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{  MY MOM AND AUNT GLADYS  }

MY MOTHER'S VERY GIFTED AUNT GLADYS was an excellent seamstress, in addition to being a competent knitter, crotchetier, and rug maker. She taught my Mom many of these skills. Gladys hooked fine cut rugs that were the fashion of her time; Victorian floral’s with tight fisted scrolls bordering the edges. While my mom did sew many of our childhood jumpers and knit us warm winter sweaters, she never found the time to get started on the rug that she had sketched out in her mind. It would be a rug depicting a childhood memory of the family cow Bessie getting drunk in the orchard for having eaten too many windfall apples. While we were still young, she got as far as drawing the pattern on burlap, and filling a tattered trunk in our downstairs closet with the hand-me-down jumpers, the “Villager” skirts from out teen aged years, and the matching Christmas wool A-line skirts, circa 1972 that my sisters and I refused to wear. When Mom finally got hooking, half a life time later,  her burlap backing had begun to rot!

{  BESSIE IN THE ORCHARD  }


I also shared my mother and aunt’s interest in the “parlor arts”  (needle arts that every “proper” young woman should learn!) My idle teenage hours were often spent quilting, crocheting, and knitting. These skills served me well years later when I moved to Middlebury, Vermont to set up my pottery studio at Frog Hollow Crafts Center as I was able to supplement my income by working at a local yarn and fabric shop.

{  FROG HOLLOW  }

A copy of “Rug Hookers News and Views” in the store sparked my desire to learn to hook.  Serendipitously, the “Punch Needle Queen”, Amy Oxford, ( www.oxford.com ) was teaching classes at the Craft Center, and although it would be many years before I had the time and money to acquire another craft skill, I knew that I would return to the fiber arts as a creative outlet.
In the early 1990’s, having established our pottery business, Fioriware ( www.fioriwareartpottery.com ),

{ THE FIORIWARE FACTORY }

my husband Howard and I began returning in the summer with our young family to Vermont, where we had a small cabin not too far from Middlebury. Amy Oxford had moved into my old studio at Frog Hollow and I was smitten with the colorful array of yarns for punch needle hooking that she had for sale. I felt that I had the time finally to begin my hooking adventure. My first rug was loosely based on the Fioriware “Peach Poppy” pattern,

{  PEACH POPPY RUG & PUNCH NEEDLE CHAIR PAD IN NOSEGAY PATTERN  }

and the next was based on the  “Nosegay” pattern. Within a year, Howard and I were importing hand-tufted rugs made in India to incorporate into the Fioriware line of lifestyle products.

{ FIORIWARE RUGS FROM OUR CATALOGUE }

My favorites of course were the scalloped ones!
I continued to punch hook rugs and chair pads for home, and “required” that each of my three sons hook their own chair pad for the dining table at the cabin in Vermont! I continued to explore traditional rug hooking, took my first class at Stephanie Krauss’s Green Mountain Rug School in the summer of 2001, (www.greenmountainhookedrugs.com/school ) and became a member of the vibrant Green Mountain Rug Hooking Guild, ( www.gmrhg.org ). 

I began to take classes frequently in Vermont, and some of my favorite pieces to work on were Karen Kahle patterns. ( www.primitivespirit.com )

{ KAREN KAHLE RUGS }

I also reproduced a few of the Fioriware patterns with wider cuts utilizing the layouts we had created for the rugs from India.

{ RUG DEPARTMENT IN THE FIORIWARE STORE }

Disappointed that there was no state guild for rug hooking in Ohio, and lonely for hooking friends, I began to teach rug hooking out of the Fioriware store. With the help of my students, we organized the Buckeye Rug Hooking Guild and hosted the first two meetings in the auditorium on the top floor of our retail store. (Originally Zanesville’s Masonic Temple) For several of its formative years I served as President, Treasurer, and Newsletter Editor. The Guild continues to meet twice a year, and now offers workshops in the spring, attracting nationally renowned teachers. ( www. buckeyerughookingguild.com ).

{ BUCKEYE RUG MEETING AND BUCKEY RUG HOOKING GUILD MAT }


Howard, always on the lookout for creative inspiration, brought home for me after one of his antiquing junkets, a Shaker Prayer Hymnal, from Watervliet, N.Y. I read through the verses, and appreciated many of the non-denominational yet reverent missives expressed by this American utopian community of men and women. I incorporated a number of them in a series of  hooked “prayer rugs.

{ PICTURES OF PRAYER RUGS }

In the interests of refining and defining my hooking voice, I continued my education by enrolling in classes at the McGown Teachers Workshop, a school that was established in the 1940’s by Pearl McGown. Under the tutelage of some remarkable fine cut and fine shading hooking artists, I began to learn the techniques that my Aunt Gladys had mastered with her floral’s and scrolls.

{ MY MCGOWN ROSE PILLOW TOP AND OF THE TIGHT FISTED SCROLLS }

I also continued to make rugs with the punch needle, and in 2006, I completed my Oxford Certification with Amy in Vermont.

{ MY FUNERAL PARLOR BUS RUG - CERTIFICATION TOOLS AND PINS }

Three years later, my 25 year-long mobeus ribbon of hooking curved round and I completed my McGown Certification. ( www.cindigayrughooking.com/mcgown/  www.mcgownguild.com ) My personal work continues to evolve, as does my interest in surface, floor covering, and accessory design. I am compelled to hook wide cut floral geometrics, antique reproductions, and  remain intrigued with the history of fabric design.

{ PICTURES OF TWO OF MY FAVORITE WIDE CUTS }

 I especially enjoy teaching, which I do regionally, nationally, and internationally. Like all mobeus’s of great passion, what is best learned is best shared, and when shared, the journey continues.

 

XXXOOO - MADDY