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Rug School Information

Guild’s 22nd Rug Hooking School

We currently have several openings-Contact Debbie Walsh or Lydia Brenner to sign up. New Venue For School St. Anna Greek Orthodox Church 85 Voorhees Corner Rd. Flemington, NJ 08822 The website for the new place is: Check it out!

The Hunterdon County Rug Artisans Guild has once again generated excitement by inviting highly regarded and sought after teachers to join us at our 2018 Rug Hooking School. Instructors Carrie Martin and Ali Strebel are returning by popular request, and new to our school are Sharon Smith and Pris Buttler. Rug School will begin on Monday August 6, 2018 and run to Friday August 10, 2018.

*** We currently have an opening in Pris Butler’s class-Contact Debbie Walsh or Lydia Brenner to sign up. ***

The fee is $200 for those who are Guild members as of our November 2017 meeting date (November 10, 2017). A registration deposit of $100 is required; $50 is non-refundable. Non-members (fee $275) can register if there are any openings after January 1, 2018. If someone joins the Guild between November 10, 2017 and January 1, 2018, they will be able to register before January 1, 2018 but will have to pay the $275 fee. Click here for the registration form!!

Registration forms and deposits will be accepted beginning October 13, 2017 which is the day of our October meeting. They can also be mailed to: Debbie Walsh, 51 Spruce St., Cranford, NJ 07016. Forms will simply be collected – no class list established. If a class goes over the maximum number of students, we will take all registration forms for that class that have arrived by November 1, 2017 (no matter how they are received) and use a lottery system to choose the members that get into that class and to determine the order on the wait list. Note that priority will be given to those who were Guild members before April 1, 2017. New members (those who joined the Guild on or after April 1, 2017) will be placed at the end of the wait list if one is needed.

The following information is being provided so that members not familiar with the instructors can get to know them.

Pris Buttler
Pris Buttler is a professional oil painter as well as a rug hooking artist. She has been featured in RHM and Celebrations, Jesse Turbayne’s book Rug Hookers from the Deep South as well as an upcoming book by Tamara Pavich (to be released during this next year, she believes). Her work is in the Tarot Card traveling show that is currently circulating through the U.S., and she currently has 2 rugs on display at the Ker Museum in Onancock, VA

Pris Buttler - Georgia O'keeffe
Pris is a fine artist and approaches rug hooking with these skills. She has designed workshops around Gustav Klimt, John Nieto of NM, Thomas Hart Benton, Georgia O’Keeffe and illustrator David Galchutt. Dyeing is a tool she has mastered, again from her painting experiences, and she has created a line of dye recipes, currently with 3 dye books on the market. She has also written Easy Lettering Tips for the Rug Hooker and Basic Design Techniques for the Rug Hooker

Pris Buttler - Tarot Card
For this workshop, Pris is holding an open class but students may designate if they would like one of her designs or even design their own pattern, one of her specialties. Students may also bring any other pattern of their choice. Pris gives a lot of leeway to what can be accomplished, before the workshop, each student will be in contact with Pris to talk about their project. Anything goes. Pris encourages students to bring their own wools if they want and she will also supply wools for sale.

Pris Buttler - QE1 mat
Pris and her daughter Christy Fultz run Black Bear Rug Camp at Unicoi State Park Lodge in Helen, GA. and their website is

Carrie Martin
My start with hooked rugs:
Hooked rugs have been a part of my life since I was volunteering for the Humane Society in the 1970’s when a hooked rug came in as a donation. I purchased it and there began my love for rug hooking. Searching, using and repairing vintage hooked rugs became part of my life. Weekends were spent haunting thrift shops, flea markets and garage sales with an eye out for hooked rugs.

Coffee - designed by Carrie Martin
After moving to Louisiana and not finding hooked rugs in resale and antique shops I decided that I would have to make my own. To the library I went and found a book on rug hooking with the most wonderful resource section in the rear of the book. Within weeks I was working on my first rug, receiving Rug Hooking Magazine and a Bliss cutter was on it way. As we all say I was HOOKED.

