I have done a bit of traveling already this year...Florida, Texas, Kansas, and I'll be in Tennessee next week. Since I am a one-woman operation, I find myself drawing patterns, dyeing wool and preparing for the "next big thing." Everything else has to wait, including my blog. But many of my friends have encouraged me to write again, so I'm going to try it and do my best. Thanks for the kick in the pants!
Not too long ago, I was talking to another well-respected rug hooking teacher. We have so much in common so sometimes I feel that we are really kindred spirits. We started talking about rug camp etiquette and how something needs to be written about it. I'm going to extend that to just plain "rug hooking" etiquette because I think we can apply it to just about any situation that involves our craft. So over the next few posts, I will discuss some etiquette that I think will be helpful to everyone.
Here's my disclaimer: I am not criticizing, pointing fingers, making fun of or singling out anyone, or otherwise being a bad apple about what I am discussing. These are observations and helpful tips for those of you who go to rug camp or hook with a group. I hope you will find them useful and maybe learn something too. The seasoned rug hooker who goes to a lot of rug camps may already be familiar with this etiquette. The newer rug hooking may find some benefit in my tips. Most of these tips are from my experiences and are my opinions.
Rug hooking workshop in Bryan Texas, 2017
My 2016 class in Cape May, NJ
Do you know what is the #1 complaint that I hear at camp?
Talking too much/talking too loud!
(I'm not talking about me...haha)
This is really difficult subject but it is unpleasant for the other participants when someone talks too much or too loud. Usually we are in a small room and believe me, voices are magnified. When someone is constantly talking, it is hard for the teacher to discuss lesson plans, techniques, etc. Don't get me wrong, it's fun to chatter with your friends....but try to be aware of your volume. Even harder for me is when a student asks me to tell that particular person to stop talking so much...it puts me in a really bad situation that I don't want to be in!
Consider what your teacher specializes in and go with it, learn from it
I am a wide cut/primitive rug hooking teacher. That is my specialty. I teach #8 cuts and above. Sometimes I use small cuts for details but not too often. If you are a fine cut hooker who wants to learn 8-value swatches and shading, you would not be very happy in my class because that is not what I am going to teach you. So when considering a teacher for rug camp, read the class description and choose wisely. You will be much happier if you learn from a teacher who matches your style. If you want to learn something different, that's great...but plan on doing something within that teacher's specialty.
You wouldn't go to a ENT doctor (ear, nose and throat) and ask him to do your pap smear, would you? He probably learned to do it in medical school but you certainly wouldn't enjoy the experience!
Don't color plan your rug before class
I may not be speaking for all rug hooking teachers, but when I teach at a rug camp, I am there to help you with a color plan. We are there together to build a lovely rug for you. I never color plan my whole rug in one sitting and I don't expect to do that for you either. Sometimes, especially with textures, you have to hook a few motifs or elements to begin and then see how the colors are building. We can get some surprises with wools/colors that we thought would work perfectly and once they are put into the rug, they don't work at all.
Take advantage of your teacher's knowledge. Watch as she color plans and see why she picks the colors. If you don't understand, ask questions. Every teacher does things differently. I always say that if I learn one new thing from a class, it was well worth my money.
If you come to camp with a rug that is already color-planned, what is the point? You could have stayed at home and hooked that rug on your own.
That's all for now, but I have lots more to say...so we will save it for the next post!