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Rug Hooking Artists of the Year for 2022 - Alexandrya Eaton and Mary Hays



Alexandrya Eaton




Alexandrya Eaton is a contemporary Canadian painter whose practice has grown to include rug-hooking and weaving, incorporating the same vibrant palette and feminine icons across all mediums. Eaton’s work aims to explore phases of womanhood, combining traditional women’s craft practices with contemporary imagery.

Over the years, Eaton’s paintings have been included in several important group exhibitions, such as: Anecdotes and Enigmas: the Atlantic Art Exhibition curated by Hermenegilde Chiasson, in 1996; and BLISS, in 2002, curated by Shauna McCabe. At the Confederation Centre for the Arts in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, BLISS combined the work of four international artists exploring the image and idea of flowers and flowering, and its relationship to the poetic, questioning modern perceptions of beauty. 

In 2012, Eaton was invited to participate in HOT POP SOUP: Neo-Pop Trends in Contemporary New Brunswick Art, a group exhibition at the Beaverbrook Art Gallery. Curator, Terry Graff, brought together the work of ten New Brunswick artists working within the realm and influence of Pop Art. Eaton’s resulting work, Superhero Warehouse, confirmed current themes in her work, offering a modern interpretation on the idea of an everyday superwoman. 

In 2019, Eaton’s painting, Working Mothers, was selected from the New Brunswick Art Bank to be included in the anniversary exhibition celebrating fifty years of the province’s permanent collection, Everything’s Gonna Be Fine.

Over three decades, Alexandrya Eaton has had forty-five solo exhibitions of her work and her paintings hang in numerous private and public collections. Her most recent body of work, Becoming, took five years to complete and involves both painting and rug hooking. Inspired by the life of her grandmother, Becoming, resulted in a solo travelling exhibition curated by Christina Thomson at the Beaverbrook Art Gallery in 2018, and then travelled to the Sunbury Shores Arts & Nature Centre in 2019 and the Saint John Arts Centre in 2021. 

The Becoming series was shown again in 2021 in Eaton’s retrospective solo exhibition at the Owens Art Gallery, at Mount Allison University, in Sackville. Everything in Between, curated by 3E Collective, was accompanied by a full colour publication of the artist’s life and work funded with a grant from the New Brunswick Arts Board. This impressive book and career survey, Everything in Between, examines thirty years of Eaton’s art practice in combination with 3E Collective’s insightful observations on art making, motherhood, and femininity.

Eaton is thrilled to exhibit her work in summer 2022 at the Hooked Rug Museum of North America as Artist of the Year.

You can learn more about Alexandrya Eaton and her outstanding works at her website:




Mary Hays Visions of Acadia


I first became aware of the beauty and range of possibilities that hooking offered at a hooking exhibit sponsored by the Hook and I (our local hooking group).  After seeing their collected work at an exhibit, I decided to try my hand at it. In years past I braided rugs and missed the tactile pleasure of working with wool. I ordered some basic supplies from Dorr Mills and jumped in! My first rug was undoubtedly one of the ugliest rugs I’ve ever seen so I bought some books, watched a multitude of YouTube videos, and trusted  the advise and criticisms of other hookers who so generously shared their knowledge. I knew I had found my niche when my fourth rug won best in show at a county rug show and five years ago when a rug was in Celebration. 

I feel fortunate to live minutes away from Acadia National Park which offers endless inspiration and challenge. Capturing many much loved spots in wool is a real joy. although I admit that doing water is often daunting. I frequently sit on the rocks studying the water, trying to “pixelate” the movement and the colors of “wet” in my mind.

I use purchased hand dyed wool, some with a shimmery backing which gives the water some sparkle. I do not draw well, so I start with horizon lines. For static features, such as the bridge, I take photos, enlarge them on a copier to the appropriate size and trace their outline on the foundation cloth then fill in with what I see. I’m never afraid to tear out areas that don’t work well and will re-do an area until it does work before finally declaring victory.

Most of my pieces are of Acadia and Atlantic Coast landscapes. Because of this, my very supportive husband had cards printed with the by-line, ”Visions of Acadia”

I enjoy seeing peoples’ reactions when they recognize the places depicted in my rugs. Whether blue skies or storm clouds; mountains topped with fog or snow; or the tender colors of spring, Acadia National Park is constantly changing and I could spend several lifetimes trying to capture its essence. Eventually I want to expand my subject matter, but for now I’m completely happy with my Acadian landscapes.