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Punch Needle Artist: Camille Labarre

By: Editors of Rug Hooking Magazine

Welcome to Rug Hooking magazine's featured arists series! In honor of international punch needle day, we celebrated by asking some talented punch needle artists to share their experiences with this delightful fiber art: punch needle rug hooking. Check out our exclusive interview with Camille Labarre below. 

About the Artist

I'm Camille Labarre, a freelance fabricator and designer from NYC. I specialize in props and puppets for film, animation, and theater.

My job is to figure out how to make anything!

Whether you're interested in commissioning work or just curious, I am always happy to hear from you. Enjoy!

Important Links
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Q&A: Let's Meet Camille

Q: How did you get started with punch needle?

A: I have always dabbled in crafts of all kinds, but my journey towards punch needle embroidery started with a portrait I made using a rug hooking technique involving pulling up strips of fabric and leather through burlap using a crochet hook. I then opted for punch needle because it is both faster and allows for more detail. I would love to revisit rug hooking in the future.

Q: What are the steps you go through when planning a design?

A: I enjoy the process of making more than the planning, so I typically don’t give the composition too much thought. As long as I can find a half-decent reference photo, I’m good to go. For instance, the double portrait below is a combination of 4 reference photos and a lot of it was made up as I went along.

Q: How do you combat creative blocks?

A: Get to work! Busy hands free up any block for me. But it’s also important to know when to step back, slow down, and allow yourself to think. I find it useful to have several projects going at once.

Q: What do you love most about what you do?

A: The process of doing, problem solving, and thinking. Makers are great at introspecting, and that’s because they give themselves the time to be alone with their thoughts. That quality is becoming increasingly rare in our cultural context, but I think it’s a really important part of getting to know yourself.

Q: Why should people continue to make things by hand?

A: Practical skills are seriously undervalued, but a fundamental part of what makes us human. I find maintaining some degree of self-sufficiency very comforting. 

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