Artist Profile: Judy Taylor

Artist Judy Taylor makes and sells handmade hooked rugs, books and supplies. She shares her technique and what she offers students.

 

"Crown of Thorns" rug, 36"x 22" Designed and hooked with various types of yarn by Judy Taylor

“Crown of Thorns” rug, 36″x 22″ Designed and hooked with various types of yarn by Judy Taylor

 

ABI:  How did you get started as an artist, and how did it lead to hooking rugs?

JT:  I learned to spin yarn in the early 1990’s and as that yarn began to fill up bags, baskets and boxes, was on the lookout for something to do with it that I enjoyed as much as spinning. I found a Claire Murray shop in Poulsbo, WA, saw the rugs made with yarn, and was hooked. This is a somewhat unheard-of craft on the West Coast, so I began to teach rug hooking to other curious yarn enthusiasts.

 

"Demelza" 24.5" x 39", Designed and hooked with various wool and mohair yarns by Judy Taylor

“Demelza” 24.5″ x 39″, Designed and hooked with various wool and mohair yarns by Judy Taylor

 

Eventually, that led to writing four books and numerous magazine articles on the subject. I’ve learned that this is a very old craft, but it renews itself with each generation, because it is so creative, expressive and versatile. The yarn (or strip) is pulled up in loops from the back to the front using a hand-held hook, creating rugs that are durable, washable and repairable. Many people balk at the idea of putting rugs like these on the floor, but a well-made hand-hooked rug can be passed down and will last many generations.

 

"Dresden Plate" rug, 19.5" x 44" Designed and hooked with T-shirt strips by Judy Taylor

“Dresden Plate” rug, 19.5″ x 44″, Designed and hooked with T-shirt strips by Judy Taylor

 

ABI:  What are the steps in creating one of your rugs?

JT:  I start with a design on paper, to scale for the size of the rug. I transfer the paper design to my linen backing (the most durable and long-lasting backing there is.) I mainly hook with yarn (I have a flock of Jacob Sheep and Angora Goats, so a lot of my yarn comes from their fleece) but I also hook with T-shirt strips and wool strips. It just depends on the project. You never really know what will work until you start hooking.

 

Artist Judy Taylor hooking a rug

Artist Judy Taylor hooking a rug

 

At a certain point, when I’ve made all my decisions about color and design, I like to hook away on the rug without looking at the whole thing. That way, I get that same “ta-daa” feeling that a customer would get, seeing the rug in my booth or on my website. At that point, I may decide to make changes, but I like to see the finished rug before I make any final decisions. Depending on the size and complexity of design, a hand-hooked rug can take anywhere from 30-150 hours from design to completion.

 

The Great Easter Egg Hunt, 30"x38", Custom portrait rug designed and hooked with yarn by Judy Taylor

The Great Easter Egg Hunt, 30″x 38″, Custom portrait rug designed and hooked with yarn by Judy Taylor

 

ABI:  Tell us about your teaching experiences and what you offer.

JT:  I specialize in custom work, designing rugs for people, or even designing rug kits to suit the customer’s taste in color and style. I have dozens of rug patterns and kits on my website, from small ornaments to full-size rugs, plus all the supplies needed to hook, like linen, hooks, yarn, frames, and books.

 

"Forlorn Hope" 23" x 29" Designed and hooked with handspun yarn in natural colors by Judy Taylor

“Forlorn Hope” 23″ x 29″ Designed and hooked with handspun yarn in natural colors by Judy Taylor

 

I do a monthly blog, full of tips and techniques for the rug hooker called Hooking With Yarn. I also specialize in repairing and refurbishing old rugs.

 

 

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