Susie Stephenson started hooking rugs when her mother put a hook in her hand and said, “Try this.” In a week she finished her first rug and started another. Now, she’s been hooking for more than a decade. She recently retired from teaching to hook and write full time.
Today Stephenson mainly hooks without relying on other designs and rules. She designs and hooks her own rugs and is not afraid to take chances on non-traditional fabrics or pulling the loops higher or lower to suit her image of the rug. She believes that, although rug hooking has been around for hundreds of years, today’s collectors will seek out unusual and artistic examples regardless of age.
Each of Stephenson’s designs tells a story—many about beloved animals and pets or the many houses she has lived in or dreams about. One of her favorites shows a large smiling fox in the middle of the rug with chickens in three corners and only a feather in the fourth corner. They have chickens at their farm and a neighborhood fox that occasionally stops by for a snack. She also hooks boats, water scenes, and mermaids, experimenting with colors and textures in the sky and getting the water to look like it’s moving. All of her wool is recycled from garments collected at second-hand shops or clothing discards given to her.
Stephenson recently started teaching classes on primitive rug hooking. She also has been involved in hook-ins around her home state of Maine and has spoken at the Maine State Museum during a “Hook In May.” She lives in Edgecomb with her husband, four children, and a variety of pets and animals.
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Early American Homes
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