose work was mostly bespoke and treasured all around the world in many private collections and her Grandmother who literally could do anything with her dear old hands, which included knitting, crochet, embroider, tatting sewing, braiding and hooked rugs.
Donna’s work has been featured in Celebration and The Rug Hooking Magazine in England. Her favourite classes to teach are Special Stitches, Proddy, 3-D flowers, Paisleys, Art Deco, and Art Nouveau.
You will also find her work will have different fabrics, yarns, silks, shoe laces and feature embellishments of pebbles, wood, beads, buttons. “To make the pieces more interesting”. Donna teaches mostly in Nova Scotia but is available to travel elsewhere.
Lastly students should be aware, she has been known to tell funny stories and must be prepared to have some laughs and fun.
Donna began her hooking journey in 2006. She is Rug Hooking Guild of Nova Scotia Certified Teacher and Oxford Punch Needle Certified Instructor.
Donna is a member of the Rug Hooking Guild of Nova Scotia, previously holding offices of Treasurer and Director. She is also a member of ATHA, TIGHR and OPNIG. Her adaptation of Robert Gonsalves ” Widow’s Watch II” was People’s Choice at the Lunenberg Fisheries Museum in 2017 and it also earned an Honourable Mention in the “Rug Hooking Celebration of Hand Hooked Rugs 29”. Development and translation of hidden messages and visions in hooked and punched rugs inspires her designs.
Donna looks forward to sharing her passion and developing skills in her students. She offers classes in Beginner rug hooking, Personal Plaids, Hidden message, Namely Kaleidoscope, Oxford Punch Needle Beginner and Advanced, and Punch Needle embroidery to name a few.
Doris Norman is an accredited Nova Scotia and Pearl McGown Teacher specializing in William Morris Design, Jacobean/Crewel, Monochromatic, Celtic, Stained Glass, Landscape and Realistic Shading. Her work has been featured in Created Here magazine, Canadian Living magazine, Rug Hooking magazine, Hook Me a Story by Deanne Fitzpatrick and in Story Rugs by Paulette Hackman. In addition, her hooked creations and commissioned pieces are in private collections including the Beaverbrook Art Gallery in Fredericton, New Brunswick.
A skilled artisan and instructor since 1982, Doris enjoys sharing her passion for rug hooking with others. She encourages students to relax and enjoy the process of creating an heirloom to be passed on to future generations. Doris works with students to create their own designs and to use any type of repurposed material, yarn and ribbon in their hooked creations. Commercial designs are also used by students in her classes.
Doris teaches rug hooking courses at schools and workshops across many provinces in Canada: Victoria, British Columbia; Niagara on the Lake and Cornwall, Ontario; Oxford and Halifax, Nova Scotia; Newfoundland and Labrador; and Prince Edward Island.
Doris has a passion for the history of rug hooking and the legacy of mats in New Brunswick. She is a founding member of the provincial New Brunswick Mat Registry which documents a database of hooked mats 25 years or older and the accompanying stories. Doris is a member of several rug hooking guilds in Eastern Canada.
Since childhood, I have been interested in anything fibre related and thanks to positive experiences along the way, I still like to take opportunities to develop skills in new ways. Such was the case for traditional rug hooking in 1983 when I took a weekend workshop in Calgary. I naively thought that I could repair a very worn hall runner made by my grandmother circa 1935. It was beyond repair and I discovered a passion for rug hooking which grew when we moved to New Brunswick soon after . With the support received here through attending RHGNS schools, workshops and the generosity of people I have met along the way, I am where I am today. In 1996, I joined the Teacher’s Branch and became a certified teacher soon thereafter.
While I still enjoy using fibres in many ways whether it be stitchery, spinning, felting both wet and dry etc and discovering how to combine techniques, I also like learning about unrelated ones such as traditional Maliseet basket making, and chain maille to increase my appreciation of the skills of others. Every time I come back to rug hooking and continue to explore different techniques and styles of hooking.
One of the joys of rug hooking has been using recycled wool and over-dyeing to achieve the hues and tones I want for a project. Equally enjoyable is sharing my knowledge with others, both beginners and more experienced rug hookers.
I have taught a variety of rug hooking classes around the Maritimes: beginners, geometrics, stained glass, and get a great deal of pleasure seeing others enjoy the experience. Teaching beginners is especially satisfying as they discover the joys of learning a new skill and show an appreciation for the skills and time which go into making this form of art. Teaching has also challenge me to improve my hooking by examining how and why I hook in a certain way and to see how others hook. In doing so, traveling expands the opportunities to not only share with others but to learn from them as well.
