An Introduction to Rug Hooking, by Prairie Alphabet Artist Shelly Nicolle-Phillips

27 September 2023

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Meet Shelly Nicolle-Phillips and see her fabulous Prairie Alphabet project here.

Finding a way to simultaneously express your creativity and bring some peace and calm into your life sounds like a dream come true, doesn’t it? Well,  I’m thrilled to introduce you to the wonderful world of rug hooking!

Rug hooking is a rug-making technique that involves pulling loops of yarn or fabric through a woven base such as burlap or linen. Hooking fabric in this way is a very ancient practice but I won’t get into the history of it here—I just want to get you hooked on hooking! It’s different from rug tufting and much slower; it’s often confused with latch hooking, but it’s not that either. In rug hooking, there is no tying or knotting, and there is just one stitch that you need to learn.

All images by Shelly Nicole Phillips.

Copyright © Shelly Nicolle-Phillips except as indicated.
image description: a white woman sits at a table, she is smiling directly at the camera; on the table, there is a rug hooking project, and there is a shelf unit behind her, which holds yarn and fabric.

About Shelly Nicolle-Phillips

ARTIST BIO Shelly is a transplanted Maritimer who has been living in and learning about her Prairie home since she arrived in Regina in 2002. She first picked up a hook in 2015 while visiting her home province of PEI. While she is self taught, genetics may also be an influence as her paternal grandmother was also a rug hooker and hooked beautiful traditional rugs to keep their Island farmhouse floors warm. Drawing on the traditional rug hooking technique from her Island heritage in a unique way, Shelly uses the texture and colours of natural fibres to explore this prairie landscape which has been so foreign to her. While the prairie landscape is a strong influence at this point in her art journey, any landscapes she finds herself in serve as creative inspiration and often souvenirs of time spent elsewhere.

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