The first Friday of every month is Fiber Arts Friday! Join me as we expand our horizons beyond crochet to focus on other interesting fiber and needle arts. Enjoy the beautiful projects and learn something new along the way. Today we are going to learn about rug hooking from expert Cindy Irwin. Rug hooking "is both an art and a craft where rugs are made by pulling loops of yarn or fabric through a stiff woven base such as burlap, linen, or rug warp. The loops are pulled through the backing material by using a crochet-type hook mounted in a handle (usually wood) for leverage." You just can't imagine the beauty that rug hooking can create without seeing it for yourself. Cindy, show us what you know!
Cindy Irwin is an empty nester with a nearly perfect husband, two adult children, and three grandchildren. Last year they sold their farm and moved into a townhouse in Lancaster, PA. She now has a wonderful studio with a dye kitchen and teaching space, and more time to devote to her craft.
She enjoys spending time with her family, lifts weights; several years ago, she held a national record in the dead-lift with a 265 lb. lift. She also enjoys playing tennis.
Cindy is a juried member of the Pennsylvania Guild of Craftsmen, President of the Conestoga Guild of McGown Rug Crafters, and the ATHA Area 2 Rep. She is also the assistant director of The McGown National Teachers Workshop. (She is working on learning to say no).
How long have you been rug hooking? How did you get started?
Cindy has been hooking rugs since 1983 and has won numerous awards for her work. She is a certified McGown teacher and holds classes in her home studio and throughout the area. Of the many creative endeavors she has explored, rug hooking is both the most challenging and the most rewarding. For her, there is nothing to compare with the satisfaction of bringing together all the elements of a finished piece: making a pattern, finding just the right colors to bring it alive, dyeing the wool and finally hooking and finishing a rug that is utterly unique.
What advice do you have for folks who are interested in rug hooking?
"Advice to new hookers: Find a teacher in your area. I have taken classes with over 45 teachers. I learn something new from each one! The McGown website has a list of certified teachers. The ATHA website has a list of guilds near you."
Here is some of Cindy's work...
"Several years ago, I started making purses embellished with semi-precious gemstones."
"This is a wall hanging I made for my mother…she loves roosters."
"This rug is a tribute to my father. It is his first grade picture. You can read more about it on my website."
"My students have wanted to hook fairies for a long time. We have been working on them in class. Here is my fairy. I used my granddaughter as a model. I think it looks like her!"
"Several years ago, I met the artist Lisa Arkus at an art show. Her work translates beautifully to rug hooking. Here are two rugs based on her work."
"My current project is my version of Gustav Klimt’s 'The Virgin'. I am using lots of pearl embellishments."