Arts & Leisure

Cornwall expert reveals secrets of rug hooking

Cornwall resident Amy Oxford, the inventor of The Oxford Punch Needle and founder of The Oxford Rug Hooking School, released a new book this week. “Punch Needle Rug Hooking — Your Complete Resource to Learn & Love the Craft,” published by Schiffer Publishing, offers readers savvy new tips and tricks to make their punch needle projects come to life, and is great for novices and advanced punchers alike. 
Oxford also includes a history of the craft, pictures of works by today’s experts, interviews with top makers and more. Oxford has an immense love for this craft and has been teaching punch needle rug hooking for over 30 years. Her expertise is world renowned. 
“This book was a real group effort by our team at The Oxford Rug Hooking School,” she said. “Cotey Gallagher designed the projects, drew the illustrations and made samples, Christy Lombardo dyed the yarns, and Heidi Whipple punched samples and helped with a wide variety of other details. David Stankoski, who normally assembles and inspects our punch needles, did all the photography. The endeavor took over a year.”
Oxford recently elaborated on her new book:
Is this your first book? If not, what are your other books?
This is my sixth book. My first book came out in 2002 and was a first edition of this new book. The other five books were catalogues of The Green Mountain Rug Hooking Guild’s exhibitions at Shelburne Museum. When guild members found out I was doing a book about the show in 2004, they went all out. We usually had 300-400 rugs in the show but that year we had 620. In 2006, we had 920 so the book was printed in two volumes. It was quite overwhelming and made the show incredibly crowded. In 2008, we made the book a “secret book” and didn’t tell guild members about it until they checked in their rugs. This made the book and the exhibit much more manageable.
Why did you write “Punch Needle Rug Hooking — Your Complete Resource to Learn & Love the Craft”? 
After my punch needle went viral on Instagram, my publisher asked me to do an updated version of my first book. I was excited to have a chance to write a fresh and more relevant book for the new generation of makers who’ve discovered the craft on social media. I also hoped it would be helpful and inspiring to more experienced rug makers. I’ve learned a lot since the first edition and was delighted to share it.
The new rug punchers today are doing innovative and experimental creative work that’s completely out of the box. If you know the basic rules and why they’re important (for example, you don’t want your rug to unravel…) you can do anything and go on to break the rules, make up your own, and focus more on creating art than how to use your tool.
What makes this book unique?
Most of the recent punch needle rug hooking books are “project books” with some great examples of things you can make but they don’t give a lot of information on how to actually make them. I wanted to write a book that would clearly explain technique and all the stages — from design inception to how to finish a piece. There are three projects that teach in a step-by step fashion with lots of “how to” photos as a guide. The first project is designed for beginners (but also fun for experienced craftspeople) and teaches all the basics. The other two go on to teach more advanced techniques and the finer points needed to do more detailed work. Unlike other books, this one discusses the history of the craft, has interviews with two of the most famous punch needle rug hookers, and features photos of rugs made by many different artists.
The book is available at your local bookstores and online. Visit amyoxford.com or call 802-462-2011 for more info.  

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