I am a passionate teacher that comes from teaching student nurses in my profession, and staff at my workplace. Then, to hone my teaching skills, I took the NSCC CCEDP (Community College Education Diploma Program) which is the Adult Education Program, learning how to teach adults. So, it is wonderful that I may share my knowledge, love and joy for rug hooking and teach this beautiful, creative art to excited students and you.
To build on my knowledge, I have been inspired by many incredibly talented hookers and have taken The Portrait course from Ruth Downing, then the Landscapes with Buildings Course, also from Ruth Downing. Then I chose to attend the Rug Hooking School by the Rug Hooking Guild of Nova Scotia at Mount Saint Vincent in Halifax, taking the Dyeing Course by Carol Harvey-Clarke, Fine Shading with Mary Grant, Teachers Training with Wanetta Evans, and Emily Carr, the Group of 7. In addition to this, I have been teaching a small group of beginner ladies for 4 years, expanding on my knowledge and teaching skills thus sharing my passion for rug hooking.
For my professional development, I enlisted with the Teachers Branch, so I may continue in this path with great enthusiasm, sharing the knowledge so others may grow in their rug hooking experience. So look out for this “Teacher”. I look forward to teaching you!
Jane began rug hooking in 2002 with a longing to bring traditional Nova Scotian arts & crafts into her home. She designed a rug and started hooking with only a few tips from Doug & Anne Rankin when she bought wool and burlap. This rug was finally finished in 2018 after retiring from Nursing in Mental Health.
I fell into the love of rug hooking through a work related visit, over eighteen years ago, with the infamous Donna Gass and the rest is history. I have attended annual Rug School classes for the last fifteen years as well as attended numerous workshops. I really enjoy the learning of new having techniques and like to impart my growing knowledge to small groups of people. I became RHGNS Teacher Certified over three years ago but I still continue to learn new things about this art form.
I am always willing to work with beginners or mentoring anyone who wants help in specific areas. ie finishing, colour planning, dyeing , etc. I would limit my travel area to Halifax/Dartmouth and would also consider FaceTime mentoring which I have been doing with a relatively new hooker — a wonderful way to share ideas. I took the teacher training program in order to prove to myself and others that we are never too old to learn. As I so often have said, “Love what you do and do what you love”.
Mary Grant began rug hooking in 2002 and became a Certified Rug Hooking Instructor in 2012..She also has a Master’s Degree in Industrial and Vocational Education focusing on teaching skills to adults (U of A – Edmonton). Rug Hooking was about the only fibre art that her grandmother and mother didn’t teach her. She got interested in taking a course, when there was no room for her to join any of the local Quilt Guilds. From then on, she was hooked. Elizabeth Bastin and Doris Norman greatly influenced Mary in her taking up rug hooking almost to the exclusion of her other fibre arts.
Mary’s passion is for fine shading and hooking with narrow cuts, although she is comfortable with shading in larger cuts as well. Her subjects tend to be fruits and flowers, although she uses the shading skills in pictorials as well. As Mary likes to oil paint, she feels that she is painting with wool when she rug hooks. She often hooks her own designs.
Mary loves to be creative in dyeing swatches, dip dyes, spots and abrashed backgrounds in order to highlight her own hooking. She dyes or overdyes both recycled and new wool flannel and yarn. She has developed formulae for dyeing swatches in yarns to match those she dyes in wool flannel. She enjoys whipping rugs to give them a precise and coordinated finish.
Mary has instructed anything from 4 to 30 hour courses in Beginning Rug Hooking, Colour Planning and Dyeing Techniques, Waldoboro Style Hooking and Sculpting, Fine Shading, and Stain Glass Techniques. In addition to classes in her own home, she has taught for the HRHG and the New Brunswick College of Craft and Design Extension Services and at the RHGNS and RHGNL Rug Schools. She is willing to travel throughout the Maritimes and other provinces. She has had articles published related to Colour Planning for the Non-Artist and Triple Edge Finishing.
Mary has been known to bend the “rules” of rug hooking and might even break a few. However, she feels that one has to know the reason for the “rule” and know how to hook in that fashion, before one can take liberties with rug hooking techniques.
Mary feels that she is always learning from her students. She is passionate about convincing students that they need to allow themselves to learn. She feels the most important tool in her teacher’s tool kit is the ability to help her students problem solve.
