What's Up for 2013?

If you do not already belong to the on-line group Rug Hooking Daily, I highly recommend it. Every day there is a discussion question, and there are sub groups in every imaginable category - wool dyeing, regional groups, etc. Today's Daily Discussion caught my eye. It is: What are your creative goals for the year 2013? The answers vary from completing unfinished pieces to finding one's own personal style to organizing the old wool stash. I have been thinking hard about what my own creative goals are for 2013, and so I thought I'd share them here and invite you to share yours too.

Several observations in 2012 have led me to believe that there is more to the rug hooking community than I at first thought. When I first took up hooking in 2011, I knew immediately I had found the "hand craft for me." What I didn't know was that I would be so driven to design new patterns, dye my own wool, and launch a small Etsy enterprise, but that soon followed. During 2012 I continued to think that perhaps this was a nice "side business" but that I could probably not make it a serious endeavor. I have changed my mind.

During 2012 I had the privilege to get to know my mentor, Connie Fletcher of Seven Gables Rug Hooking, much better and observe her impeccable business practices and successes in all aspects of her art. Through her undying encouragement and teaching, I have gained a little more confidence in what I do and, more importantly, what I might be able to do in the future as I learn and improve my own art. I have met and learned immeasurably from our local group of hookers and knitters who meet at Artful Hands Fiber Studio. I have also been buoyed by the enthusiasm of some very special customers who have bought my pieces, large and small, and expressed their appreciation and offered, unsolicited, ways that they might also promote my work. Additionally, I have sold a few pieces at The Secret Garden Flowers & Gifts and been invited to show and sell my work at Smedberg's Crystal Spring Farm in 2013. I have been invited to two large craft fairs, one in Massachusetts and one in New Gloucestor, Maine, out of the blue, and, of course, am planning on doing some with United Maine Craftsman in the coming year as well. The Maine Made - America's Best program accepted my work in 2012, and Jen and I are humbly hoping to show our work for the first time at Hooked in the Mountains 2013 in Shelburne, VT. All in all, 2012 has been a year of good starts for Parris House Wool Works in the form of these absolute gifts given us by other hookers, artisans, shop owners and craft organizations. I am overwhelmed by how supportive these people have been from the moment I expressed an interest in hooking. The love of the craft is evident in their enthusiasm and in their willingness to pass it on, often with an astounding spirit of generosity.

My goal for 2013 is to capitalize on those good starts and be worthy of all the help we've received in 2012. Jen and I hope to add more patterns, hand dyed wools, and finished pieces to the Etsy shop. My husband, Bill Miller, has also become quite a potter in 2012 and we plan to introduce his hand thrown snip & scissors holders to the shop. We have been hard at work designing pottery pieces that will be beautiful, but just as importantly, functional for this purpose. When I asked on our FB page for feedback on what you'd want in a snip container, one of the hookers indicated that her floor worked pretty well! I loved that answer.

In short, the level of opportunity I see in the hooking world is broader and deeper than I first anticipated. I see it here in New England, and also when I travel to the Canadian Maritimes, which feels like - whether it is or not - the hooking epicenter of the world. My experiences in the world of wool in 2012 have shown me that that silver ring I wear daily, inscribed with "Do what you love, love what you do" is not just about wishful thinking.

What am I up to right this second in terms of hooking? These humble little things...

These are a set of primitive Christmas coasters I'm working on for the Women's Council of Realtors (Portland, Maine Chapter) silent auction as a donation. Please note that if I were to sell this pattern I would not put it on an inconvenient strip of linen this way - I'd make it 2 over 2 with lots of edge for the hooking frame, but as I had this strip of linen in my stash I thought, "Why not?"

Following these, I have to hook a Seven Gables designed chair pad as a Christmas gift for my aunt, and then another one of these...

for the same woman in Florida who bought the first one - apparently she wants another! And by the time these are finished it should be January 2013 - time for all that is new. Stay tuned. What are you working on? Share your work and your photos here! Happy hooking. : )

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