Barbara Prentice: Class of 2023

Name: Barbara Prentice
Location: Cambridgeshire, England

Tell us a bit about yourself. What are some of your interests and hobbies?
I have spent most of my life as what is often referred to as a “trailing spouse,” our two children and I moving to follow my husband’s jobs in the U.S. and overseas. Some of my hobbies reflect what I can do where I live at the time. I love archaeology, and I have volunteered in both the United States and in England. I enjoy kayaking and walking. I belong to the Ramblers Association here in the UK and also walk on my own. I also am a serious “church crawler” and belong to a group here based near my home. I also love to read and make mosaics.

How did you get introduced to rug hooking?
My husband was attending the Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island, and I decided, as I often do, to learn a local craft. I had only seen rug hooking in books until then, since it wasn’t really anything I  had heard about while growing up in California. I took a night class in the Claire Murray store in downtown Newport and completed a yarn mermaid kit. The instructor later confessed she thought I would never get the hang of it, as I kept pulling out my loops, but I was the only person who finished my rug during the class period.

What was your first project?
The last night of my Claire Murray class, the instructor brought in a #3-#5 cut rug she was repairing (though I couldn’t then identify it as such) that a client’s puppy had chewed up. I was fascinated by the mosaic-like quality. Some years later, when I was in language school in Germany, I kept thinking about that rug. I needed a hobby to relax. I looked online, and bought a Celtic peacock rug pattern from RHF in Canada (now sadly gone) and wool from Jeanne Benjamin, who I called between her many teaching assignments. I ordered a Rigby cutter from eBay—when it arrived I thought I had somehow been sent a medieval thumbscrew! I just copied the colors of the finished rug as I was having a hard enough as it was and didn’t think I could handle anything more. I kept jumping up and unravelling an hour of outline at a time! I couldn’t imagine how people did more than one rug, but I finally got the hang  of it.

Is there one rug that stands out as being particularly memorable?
Probably my Adam and Eve rugs. I saw Eve in a museum in Burgundy, where she had been used as a house foundation after she had been pulled out of the cathedral of Autun. I took so long to do her that a model miniature of Adam showed up in auction just as I was finishing her. I was in Autun last summer, almost by accident, and when I returned to the cathedral museum to visit Eve, I saw that fragments of the demon tempting Eve had been newly discovered. Luckily, I save a yard of my principal background color just for this eventuality!

Is there a particular style of rugs that you're most interested in hooking?
I feel rug hooking, more than almost any textile art, can express movement. I am most drawn to rugs that reflect this quality, whether or not it is a fine or wide cut.

What's your favorite part about hooking a rug?
Strange to say, but it is the moment I pick up a rug, and the weight is more of a rug than a piece of backing. It is a textile I’m making after all, and that moment reminds me of that.

What's a piece of advice you'd give to a new rug hooker?
It is hard to give a general piece of advice, since people make rugs for all kinds of reasons, and we are all so temperamentally different. I would say the one piece of advice that works for everyone is:    value is your friend. Remember that color gets the credit, but value does the heavy lifting.

What do you love most about Celebration?
I enjoy meeting people and rugs that I haven’t seen yet. Sometimes I do get to see the makers and rugs in real life later, and it is a thrill. And sometimes I’ve seen these rugs as they were being made, and that is exciting, too.

The Bottles Cannot Hold

The Bottles Cannot Hold

The Bottles Cannot Hold, 40” x 60”, #4- to 6-cut wool on linen.
Designed and hooked by Barbara Prentice, Farndish, Bedfordshire, UK, 2022.

I wanted to do a rug that reflected how I felt about the stress I felt the country was under.

Lockdown Pomegranates and Figs

Lockdown Pomegranates and Figs

Lockdown Pomegranates and Figs, 32” x 72”, #4- and 6-cut hand-dyed wool on linen. Designed and hooked by Barbara Prentice, Farndish, Bedfordshire, UK, 2022.

Memorial Lanterns

Memorial Lanterns

Designed and hooked by Barbara Prentice


Free tutorials, expert tips, exclusive partner offers, and more straight to your inbox!


I have not made this yet so I cannot rate it.

Include a Photo Include a Photo

Click the button above or drag and drop images onto the button. You can upload two images.

Cancel Reply to Comment

Thanks for your comment. Don't forget to share!


Report Inappropriate Comment

Are you sure you would like to report this comment? It will be flagged for our moderators to take action.

Thank you for taking the time to improve the content on our site.

Sign In to Your Account

Close Window
Sign In with one of your Social Accounts
Facebook Twitter
Sign In using Email and Password