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Kathleen Harwood: Class of 2018

Name: Kathleen Harwood

Location: South Hadley, Massachusetts

Tell us a bit about yourself. What are some of your interests and hobbies?
Art and the art world have been my profession & love for my entire life. My family occupies a big space, as do my dogs & my garden. Rug hooking keeps me centered & sane, & allows for the creative part of my soul to be satisfied. I have wonderful friends, love to travel, walk, read, go to the movies & cook, & am trying to devote an increasing amount of time to social/charitable/philanthropic causes & being a better citizen of the world.

How did you get introduced to rug hooking?
I've had my hands in fiber since I was a child; my mother was a wonderful knitter & crochet-er & also taught me to do needlepoint, to embroider, & to quilt. But there was no rug hooking tradition in my family. I was attracted to antique hooked rugs; long before I had the time, I told my husband that it was my ambition to learn to make hooked rugs & he began to give me books. In 2002 when we moved to a new community, I decided that it would be a great way to meet new people, so I sought out a rug hooking community. Lucky me, it was with Nancy McClennen & Claire DeRoos in the Binghamton, NY area, & I learned from the best.

What was your first project?
Claire handed me a traditional arched "Welcome" rug pattern with roses, a hook, & some wool, & I plunged in. Compared to the needlepoint project I had been working on it seemed enormously clumsy at first, but I soon got the hang of it & finished that rug. It's nothing I would make today, but it's on the floor in my studio where I see it every day; Claire encouraged me to "unhook" & redo the really awkward areas, but I stubbornly refused so that I will always be able to recall how far I have come.

Is there one rug that stands out as being particularly memorable?
I love the Diamond in the Square & the Feather rugs. They both represented interesting challenges & were very satisfying to design & hook. But having singled those out, I immediately think about Kai's Jack which was totally different, & how much I enjoyed making October Log Cabin. So I guess the answer is "not really."

Is there a particular style of rugs that you're most interested in hooking?
I gravitate to geometrics without always even realizing it. I'm fascinated by quilts & many of my most successful rugs have been based upon quilt patterns. I love highly graphic designs. But I'm interested in many other things; I like rugs with words on them, rugs that contain signs & symbols, or tell a story, & rugs that are highly personal (even if it's not obvious) as opposed to generic designs. Color is a guiding factor, & I'm increasingly drawn to abstraction.

What's your favorite part about hooking a rug?
Starting & finishing

What's a piece of advice you'd give to a new rug hooker?
Follow your instincts; believe that you are creative even if you think you aren't; don't be afraid of color; plan to make a big rug someday; try to find at least a few minutes to hook every day;

What do you love most about Celebration?
Seeing the amazing variety of creativity & talent in the rug hooking world

Diamond in the Square, Celebration XX

Diamond in the Square, Celebration XX

"The biggest rug I've made, and so satisfying. It's probably the only one I don't think I could part with because of the memories associated with it; the golden dogs were..." Read more.

Feather Hearth Rug, Celebration XXI

Feather Hearth Rug, Celebration XXI

"This rug followed Diamond in the Square; I was (and remain) obsessed by American quilt designs. I had no idea what the palette would be when I began, but it seemed to fall..." Read more.

The Alice Rug, Celebration XXIII

The Alice Rug, Celebration XXIII

"I needed a project for a workshop and doodled the geometric center of this rug on a beach in Florida. I have a fondness for black cats (Alice was a special one, a bold kitten who..." Read more.

Kai's Jack, Celebration XXV

Kai's Jack, Celebration XXV

"My oldest grandson, Kai, has been fascinated by cards and card tricks since he was young (he's 18 now). Having decided to make a rug for each of my grandchildren, I asked..." Read more.

October Log Cabin, Celebration 27

October Log Cabin, Celebration 27

"I continue to be fascinated by quilt patterns and especially the endless variations on the log cabin theme. I also find the layering of images extremely interesting. This is a simple..." Read more.

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