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The Rug Hooking Artists of the Year for 2017 are:


Kate Thornhill, Sparrowhawk Studio, Long Reach, NB

 Kate ThornhillKate Thornhill

Originally from St. Stephen, New Brunswick, I have has lived in several provinces and territories and have traveled extensively.   Everywhere I go I take my camera to capture the wonderful landscape of our world. Many of the women in my family worked in various forms of fibre arts over the years. I learned the basics as a child and have worked in fibre arts most of my adult life.

Several years ago I realized I had a great desire to create and design my own projects rather than recreating someone else’s designs. This exhibit represents my journey from technique to design.

About 4 years ago I met some wonderful rug hookers who meet at the Saint John Arts Centre.  These enthusiastic and talented folks introduced me to a new art form. One member of the group was working a piece using wool yarn. I had tried a few pieces using the traditional wool strips but did not like the affect. When I saw the finished yarn piece I experienced an AHA! moment and knew this was the affect I was looking for. This was how I could accomplish the detail and texture of my photos by “painting with a hook”.


During the discovery process I visited a local supply shop to get materials and tips.  The owner told me that I needed to make a line drawing first so I could then transfer the design to the backing. I knew there had to be something on the Internet on how to make a line drawing from a digital image so I searched and found a YouTube video with step-by-step instructions. I then took one of my photos, resized it, made a line drawing, and transferred it onto a backing.  As they say, the rest is history: “painting with a hook”, I have created more than 30 wall hangings/tapestries based on my original photos. The pieces in this exhibit are all from my original photographs. 


The January/February issue of Rug Hooking Magazine features an article titled “Painting with a Hook” and features three of my tapestries and the process of going from photo to line drawing to hooked rug. 

 My website showcases my photography and hooked rugs. 


Kay Lewis, Greenwish, Nova Scotia 

Kay LewisKay Lewis

I arrived in Nova Scotia in 2006 when I was in my early 70s, having lived in Daysland, Alberta.  Neither my husband nor I knew anyone, but we knew we loved Nova Scotia.  I had never been able to find an artistic endeavor at which I excelled and I tried many, such as wood carving, drawing and painting  no luck, but I truly believed you were never too old to keep trying. I became aware that rug hooking was fairly high profile in the Maritimes, and thought perhaps this could be the one at which I might excel.  Then one day I saw a sign in a sewing shop in New Minas offering lessons.  I signed up and never looked back.  The teacher I signed with, Lynn Denney, taught using 100% wool yarn, so thats what Ive been using ever since.  Its readily available, very clean to work with, easy on the pocket book and whatever color you may need, Lynn will hand dye it for you.  So I am now totally hooked on hooking.


For three years I was Regional Director for the Annapolis Valley Rug Hookers, which is part of the Nova Scotia Rug Hooking Guild.  My work has been shown at Jacks Gallery in Wolfville, the Centreville Quilt and Rug Show, the Designer Cafe in Kentville, and Centre Stage Theatre in Kentville, and Edible Arts Cafe, and the Libraries in Wolfville and Kingston. I have attended Rug School in Cornwallis, Truro, Halifax, England and Newfoundland.  Teaching standards are very high and each year you can learn something new.  My choice of projects is rather eclectic.  I take photographs of things that catch my eye, and I also love to hook local painters work, after asking permission, of course. 


There is one thing that stands out about rug hooking for me, and thats the women you meet along the way.  This art/craft seems to attract only the kindest, funniest, most caring women youll meet in a lifetime. 


It takes a very long time to hook a mat, and by the time its completed, youve become rather attached to it.  But I have run out of wall space and so have given away, or sold, a number of my mats, and I hope that someone, somewhere, will enjoy having them in their home as much as I have enjoyed hooking them.