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Sarah Lee Province: Class of 2018

Name: Sarah Lee Province

Location: Silver Spring, Maryland

Tell us a bit about yourself. What are some of your interests and hobbies?
I've been married for fifty-three years and have three daughters and eight grandchildren. My husband and I have collected antiques since our honeymoon and were weekend dealers since the early 1970s. He started restoring player pianos and reed organs when his mother gave us her 1923 Foster Player. A restored 1850s rosewood Melodeon in our first antique show got us started.

My contributions were English transferware, quilts, hooked rugs, etc. I like all fiber arts and have dabbled in oil, watercolor, and drawing since childhood.

How did you get introduced to rug hooking?
My mother learned to hook rugs in the Home Extension Service in Virginia and made many of the rugs for our home. When my husband and I began to furnish our home with antiques, I thought that what we needed was hooked rugs. Since she lived in North Carolina and we were in Maryland, I began to look for a teacher.

What was your first project?
My first teacher was Inez Fowler of Kensington, Maryland who had studied under Pearl McGown. Someone had given my mother-in-law a rug pattern on burlap, so she asked me to help her with it. She ended up giving it to me, so I asked Inez to help me get started. She color-planned it for me and taught me the basics of hooking roses and scrolls and how to shade and choose the colors. During the ten years that I worked on it, I had twin girls and a "singleton" who loved to sit in my bag of scraps!

Is there one rug that stands out as being particularly memorable?
One rug that I particularly enjoyed making was of the carousel at Santa Monica, CA. My daughter had moved there with her family. The Pier was one of our favorite places to take the grandchildren, and my focus was on the beautifully restored carousel. I took a lot of pictures of it, so I was ready to start my hooking when I came home. I have been attending "Rugs by the Sea" at Cape May, NJ, for many years so signed up for Abby Vakay's class about using unusual materials. That was a perfect subject for this project: I used sequins and beads for the lights, ribbon for the mirrors, silks and velour for the colorful horses, and yarns and various fabrics for the shiny parts. One of my best memories of the class is that many of the group had all kinds of items, and they shared them so generously with me. In the picture that I selected, I'm holding my granddaughter, Rosalie, on the horse for Rosalie's Carousel Ride.

Is there a particular style of rugs that you're most interested in hooking?
I usually use fine cuts to get details in my pictorials and portraits but also still hook rugs with wider cuts (up to #6). I also like to design and hook florals and geometric patterned rugs. For several years, I designed and hooked my own purse patterns with various adornments, both antique and contemporary, and sold many of my originals.

What's your favorite part about hooking a rug?
When designing, I make a color pencil or watercolor rendition to see the balance of color and elements. Then the fun begins with the challenge of finding just the right shades and values of wool. I have quite a stash of small and large gems of hand-dyed pieces that have come from many wool-dyers and teachers in my fifty years of hooking!

What's a piece of advice you'd give to a new rug hooker?
To do it if you love it! Try it, but if you don't like it, do something else! I'm disappointed to hear complaints about "I need to get this done..." or "I have to finish this..." or "I don't like this design..." or "these are not my colors..." I would suggest then that you put it away and start something else! Don't waste your time on something you don't love or like to do! If you love it, nothing will keep you from it!

What do you love most about Celebration?
It's a great opportunity for rug hookers to share their work. Perhaps someone who doesn't know about rug hooking will see it and be drawn to it! Celebration also provides for us a critique by well-qualified judges. I personally think of it as a discipline for myself to enter one of my hookings each year into the competition. I'm amazed how each year, the entries are better and better!

Victorian Houses, Celebration II

Victorian Houses, Celebration II

"Victorian Houses was one of my first original designs and pictorials. I had just met and begun taking classes with Roslyn Logsdon at the Montpelier Cultural Arts Center in..." Read more.

Great-Grandma and Grandpa Jones, Celebration III

Great-Grandma and Grandpa Jones, Celebration III

"This portrait of my father’s grandparents seemed to go quickly and easily, as I remember it, because it was so much fun to hook. My father had recently had a stroke and could not..." Read more.

Willow Oaks Farm, Celebration IV

Willow Oaks Farm, Celebration IV

"Willow Oaks Farm was a labor of love to hook for my mother who grew up there and thrived on my grandfather’s dairy farm in Henrico County, Virginia, just outside the city limits of..." Read more.

In a Virginia Garden, Celebration V

In a Virginia Garden, Celebration V

"I was so delighted to find this picture of my paternal grandmother as a young woman in a swing, wearing a lovely summer dress with blue (guessing) ribbon running though the..." Read more.

Home in Springtime, Celebration IX

Home in Springtime, Celebration IX

"The unique characteristics of our house, built in 1935, with its combination of stone and brick exterior and Vermont slate roof, drew me to attempt to design and hook it. We live in..." Read more.

John J. Province, Jr., Celebration X

John J. Province, Jr., Celebration X

"I found this charming photograph of my husband’s only brother in his mother’s things. He was almost fifteen years older than my husband, so the scene is typical of the 1920s. I loved the wicker settee and the wooden toy horse, as..." Read more.

All These Things, Celebration XIII

All These Things, Celebration XIII

"This little 'Instamatic' photograph of our three daughters on the beach at Squirrel Island, Maine, was one that I knew that I would hook someday. When Mason-Dixon Chapter, ATHA, sponsored..." Read more.

Homecoming at Fairfield Church, Celebration XIV

Homecoming at Fairfield Church, Celebration XIV

"I found photographs in my mother’s things of the church near Richmond, Virginia, where we grew up. My sister recalls that we walked down Mechanicsville Turnpike to church on Sundays since..." Read more.

Rosalie's Carousel Ride, Celebration XVI

Rosalie's Carousel Ride, Celebration XVI

"When my daughter moved to Santa Monica, California, for 16 months, we were delighted to visit often. One of our favorite places was the famous Pier with its historic Carousel. It has been..." Read more.

Silver Spring Train Station, c. 1911, Celebration XVII

Silver Spring Train Station, c. 1911, Celebration XVII

"I found this picture in a calendar of historic sites in Silver Spring. The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad built these lovely brick and slate stations at the turn of the century. Ours was..." Read more.

Monterey Organ Grinder, Celebration XIX

Monterey Organ Grinder, Celebration XIX

"The Monterey Bay is another of our favorite spots to visit in California. We had seen the Organ Grinder and his monkey on several trips to the Fisherman’s Wharf there. This time he had..." Read more.

Silver Spring Marketplace Triptych, Celebration XXV

Silver Spring Marketplace Triptych, Celebration XXV

Silver Spring, Maryland, where Sarah Province and her husband have lived for 50 years, has a downtown plaza that features, among other things, a year-round farmers' market on Saturday mornings. "In 2011, on a sunny September morning... Read more.

Dick and Francie, Celebration 26

Dick and Francie, Celebration 26

Ann Sale is my first cousin, Dick is her husband, and Francie is their dog. Ann and I grew up together in Richmond, Virginia. We have always been close in spirit if not in where we lived. We have kept in touch through all the years since our... Read more.

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