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Michele Micarelli: Class of 2018

Updated August 08, 2019

Name: Michele Micarelli

Location: New Haven, Connecticut

Tell us a bit about yourself. What are some of your interests and hobbies?
My greatest love is my family, which is large and eclectic. The events and gatherings are what I look forward to as well as impromptu dinners.

Having been a restauranteur and caterer for 20 years, I love to cook. I also have a big organic garden with vegetables, herbs, and flowers. I am devoted to the ecology. I drive a hybrid car, have solar energy at my home, and do my best to recycle, donate, and be aware of issues.

I make sailors valentines, mosaics, dolls, crochet, and love steam punk.

Tell us a bit about yourself. What are some of your interests and hobbies?
When I was a child there were rugs on the floor that my father had hooked. This was quite odd to me as my six-foot father, an eleven-year Navy Veteran who had been raised on a cotton farm, did not seem the type to rug hook. I learned he contracted tuberculosis while in the Navy, and rug hooking was part of his therapy. He no longer hooked or had any tools or interest, but this really sparked my curiosity. So when I became an adult, I went on a search for rug hooking. I found it to be one of the world's best-kept secrets. It took me ten years to find supplies at Whispering Hill Farm owned by Donna Swanson, and then a teacher, Jean Zook, in Cheshire, Connecticut. She opened up the world of rug hooking to me, and within a couple of years, I was a certified McGown teacher.

What was your first project?
My first project was a McGown rug called Ruthie. It was a fine-cut floral with scrolls, hooked with swatches and tasteful colors. It required lots of instruction.

Is there one rug that stands out as being particularly memorable?
Yes, when I was about 40, one of my cousins on my mother's side started to research our family tree. We had little information as our parents were orphans. She found out we were of Basque decent. I began to read Basque fairy tales and was inspired to design the rug Basque Fairy Tale based on book plates found in the antique books. It brings me back to a time I felt I was beginning to know myself.

Is there a particular style of rugs that you're most interested in hooking?
I am only interested in rugs that have meaning and a story behind them. I love to tell the stories. I love detail, and this takes me to using small cuts or hooking larger rugs if I wish to do a larger cut. I shade and am always aware of contrast for drama.

What's your favorite part about hooking a rug?
I love dying the wool and attempting to see if I can achieve the colors that are in my head. I also relish sitting quietly and hooking, I consider this a reward to myself.

What's a piece of advice you'd give to a new rug hooker?
Hook only what you love—something meaningful. Design your own if you can't find a pattern that speaks to you. The answer to every problem is contrast not color.

What do you love most about Celebration?
What a treat it is to see what is going on in the Rug Hooking world. So much variety. Creativity really seems to be blooming, and it makes me incredibly happy. My biggest thrill is to see someone who has been a student of mine in the mix.

Solitude, Celebration III

Solitude, Celebration III

"This was my third rug. It is a pattern by Jane McGown Flynn. I hooked it for my father who was a country boy. I started this rug at the ATHA Region 1 rug school in Madison, CT. It was my first rug school, and little did I know..." Read more.

The Queen's Juggler, Celebration IV

The Queen's Juggler, Celebration IV

"I started hooking in 1991. I made eight rugs in my first year closely watched by my teacher, Jeanne Zook. The Juggler of Hearts was my first original rug and the first time I dyed all the wool for a rug. Jeanne was traveling in..." Read more.

Basque Fairy Tale, Celebration V

Basque Fairy Tale, Celebration V

"About the time I turned 40, one of my cousins was looking into our family history. We did not know much about the family history as our parents were orphaned at young age. In her research, she traced our family to the Basque..." Read more.

Deep Woods, Celebration IX

Deep Woods, Celebration IX

The rug was featured as an honorable mention in Celebration IX. Read more.

Cotton's House, Celebration XII

Cotton's House, Celebration XII

"In steamy rural Alabama not far from the Sipsey River stands Cotton’s House. It is a tiny, four-room house with four kids, two adults, and lots of animals. The house is in the shade of two pecan trees, and the fields behind are in..." Read more.

Guarding Marina, Celebration XXIII

Guarding Marina, Celebration XXIII

"Yes, I am a water goddess, being raised near the water, swimming every possible moment and navigating the world by the direction of the water. This is Marina, a guardian of the ocean. She is not a weak mermaid but a warrior in..." Read more.

Eagle Nebula, Celebration 29

Eagle Nebula, Celebration 29

"I chose many alternate materials in order to enhance the stars in my rug. Shiny fabric, metallic yarns and many beads were used to achieve the effect of outer space. I chose the colors that were used by the scientists who gave each..." Read more.

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