2020 Rug School Courses

1 – 2 Day Workshops

Saturday, May 2 – Sunday, May 3

Advanced Beginners with Wanetta Evans 


This 2-day workshop is designed for those rug hookers who can hook and wish to progress along the journey of learning more about the art of Rug Hooking. Now that you are able to pull loops, this is the next step in progressing and learning more knowledge on how to prepare and finish your project. This class can also be a refresher class for someone who has been hooking for a period of time, yet feels they need a refresher class. Also, you may have been away from Rug Hooking for some time and want to get started again. This will be a good workshop for you.  We would love to have all types of Rug Hookers in this class.

Here are a few topics we will cover in this class.

1.How to prepare your backing for hooking.  2. How to put the pattern on the backing.  3. How to estimate how much material you will require for the project.  4.Learn about hooking with a swatch as well as Dip Dyed material.  5.Learn how to shade a basic design.  6.Borders/ no borders.  7. Finishing

Wanetta Evans

Wanetta started Rug Hooking in 1993 after retiring from a long career in Banking and became a certified teacher with the Teachers Branch of the Rug Hooking Guild of Nova Scotia in 2002.  She has taught at Rug School several times as well as the Teachers Training course in 2016 and 2019.  Wanetta has taught workshops in many locations in the Maritime Provinces.  She is well known for her Large Flowers using Dip Dyed material as well as 3D Geometric classes.  Wanetta enjoys sharing her passion for Rug Hooking with her students.

Saturday, May 2 – Sunday, May 3

Framing Techniques with Gail Lambert  

To frame or not to frame…that is the question

Ever wonder why framers charge so much?  What is the mystery behind the paper backing?  Discover these secrets with this two-day workshop that will provide an overview of framing do’s and don’ts for a finished hooked pattern.  We will discuss the advantages or disadvantages of gluing, stapling, whipping and lacing.  Each student will learn how to correctly position, estimate materials needed, and frame their own work.
You must have a finished hooked design, either an 8×10 or 10×14 hooked piece, no whipped edges.
Minimal cost for materials extra.

Gail Lambert

After retiring from nearly 10 years of framing Gail Lambert focuses her time hooking and teaching Celtic designs.  Author of ‘Hooked on Celtic’ she spends her time delving into the Celtic world and hooking these wonderful designs.  Gail’s framing skills and techniques will be shared in this long-awaited workshop. 

Monday,  May 4

Nuno Felt with Embellishments 

Come play with some hand dyed fine silk, oh-so-soft merino, shiny metallic threads, glass beads and cheesecloth along with soap and water.  A great recipe for a fun 1-day workshop while creating texture and adding embellishment to your one of a kind nuno felt creation. Nuno felt is the fusion of fibre and fabric to create a wonderful new textured material.  We will be using merino wool roving and fine habotai silk. In addition to learning the nuno felt technique to provide a lovely textured surface, we will learn a shibori technique and a technique for embedding other fabrics; both will add extra dimension to the project. Add in some beading and embroidery and it will be set to frame or use as you wish. This workshop is suitable for anyone who likes to be creative, learn new techniques and just have some fun! No previous felting experience is necessary.

Oceans Depths – Leslie McFarlane

Kit fee: $15 includes all supplies (frame is not included) The frame used was purchased at Michaels. It measures 13” X 16” with the inside mat opening measuring 7.5” x  9.5”

Note:  The colourway will be similar to the photo, however since the silk and merino are hand dyed, there will be variations!!!

Leslie McFarlane

Exploring the creative process has led me down many paths. This journey has provided me with numerous skills that I am able to carry through from one form of creativity to another. It seems, however, that I am continually drawn back to the passion I have for fibre and fabric. I love to design, create and tutor a number of fibre arts. The opportunity to take raw materials, play for a while and then create unique, one of a kind items is so rewarding. Currently, I am exploring various aspects of felting and the incorporation of embellishing techniques to enhance my work. The possibilities are endless and the more I explore, the greater the desire to design and create new pieces becomes.  I truly love to share by teaching others the skills that will allow them to find their own creativity. 

Tuesday, May 5 – Wednesday, May 6

“Creative Stitches” and “Textured Trees” with Donna Gass

 Most recently when you view the rug hooking magazines and visit the exhibitions of rugs, you are seeing more and more inventiveness.  This workshop will teach you how to create these new exciting designs and how to install texture to your hooked pieces.  Its all about texture and all about creative stitches.  Join me for an adventure of creativeness and see your future rugs come alive with pizzazz!