The Old Home Place - hooked by Carrie
My first rug Camp was “Castle in the Clouds” directed by Ramona Madox. My first camp instructor and one of my greatest influences was Sharon Townsend, a friendship that I have valued ever since. If you have never been to a rug school, it is an experience not to be missed since you learn so much from your instructor and other students, seeing the colorful breadth of what they have created. Inspirations flow freely and you leave with a renewed sense of creativity. Many friendships have developed through this hobby.

Live Oak Society - hooked by Carrie
Consequences of rug hooking:
Catching the rug bug is easy and can be spread by sitting in a meeting, Drs. Office or at an outdoor concert and working on a project. Once caught it is difficult to cure the lure this craft holds. It first starts with collecting a “stash “ of wool in many colors, textures from yardage to tiny scraps bursting out of drawers, closets and even sometimes stored in unused showers. Next thing you know you have others who are infected coming to your home or meeting in churches, libraries and at times even dental offices to commune in rug hooking. I don't mean to alarm those of you reading this as there is a cure: just venture out as often as you can to Hook-ins, rug hooking workshops, and suppress the symptoms by purchasing a little wool, a pattern, a hook and be inspired by what you can create.

Carrie counsels and aids those with this addiction at camps, private workshops so if you suspect you have the condition this is the class for you.

My classes are open, meaning you may bring any pattern of your choosing it may be one of mine, yours or any designer. I always bring plenty of wool. We will have lessons daily. My goal it to instill the confidence in you to design and color plan your own hooked pieces.

Carrie’s website is

Sharon Smith
Just a little introduction:
I have a background in graphic design, working in the flat world of print design, versus drawing or painting. The emphasis in the field is on placement of objects: shaping a page with space, typography, and imagery; using dark color and light space for pleasing contrast; and balancing all of the elements in this one piece. In other words, it’s all about design. With this graphic background, my attention is not on perspective in drawing, (from close range to middle distance, to horizon), nor is it about shading for a shadowy effect. It’s about primitive or “naïve” art, along the line of Impressionism.
Sharon Smith - Artsy Runner – Celebrations 2017 winner

In teaching, I do mini-lectures, mini demonstrations, and mini show and tell. I allow one-on-one time to each student equally, spending many interactions with each individual over the course of the days. I try to answer all questions and offer help. My specialty is color, color, color—and making them work together.

Sharon Smith - "Treehouse" my dreamhouse

I think my style began with what I call a contemporary primitive—rugs with a flourish of dynamic color and a feeling of whimsy. In my designs, I have evolved into a “roguish” method of hooking, using a full range of various textiles to create a painterly or impressionistic look. The painterly style is what I will be focusing on in class. This means: I do bring a mini-store with tons of hand-dyed wool and just about any kind of textile you can think of. And my patterns. And some of my hand-made textile items. We won’t run out of stuff. I bring some of my recent projects to class as they help me explain my use of color, work on backgrounds, and my “painterly” style of hooking.

Please visit my website at and see my work.

Thank you.

Ali Strebel
Ali has been teaching fiber arts nationally and internationally since 1986. Her business, Ali Strebel Designs for Kindred Spirits is located in Dayton, Ohio where she sells her line of books and patterns she has published as well as hand dyed wool, yarn, roving and other fiber art supplies. Her work has been featured in Rug Hooking Magazine, Wool St. Journal, and numerous other publications. She specializes in incorporating different techniques and fibers into her work and teaches others, inspiring them to do the same.
Ali Strebel

Ali Strebel

Ali Strebel
Ali will have an open class, teaching different techniques and the use of different materials.

More of Ali’s work can be seen on her Pinterest page
Her website:

Attend Rug School Free

Anyone who volunteers to house a teacher will get to attend rug school for free and will get the teacher of their choice as long as the opportunity still exists in that class. Hosts are asked to provide housing (private room and bath), breakfast, and dinner for the week. Lunch is provided by the Guild. You are not expected to entertain the instructors. They are tired at the end of the day and need time to relax, reflect on the day and prepare for the next day. If you have questions or interest in providing housing for an instructor, or instructors, let Rug School Directors Lydia Brenner or Debbie Walsh know.


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