Off The Hook Wool Rugs

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Teaching and Vending

ContactSharon to teach at your guild or group workshop :

Sharon A. Smith of

Email:   Cell: 925-202-1732

Years teaching :    Sharon has been teaching rug hooking for two years from Coast to Coast—ATHA in Long Beach, CA; Red Stick in Baton Rouge, LA; Star of Texas in Fredericksburg, TX; and guilds in Seattle, Oregon, Salt Lake City, Phoenix, Georgia, and many more. 

Teaching strengths : Although she holds a Ph.D in psychology, she spent many years as a graphic designer working in placement of color, shapes, typography, and images. During extensive travel abroad over 30 years, she collected primitive art to build a small collection of handmade crafts. These have stimulated her own work in fiber—quilting, knitting, and punchneedle.  Her work has been featured in Rug Hooking Magazine, ATHA magazine, and the Wool Street Journal


Availability:   Sharon Smith is available for your guild or group to teach any one of the following workshop descriptions, beginning 2016. 

Workshop Descriptions and Choices:

1.Three or four day workshop on basic rug hooking principles

      This would be an "open" class where students bring their own work in progress or a new piece, or purchase a new pattern. We begin by discussing focal points in the rug and move on how to color plan, the use of and choice of various wool cut   widths, background design choices and color, light and dark, the use and meaning of shapes; and emotional intention of the piece from dramatic to subdued.   (just one example of the basics)

2.Three-day workshop:   Use of a variety of textiles in hooking a rug.

      On a small project, the student will experiment with creating texture using many fabrics from wool, cotton, velvet, silk, to yarn, ribbon, nylons, and appliqueing pieces into a rug. Instructions delve into when it is appropriate to use these different fabrics; perfecting placement of an interesting focal point through applique; and discussing the positives and negatives of all variety of textiles.

3.Three-four day workshop: Creating your own design for a small rug

      This workshop focuses on: developing an idea for a rug design; how to gather and organize materials for your design; using templates in a piece; drawing from your heart; using paper or clear plastic for drawing your design; putting the elements onto linen. Students would have available to them many templates, art books, photos, and the Web.

4.Three-four day workshop on creating an Impressionist-style rug      

       This class discusses the impressionists and how their styles are similar and different from previous artist. For example, from Monet's dreamy water lilies to Seurat's precision in use of dots of paint, to Van Gogh's highly emotional swathes of strong brush strokes and color, among others.   We will discuss how these techniques can be converted to rug hooking and demonstrate hooking methods of creating an impressionistic rug. Students will bring images of some of their favorite Impressionist's paintings to work from.

5.Three or four day workshop: Creating a rug with feeling

  This class would include using a prepared pattern or creating one in class that holds a special meaning to you. Some people have focused on a "grief" rug—something that reminds or allows the processing of a loss through hand work. Others pick a particular "place" that holds memories such as a childhood hang-out, nature, or home. Still others create an heirloom rug for family members such as an image of a person, an activity involving family members or friends (e.g., croquet, kite flying, etc.). Others focus on creating meaning through a favorite pet or anthropomorphic animal such as a dressed up kitty.    Also discussed is how to create motion in a static object such as a rug; how to create mood through color choices; how to depict emotions in faces; and paying attention to how you feel working on the piece.

6.Three to Four day workshop: Hook Your Own House

            Hand making a rug often carries deep meaning for a hooker. A personal creation, the rug can integrate strong memories from your life. It can also hold value because of the memories hooking it around friends, building a special mutual bond.   Often, your home is close to your heart—the soul of your family image. It represents your interior life and can reveal a lot about you.   It is the inside of you on the outside, because your spirit, your view of the world, and yourself is consciously or unconsciously represented by your home.

In this workshop, students provide me with pictures of their houses. I draw a rough sketch and email it to them for approval. I then put the drawing on linen. It is hooked in class. Here are some places I have drawn for other hookers: camper, church, first home, tent.  The possibilities are endless. But the key is that the place has an emotional pull for you and holds special meaning or memories for you. For me, it was the farm on which I grew up. I have such fond memories of my family there, riding horses, milking cows (not so fond), baling hay watching my six siblings grow up too.   My drawing is not a realistic drawing or architectural rendering of the property—it is a 60-something mixture of memories like chickens on the loose, cows in the corn field, etc.  

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