Donna Gass

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, shoelaces 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.

5-Day Classes

“MEET ELAINE” with Linda Marchbank

With great pleasure and enthusiasm this course will introduce you to the legacy and life of the late Elaine Harrison, an important and beloved PEI artist, poet, teacher and activist.
From her harbour and coastal scenes, still life images, florals, buildings, streetscapes, abstracts, people  and cats, Elaine’s vast body of images is playful, colourful, energetic, iconic and speaks to the soul of maritime lifestyles – a rug hookers dream!
The class will focus on interpretation of Elaine’s style through rug hooking and is best suited to students with at least an intermediate mastery of skills.
To meet copyright requirements, a Certificate of Authorized Use will be issued with each pattern so that finished pieces may be exhibited and publicly displayed.
Students registering for this class will have 14 images to chose from.

Linda Marchbank

Linda is a professional teacher, home economist and former school administrator with extensive experience in adult education. She has taught rug hooking for 15 years through classes, workshops, rug schools and university seniors’ college and programs. Encouragement of creativity, excellence and love for rug hooking in all its aspects is a focus of every class, as well as, innovation and building on student knowledge. A McGown certified teacher her work has been recognized through peoples’ choice selection, at McGown workshops, shows and exhibitions.

“A Story to Tell” with Debbie Lessard

Some of us tell our stories by journaling and we rug hookers bring our stories to life through our rugs.  Stories are also influenced by major events in our lives.

In this class we will explore different techniques in creating a storytelling rug.  We will discuss how to adapt photos as inspiration to create our stories.  Bring photos and your ideas with you.  My goal as a teacher is to help and assist my students to use their creativity to tell their stories.  Bring wool from your stash or whatever you wish to hook with.  The door is wide open.  It will be a class of learning and exploring the possibilities to tell our stories through rug hooking.

Debbie Lessard

Debbie Lessard has been rug hooking since 2005. She especially loves to design and create her own pieces. Debbie has made sure she explores as many styles of rug hooking as possible so she can pass her knowledge on to her students.  She is a Rug Hooking Guild of Nova Scotia Certified Teacher.

Some classes she has taught are: 5 Day Storytelling and a 5 Day Autumn Glory Class at KIRA (Kingsbrae International Residence for the Arts) in St. Andrews New Brunswick and taught Autumn

Glory at the RHGNS Rug school. One of Debbie’s rugs, “The Journey” is owned and hangs at

Kingsbrae Garden in St. Andrews, New Brunswick.

“Hooking & Stitching with Sari Silk” with Dawn Liu-Smyth

 Silk ribbon from India has become a popular material for rug hooking in recent years. Available in so many bright and beautiful colours, the silk adds amazing sheen and texture. The ribbon is versatile and fun to hook with.

In this one-week workshop, participants will learn techniques used to hook silk ribbon and explore how to incorporate stitching techniques. The first day and half will be spent working on a 12×12 sampler. The instructor will use the sampler to teach techniques such as shisha, couching, feathering, etc. When completed, the sampler makes a perfect pillow or bag front.

 Participants will then proceed to plan their own unique design. Under the guidance of the instructor, students will draw, transfer and colour-plan their own 16”x20” or 20”x24” original piece. By the end of the week, each participant will be well on their way to completing their silk masterpiece.

This class is suitable for all skill levels. Basic hooking experience is beneficial.

Dawn Liu-Smyth

 Dawn is a Canadian fibre artist specializing in rug-hooking & felting. Her studio, Heartfelt Fibre Arts, is located in Toronto and also offers workshops and on-line sales. A former high school teacher, Dawn began hooking 10 years ago and works predominately with alternative fibres, including silk ribbon, velvet and art yarns. She is a member of the Ontario Hooking Craft Guild and the Etobicoke Rug Crafters.

“Namely Kaleidoscopes” with Donna Legere

 Create a name in a kaleidoscope.  You will learn to design your kaleidoscope, prepare the design from paper to pattern and your pattern to backing.  Colour planning with be explored and finally hooking your own design.  At the end of this course you will feel confident in designing and completing your own Namely Kaleidoscope.  Multiple versions of the kaleidoscope will be demonstrated and finishing techniques will be discussed.

