Punch Needle Artist: Rebecca Martin
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 Rebecca Martin of StoryTeller Wool below.
About StoryTeller Wool
Once upon a time two fiber artists found each other in the shadows of the Rocky Mountains. Their mutual love of punch needle rug hooking and all things wool led to the creative collaboration of StoryTeller Wool.
Teaching others how to tell their stories with punch needle rug hooking has become a passion and they teach sold out classes across Northern Colorado. Cheri and Rebecca are Oxford Certified Punch Needle Rug Hooking Instructors. Seeing how important a good foundation in the basics has been to the enjoyment of their local customers, they have created Class in the Box offerings so that anyone, anywhere can learn punch needle rug hooking!
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Q&A: Let's Meet Rebecca
Q: How did you get started with punch needle?
A: As a teenager, nannying for a family in Nantucket, I saw punch needle rugs for the first time. I fell in love with them and rug hooking was added to my, "I want to learn someday" list. Years went by, college, marriage, career, kids and then one day a punch needle rug hooking class was offered at my local yarn shop. I knew from the moment I picked up the Oxford needle that I had found my new passion.
Q: What are the steps you go through when planning a design?
A: The design process is a very long process for me. I start with an inspiration piece. It may be a color, shape, piece of fabric, a memory ... or the strangest one yet - a tee shirt on a sitcom. I then sketch the design in doodle form on the closest piece of paper. Later, after the design has had time to percolate in my brain, I will draw it larger, closer to the scale of what I want the finished piece to look like. The longest part of the process is color planning. I have my go-to colors, and it is hard to break away from those. I often go with a gut feel for my colors, but will use a color wheel when I am venturing away from my usual palette.
Q: How long have you been practicing your craft? What training have you had or are you self-taught?
A: I have been working in the fiber arts since childhood. Needlepoint and quilting were my first passions. Rug hooking, both punch and traditional came in adulthood. I am an Oxford Certified Instructor, and I am currently working through my McGown teacher training.
I have been working in the fiber arts since childhood. Needlepoint and quilting were my first passions. Rug hooking, both punch and traditional came in adulthood. I am an Oxford Certified Instructor, and I am currently working through my McGown teacher training.
Q: What is your top-selling item? Why do you think it is so popular?
A: My top selling item is the Princess Bride multi pack of hand dyed rug yarn. All of our yarns have book names, and if you have only seen the movie - please treat yourself and read the Princess Bride book, it is a delight. I think this pack of yarn is so popular, because the colors are currently on trend, but classic enough to endure. The colors came about when a friend asked me to put together a group of colors for a class she was thinking of teaching.
Q: Any tips or advice to share?
A: My number one tip for punch needle rug hooking is to pay attention to contrast. Fiber absorbs color in a way a 2-dimensional piece will not. You will always need more contrast than you think you will for the elements of your design to stand out. Never be afraid to pull out a color and try again. Even years into this art form, I find myself switching out colors all the time.