About Gail Dufresne

I have been making rugs since August 1984. My mother, Doris LaPlante, and my sister, Yvonne Wood, began making rugs when I was 14, so I grew up surrounded with rugs and rug makers.

My work has been featured in numerous fiber art shows and contests over the years. I have had several rugs selected for Rug Hooking Magazine's annual "Celebrations" contest. My "Lizards and gail dufresne studioLadders" game board, which appeared in Celebrations XII, was featured in the magazine "Piecework" and was also part of an exhibit at the Wadsworth Athenaeum in Hartford, Connecticut. Both that piece and my "Goat Hill" goat design were part of an exhibit at the Textile Center of Minnesota. My large proddy sunflower rug was chosen for one of the Newtown Hooked Art Show's annual contest.

I was part of Linda Rae Coughlin's "Art of Playing Cards" project. I designed and hooked the Ace of Hearts.

I was the featured teacher and artist at Sauder Village in 2004. After having received a Folk Arts Apprenticeship grant from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, my work was included in the Culture In Context exhibit at the New Jersey State Museum.

I regularly contribute to Rug Hooking Magazine and am a member of its editorial board. I have twice judged the magazine's Celebrations contest and my work has appeared on the cover of the magazine several times. I wrote the dye section of Elizabeth Black's book, "Hooked On The Wild Side", published by Rug Hooking Magazine in 2004, and I wrote the book "Geometric Hooked Rugs", also published by Rug Hooking Magazine in 2010. See the store page for ordering info.

I am a McGown certified teacher and have been teaching at camps and private workshops around the United States and Canada since April 2000. I also had the opportunity to teach in England.

I have taught specific classes for beginners, as well as classes on inch mats, sheep, sunflowers, sculpting, proddy, mixed media, optical illusions, dyeing, geometrics, and abstraction. I most often teach open classes where anything goes, and I find them to be the most challenging and fun and keep me hopping.

I co-wrote a "Teach The Teachers" course with Cynthia Norwood, which we presented at the 2011 ATHA biennial in Lancaster, PA.

I am the President of ATHA (Association of Traditional Hooking Artists) and in that capacity work with a great team to promote the art of rug hooking. I think it is important to give back to the art form.

My work has been selected several times for inclusion in the annual juried contest "Pushing The Limits" sponsored by the Newtown Hooked Art Show: newtownhookedartshows.com.

HOW MY WORK EVOLVED

I began as predominately a fine hooker. I think of that as having been classically trained, and while I love the detail that can be achieved by working in narrow cuts I also love wider cuts.

My work has made me look at the world in a way I have never done before as I began to really see and study my surroundings. I try to analyze what draws me to a particular object or color way, and I try to imagine how I could work it into a rug design. I slowly began to put my own color spin on my work, using a palette and intensity that reflected my own color preferences.

I like to work in bold, bright, innovative colors. I most like to play with color, and I find geometric, or abstract designs, to be well suited to color play.

I like to be different!

I started to look outside the rug hooking world to familiarize myself with other fiber artists who use the colors I prefer, such as Freddy Moran, Kaffe Fassett and Yvonne Porcella. Much later I became interested in and began to study the work of several twentieth century abstract artists such as Kandinsky and Vasaerly.

I love textures as they enhance and give a depth that cannot be achieved with solid wool. I love to use unusual materials such as boucle, velvet, angora, mohair, and all sorts of yarns and ribbon. I like to use unusual techniques such as prodding and sculpting, to achieve a three dimensional effect.

PHILOSOPHY OF TEACHING

I am committed to helping my students realize their own potential and vision. I do not like to tell them what to do but rather I like to help them achieve the results they themselves desire. Teaching is Gail DuFresnenot about me or trying to make my students' rugs look like MY rugs! The further from my own color choices a student prefers the more I myself am challenged. This is one way I grow, and my own work is enhanced by working with those that do not share my color preferences.

My approach to teaching is free wheeling and high energy. My goal is to try to loosen up students so that they are not so uptight and tentative. My specialty is dyeing and I like to teach it in the same way I do everything else. It all should be FUN! I dye by eye and teach others to do the same. Some of my very favorite dyeing and favorite things to do is to paint skies by hand.

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