Donna Legere

Donna began hooking in 2006.  A RHGNS Certified Teacher and member of the Rug Hooking Guild of Nova Scotia previously holding offices of treasurer and director.  She is also a member of ATHA and TIGHR.  Her adaptation of Robert Gonsalves Widow’s Watch II was People’s Choice at the Lunenburg Fisheries Museum in 2017 and is an Honourable Mention in the Rug Hooking Celebration of Hand Hooked Rugs 29.

Development and Translation of Hidden Messages and Visions in Hooked Rugs inspires her designs and hooking.


Can you see the name Kaleb in this kaleidoscope?

‘A Designer for All Time, William Morris’ with Doris Norman

“Have nothing in your home which you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.”

William Morris’ decorating philosophy can be summarized in one word “simplicity”. We will be hooking Morris designs and learn about his time and place.  You may purchase a design from the instructor, a rug hooking studio or create your design.  My student letter will include a list of “copy free books” as well as colour suggestions. Some of the designs use a monochromatic colour scheme others use the original colour of the design. A little shading knowledge will be helpful however, we will be hooking only a few values of each beautiful hue. Any fabric and cut from 3 to 8 may be used, this will be determined by the intricacy of the design and the weave of the backing.  Join me for a fun filled course, a lot of learning and sharing by student and instructor.

Doris Norman

Doris Norman is a skilled artisan and instructor since 1982 and 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 down to future generations. Doris encourages students to create designs, to dye and use reclaimed fabrics. She teaches rug hooking courses at schools and workshops across Canada, recently in Victoria BC, Niagara on the Lake Ont, Oxford NS and Halifax NS.  Doris is an accredited Nova Scotia and Pearl McGown Teacher specializing in Jacobean/Crewel, William Morris Design, Monochromatic, 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. Her hooked designs are in private collections as well as the Beaverbrook Art Gallery in Fredericton, NB. Doris has a passion for the history of rug hooking and its preservation. She is a founding member of the New Brunswick Mat Registry and several rug hooking guilds.

“All About Yarn” with Heather Gordon

 At last – a course designed to cover everything you need to know about hooking with yarn!  You have unlimited options, whether you want to try a traditional design or combine yarn with other fibres to create your own unique style.

We will survey a full range of techniques covering various regional styles, traditional use of yarn in Garrett’s Bluenose rugs, modern punch needle applications, mixed multi-fibre hooking, and creating texture with yarn.  The course will include practical tips on how to handle yarn and how to evaluate and select the perfect natural or synthetic fibre for your design.

Yarn can be used in a full range of styles from traditional to ultra contemporary. It is ideal for small items such as coasters, mug mats or Christmas ornaments.   It can also be used for floor mats and makes fantastic wall hangings and pictorials.

Choose a style.  Choose some interesting yarns.   Create your own masterpiece.

Heather Gordon

I was lucky to learn from the best, taking my first hooking course with the legendary Jeanne Field in 1976. After a wide range of courses with Jeanne and other Ontario Guild teachers and many years at NS and NL rug schools, I still enjoy discovering new styles and adding new techniques to expand my hooking skills.

Today, my areas of special interest are at opposite ends of the rug hooking spectrum: preserving traditional styles and materials as a heritage artisan and creating innovative multi-fibre pieces as a contemporary fibre artist.

In addition to organizing exhibits for museums and community groups, I demonstrate traditional Maritime hooking styles at the Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic, teach workshops, design original patterns and kits and enjoy hooking with a number of local and regional groups. 

I have participated in and organized many hooked rug exhibits in Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and PEI.  Several of my pieces have been featured in guild publications and in Rug Hooking Magazine.

Heather Gordon
Certified RHGNL Instructor

“Fine Shaded Flowers” with Mary Grant

 “When you take a flower in your hand and really look at it, it’s your world for the moment” (Georgia O’Keefe).  Spend this week in a world of flowers, learning how to paint them with wool.  Using 3 and 4 cuts, 6 to 8 value swatches, cross swatches, spot, dip and transitional dyes, your flowers will come alive. Techniques of fingering, feathering, mock shading and the use of textured wools will add realism to your choice of pattern.  Fine shading also provides a basis for enhancing fruits, pictorials, portraits and many other mats.  Copyright laws apply to your pattern choice.  This course qualifies as one of the requirements for anyone considering becoming a certified teacher with RHGNS.

