For Deanne Fitzpatrick, hooked rugs can be vibrant works of original art. Traditional designs sparked her interest in rug hooking 25 years ago but now the Amherst, Nova Scotia-based studio owner, teacher and author is turning to contemporary designs.
“Rug hooking was more crafts-based when I started,” she says. “But now, I’m using it as an art form. My tastes have changed and I’m interested in the modern aesthetic. You can have very simple lines but you can do a lot with colour and be very expressive. Really, it’s painting with wool. But I love that you can you can see the progress immediately—you don’t need to wait for paint to dry.”
In her new book Simply Modern (Nimbus Publishing), Fitzpatrick challenges the notion that hooked rugs must follow traditional styles. “I want people to see that rug hooking can have a very modern aesthetic,” she says. “I’m hoping the book will draw young people into the art.”
For her contemporary designs, she finds inspiration in modern art, in organic forms like leaves, buds and seed pods, and even in traditional rug patterns that feature geometric shapes. “They go right back to those simplistic looks of when my grandmother was hooking and yet they are very modern,” she says. “These simple shapes are much more modern than we think.”
Each fall, Fitzpatrick hosts the Nova Scotia Fibre Arts Festival. Held at venues in Amherst in October, the festival includes textile workshops, panels and shows, attracting textile artists of all skill levels and mediums, plus art buyers and industry insiders. “It’s fun and is growing each year,” Fitzpatrick says. “It’s such a rich experience for our community.” For details, visit www.fibreartsfestival.com.