April DeConick: Class of 2018

Name: April DeConick

Location: Houston, Texas

Tell us a bit about yourself. What are some of your interests and hobbies?
April DeConick is an award-winning hooked wool artist and master dyer known for her zonalism technique and palette dyeing. Her hooked rugs and mats have been featured in six of the Celebration of Hand-Hooked Rugs juried series, Rug Hooking Magazine, and the ATHA Newsletter. Her rugs and dyed wool have received blue ribbon People's Choice Awards in 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014 at the Sauder Village Rug Hooking Exhibition. She has authored numerous articles for the ATHA Newsletter and Rug Hooking magazine. She also has written and fully illustrated the step-by-step instructional dye book: The Wool Palette: a rug hooker's guide to dyeing your own color palette of wool. Her second book, Wool Snapshots covers the how-tos of zonalism for small mats. She teaches classes in dyeing and hooked portraiture at retreats and camps. She is the past president of the Stash Sisters ATHA guild in Region 9. She has a blog and website, or

Tell us a bit about yourself. What are some of your interests and hobbies?
In 1995, I saw rug hooking demonstrated at a historic farm in rural Michigan and signed up for a beginning rug hooking class in the farmhouse.

What was your first project?
A rug called The Hidden Stone. It was featured as the "First Rug on the Last Page" of the Rug Hooking magazine X.3 (November/December 1998) p. 64. The photo and full story are there.

Is there one rug that stands out as being particularly memorable?
Satu. This is my big tiger rug, featuring one of the tigers at the Houston zoo.

Is there a particular style of rugs that you're most interested in hooking?
As an artist, I am fascinated by scale. So I tend to hook oversized or miniature pieces. I explore what happens to color and value when the scale changes. My work is impressionistic. I am not trying to capture reality, but the impression and emotion of a particular moment when a person or an animal turns and gazes out from within.

What's your favorite part about hooking a rug?
I find rug hooking an emotional, even spiritual release to a busy day, the contemplative process of pulling the loops, feeling the wool between my fingers and the plunge of the hook to grab it, the sound of the fibers as the wool engages the linen foundation, the sight of the bright colors and contrasts worked in side by side.

What's a piece of advice you'd give to a new rug hooker?
Experiment. Rug hooking is the most forgiving artistic medium I know. If you don't like what you hooked in, you can pull it out and try something else.

What do you love most about Celebration?
I enjoy seeing what other artists are doing with rug hooking, especially in terms of original projects rather than patterns. I look for inspiration and ways in which rug hookers are pushing the craft in new directions.

Jack in the Red, Celebration XI

Jack in the Red, Celebration XI

On a wool-hunting expedition, April DeConick and her mother found two bright orange coats. "We were thrilled with [the color]," April recalls, "and my favorite wool to hook has always been from worn-out coats... Since autumn was nearly upon us, we... Read more.

Lady Sunset, Celebration XXI

Lady Sunset, Celebration XXI

April DeConick drew this design for the Kirby Hooking Circle's 2010 Celestial Challenge. "I knew I wanted to hook a sun with a face," she said. "My inspiration came from ancient artisans and how they depicted feelings of dread and awe in their... Read more.

Mary Magdalene, Celebration XXIV

Mary Magdalene, Celebration XXIV

Instead of taking her work home with her, April DeConick takes her art to work. "I am a professor in the Religious Studies Department of Rice University," she says. "When I became chair of the department this year, I wanted to have in my office... Read more.

Satu, Celebration XXV

Satu, Celebration XXV

Satu is part of a series called Faces of the Houston Zoo. "It is created from a photo I took of one of the male tigers at the Houston Zoo who prowls around his exhibit."

"I am intrigued by the use... Read more.

Jesus of Nazareth, Celebration 26

Jesus of Nazareth, Celebration 26

Every year I challenge myself as an artist, whether it is the scale of the rug I chose to hook, or the use of green in a portrait, or how moonlight is captured differently from sunlight. In 2015, I chose to focus on form or design. I wanted to break down a rug... Read more.

Red Glasses, Celebration 27

Red Glasses, Celebration 27

My intent with this piece was to experiment with a wool palette in muted grays, browns, and reds to be used in portraiture hooking. To do this, I dyed 8-value swatches of 13 colors in both plain and textured wool. The most challenging part of this rug was... Read more.

Billy the Bighorn, Celebration 29

Billy the Bighorn, Celebration 29

"The piece is hooked with fourteen different colors, each one dyed in 8 values, which makes 112 different wools. I selected the colors because..." Read more.


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