Mary Grant

Mary has been rug hooking for 18 years, teaching for 7.  She has memberships in Heritage Rug Hooking Guild, Rug Hooking Guild of Nova Scotia, its Teachers Branch and the Fibre Arts Network. She has a Masters in Industrial and Vocational Education with a focus on teaching skills.  She enjoys shading, sculpting, and depicting historical events.  Mary teaches beginner, and more advanced courses locally and in the Atlantic Provinces.  She has designed a number of mats for all skill levels. She has demonstrated her skills at the Fredericton Library, Kings Landing, the Casements and Fredericton Region Museum, and enjoys helping visitors of all ages try rug hooking.

“Demystifying Abstract Art” with Tanya Graham

How can we express ourselves, our thoughts, our feelings and our experiences through using Line Shape Colour . . . and our hook?

There are many abstract styles of painting, and nothing is “wrong”. Through gentle stages and inspired by some of the greatest painters of the twentieth century, the participants will arrive at a design for a rug that is truly modern, and personal.

I will emphasise the following throughout the workshop: –  Intentional Line, Quality Shapes, Simplified and Purified Colour.

Participants are welcome to bring either a prepared pattern, or create one in class, or both. There will be as much individual preparation with me, prior to the workshop, as you want.

Some artists representative of the journey towards twentieth century abstraction are Pablo Picasso; Georges Braque; Kasimir Malevich; Wassily Kandinsky; Piet Mondrian; Mark Rothko; Jackson Pollock; Lee Krasner; Patrick Heron.

Tanya Graham

Born in the UK in 1944, Tanya Graham has taught in the public-school systems of the UK, France, and Canada. Art and Art History, with a special interest in twentieth century painting, have been life-long areas of study.

From teaching crewel embroidery in the 1980s, Tanya came to rug hooking in 1994. She received her Ontario (OHCG) rug hooking teacher accreditation in 1996; wrote the first teacher accreditation programme for the Western Canada Rug Hooking Education Association; and is an accredited McGown teacher.

“Animals Crackers” with Pam Bartlett

We are all crackers over our pets and loved creatures, no matter how cute, cuddly or slippery they may be. Bringing them to life in the hooked medium is a fun and creative experience. Pam is known for her ability of helping students create lifelike renditions of animals and helping her students discover and expand their skills in rug hooking. Pam finds that using multiple size cuts of wool give a much more satisfying end results, by using different wools to attain the best effect. She finds adding fibers such as silk, satin, yarns and fleece help add yet another element of interest, realism and artistic interpretation to hooked pieces.

Students will learn to use textures, swatches, spot dyed and dip dyed wools to create the many details, color and value changes found in all animals. Whether you are hooking fur, feathers, fins or fleece, Pam will help you develop the confidence to try new ideas and techniques to add realistic or impressionistic details to your work.  Students are encouraged to work with either their own design, a commercial design or Pam is happy to work with you to create a design of your own. She can also help you color plan using dyed, as is or recycled materials.  This class is better suited for students with some knowledge of shading or intermediate rug hooking skills, but all are welcome as she teaches all levels and styles of rug hooking.

Pam enjoys helping students discover their creativity through a mindfulness based approach, believing that by encouraging each student to stretch just a little bit, everyone can achieve a successful outcome.  Pam feels it is important to help each student work within their own comfort level, but at the same time, encourage them to reach beyond and to grow. Pam will contact you soon after you register to confirm the details of your project. Advance planning will ensure that you have everything you need to bring your animal to life.

Pam Bartlett

Pam has been hooking since 1983, teaching for 25+ years, certified McGown teacher since 2001 and teaches at various rug schools and workshops in the US & Canada. Pam is a juried member of the League of NH Craftsmen, a four-time recipient of the Master Artist/Apprenticeship Program through the NH State Council for the Arts, Traditional Arts Program with the National Endowments for the Arts. Pam’s work has been exhibited at the American Fork Art Museum in NYC, University of NH Law School, the Carnegie Center for Art & History, the Hooking in the Mountains Exhibit with the Green Mt. Rug Hooking Guild and many exhibits in the US and Canada.