The Hooker’s Book Club: Hooked on Handwork by Kathleen Eckhaus

A few years ago, Brigitte Webb reached out to me to ask if I’d be interested in contributing to a book on rug hooking inspirations, and I said yes. Kathleen Eckhaus then reached out to me with her idea: she wanted to write a book capturing the many ways that rug hookers find inspiration for designing in their own rugs. I had a few of my rugs in mind based on that prompt, and Kathleen asked me to complete a write up on all three rugs and the inspiration behind them.

Kathleen similarly collaborated with nearly thirty other rug hookers from all over the world to gather examples of the myriad creative ways rug hookers source inspiration. The end result has recently been published, in the form of the book titled Hooked on Handwork: Design a Rug Inspired by Fibers, Textiles, and Handcrafts by Kathleen Eckhaus, presented by Rug Hooking Magazine through Ampry Publishing. The book was published earlier this month, and is now available for purchase.

The front cover of Hooked on Handwork, by Kathleen Eckhaus

I’ve gotten my hands on my copy and I’m delighted by the end result. Kathleen and the other contributors have done a phenomenal job pulling this book together. The book has been broken out into chapters by form of inspiration: knitted and crocheted, pieced quilts, applique, weaving, needlework, other rugs, fabric prints, other handcrafts, and a final chapter titled “Inspiration from the Gambia”, based on a non-profit social enterprise called Rug Aide. My three rugs were included in the Needlework chapter, the Other Handcrafts chapter, and the Fabric Prints chapter. The three rugs that were included from me were my Paisley Rainforest rug, Frank Lloyd Wright Stained Glass rug, and Wycinanka Łowicka rug, which will likely be featured on this blog soon.

If you simply flip through the book to look at the photos of the rugs and the pieces that inspire them, it is incredible to compare, and very nicely done. The book is full of beautiful projects, and is a true wealth of information and inspiration. You can see the cultural influence that is permeating the rug hooking community, which I find inspiring myself. For example, Brigitte’s tartan is incredible and perfectly captures her Scottish heritage. I have loved reading the stories of what has served as inspiration to various rug hookers – from family heirlooms, to ancient traditions, to brand new purchases. How people build from these sources to create new pieces of art that are decorative and/or utilitarian has been hugely inspiring to me.

I highly recommend people read through this book and use it as inspiration for their own creative growth. It’s a job well done, and I’m honored to have been a part of this project. I would love to meet with all the other contributors in one room and talk through everything that they have written.

You can purchase the book through Rug Hooking magazine, and you might also be able to ask your local library to purchase it on behalf of you and other patrons who might enjoy it as well.

4 thoughts on “The Hooker’s Book Club: Hooked on Handwork by Kathleen Eckhaus

  1. Thanks for the recommendation. I had declined the book club mailing, but with your information I’ll be buying it. Where do you find the shimmer wool? I use shimmery fabric frequently, but haven’t found any with the weight of wool. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Mary! You can purchase the shimmer wool online from Fluff and Peachy Bean Designs, they have the best variety that I had produced. I no longer make the shimmer wool, only metallic wools.

      Liked by 1 person

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