The need to create with any fibre close at hand has been life-long. The passion for rug hooking began in 2012 when she joined her friend at a weekly hooking group gathering one morning and came home with a hoop. Annual attendance at Rug School and multiple workshops followed as well as volunteer roles with the Kingfisher Fiber Arts group in Halifax, NS and the RHGNS. It was the perfect replacement for the skills used as a costumier in film and theater for nearly a quarter century. Upon retirement in 2017, there was now plenty of time to hook with other groups, too. Joining TIGHR provided international exposure to new techniques, inspiration for new designs.
Teaching elementary school was a short-lived career as multiple military postings kept her family on the move for over 30 years but it has had a resurgence as she has been teaching grade one students how to knit at a nearby school. She has experienced much delight in watching others’ joy when a new way to express their creativeness is learned and great satisfaction in knowing she has been part of that process and is perpetuating these beautiful, practical, age-old skill.
Ruth Downing has been hooking for twenty years and is a certified teacher with the Teachers Branch of the RHGNS since 2011. More recently, she received her Pearl McGowan accreditation in 2018 through the Southern School at Ripley, West Virginia. Currently, Ruth is working toward a Fibre Arts Certification with a Specialty in Rug Hooking with St. Lawrence College, Brockville, Ontario.
From the moment she began hooking, Ruth’s eye has been keenly drawn to the realistic, hence her passion for fine detail in portraits, fine shaded flowers and pictorials. Ruth is most at home hooking faces. She truly lives in the moment, consumed by the image before her and the emotional connection she feels for her subject. It is an intensely personal experience. As a teacher, Ruth is always inspired by the interest and enthusiasm of her students, their talent and the warm interaction that is experienced within the class. Ruth is passionate about her art and while her focus is the detail, she encourages her students to hook with a wide range of wools and textures.
Ruth has taught Portraits, Fine Shaded Flowers and Pictorials at the Nova Scotia Rug Hooking School in Truro and Halifax, the Rug School of Newfoundland and Labrador and the Ragg Tyme School of Rug Hooking at Niagara College, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario. Ruth has instructed Portraits and Pictorials at the Hooked Rug Museum of North America, Hubbards, NS and gives workshops at her home in Cow Bay, NS and in other communities.
Ruth was honoured and thrilled to be awarded ‘Artist of the Year’ for 2019 by the Hooked Rug Museum of North America. Fifteen rugs representing her twenty years of work are on exhibit at the Museum from May to October, 2019.
Shirley Ann Joyce
Born and raised in Pictou Count Nova Scotia, I can proudly say that I have lived or been in all Provinces and Territories in Canada and met so many different people. One thing I found in common is crafts, from sewing, knitting to improving your home.
After an accident in 2011, I needed to find a different creative outlet and found Linda MacDonald in Pictou in the Fall of 2013 and became hooked. Most of what I have learned came from her until I attended Rug School in Halifax N.S. where I took a class from Donna Gass and enjoyed learning different techniques. That was the start of expanding my education in Rug Hooking including my cuts. My early work has been in a #6 cut but have been expanding to smaller cuts and even bought a #3 blade.
At the moment I enjoy teaching beginner classes, creative stitches, and sharing my love of Rug Hooking. My second love is Waldoboro. When designing a pattern, I am always trying to find a way for Waldoboro to fit in, sometimes it does and sometimes it doesn’t.
I am lucky enough to belong to a fabulous group and enjoy meeting so many Rug Hookers from all over.
Hello, my name is Susan Doyle. I have been rug hooking since 2014. Originally I was a knitter at heart but I was looking for something new to learn. Years ago after visiting a museum with the Cheticamp Rug Hooking group, I knew this was my kind of art. I decided to take some lessons and now hook with only yarn wool.
My hope for the future is to teach the history, art & style of this kind of hooking. I look forward to passing on this type of Rug Hooking.
I’m not quite sure when my interest to art started. My early memories are of paint by numbers and latch hooking as a child.
In 2001 I was introduced to traditional Rug Hooking and very quickly developed a love for the art, from designing patterns, dyeing the wool, to hooking and finishing the rugs.
I have taught beginners, seniors, the leap program, and geometrics at the RHGNS rug school. I have had rugs in The Celebration of Hooked Rugs editions XVI, XVII, XVIII, XIX, XX.
Along with rug hooking I enjoy painting in acrylics.