The High Desert Rug Hookers do traditional rug hooking and wool is the “paint” used in their fiber art designs, offering a wide range of colors for the artists to choose from. By April Lewis
One artist said she used to paint with oils but has left it behind to do her art work with fabric. Not to be mistaken as a craft, “This is a fiber art,” said Bernice Lopez, “where we can create our own color by dyeing the wool.”
The artist chooses a foundation fabric such as monk’s cloth, burlap or linen to hook in the wool. Some patterns are preprinted on the foundation fabric, or the artist will create their own design, drawing onto the foundation fabric of their choice.
Wool strips are made from fabric bought off the bolt or by recycling wool from old garments. The ideal wool used is called “flannel weight” wool and is torn or cut into different widths called cuts. The smaller the cut of fabric the more detail the artist can hook in their design. A hook with a wooden handle is used to pull the wool fabric through the holes in the foundation fabric.
The finished piece is categorized by its style such as Traditional Fine Shaded, Pictorial, Oriental or Primitive Wide Cut. Wool can also be dyed to create different shades of color or patterns and some artists like to work in other types of fabric for contrast.
The High Desert Rug Hookers recently held their annual Hook In where hooked rugs were displayed for locals and visiting rug hookers to admire their impressive art work. This 30 member Fiber Arts group occasionally does demonstrations throughout the community and members enjoy workshops hosted by teachers, to learn different techniques of this art form. After this year’s Hook In, members welcomed Monika Jones to Sunriver for a three-day workshop, with the focus on Primitive Wide Cut technique. The High Desert Rug Hookers are a charitable group, the KIDS Center being their donation recipient.
If you want to try “painting” with fabrics, the High Desert Rug Hookers are looking for new members to keep traditional rug hooking alive.
Info: Linda Hendrix at 541-382-5337 or firstname.lastname@example.org. The High Desert Rug Hookers meet Tuesdays, 10am-2pm at the Bend Senior Center. Classes will be available in the fall through Bend Parks & Rec.