Life Stories

Reader's Gallery: the hooked rug art of Sharon Townsend

By: Annne-Marie Littenberg

Everglade, 44" x 55", yarn and #8-cut hand-dyed wool on linen.  Designed and hooked by Sharon Townsend, Altoona, Iowa, and Marathon, Florida, 2008.

Sharon Townsend uses her hooked rug designs to depict her intimate feelings and everyday experiences. Family events, personal reactions to the news of the world, and memories of moments from childhood are among the themes reflected in the design and the execution of her rugs and mats.
Sharon's first attempt at rug hooking happened in 1986 and involved Pearl McGown's pattern, In the Meadows, which she tried with a #3 cut. Sharon said that she had no cutter or proper rug hooking frame (she was working with a quilting frame) and the #3 cut proved daunting. She was particularly challenged by working with eight values in such fine cuts. When she looked at cut strips of wool, she had a difficult time seeing the variations in value, so distinguishing between her unhooked strips of cut wool was a challenge. She also did not have the patience for working with small strips and loops. Sharon never finished that piece, but she loved the overall experience. Her teacher was Nancy Elliott at Living History Farms in Urbandale, Iowa.

This article is from the January/February 2011 issue. For more information on our issues, check out our issues page.


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