Our February Featured Maker
This workshop is brought to you by artist Arounna Khounnoraj of Bookhou. With this workshop and curated box of tools & materials, we are excited to dive into the unique technique of rug hooking (or needle punching) to create beautiful pieces of art for the home.
This special project resurrects (in a more modern fashion) a crafting technique ithat has been practiced for several hundred years. Utilizing a specialized fabric stretched across a frame as well as a heathered wool blend yarn + handmade wooden 'punch' tool, we're going to get creative in February!
Rug hooking’s history is complex. It is thought to have first been founded in the early 19th century when floor coverings became popular. When one couldn’t afford an elaborately woven floor rug from a mill, a mat could be made using the wool mill scraps (unusable short strips of yarn or wool cloth) by applying the hooking technique of ‘punching’ the wool through a backing. Some suggest that variations of the technique go back even as far as the Vikings. We are sharing a more modern variation of hooking with the help of a special needle punching tool that was developed by artist Amy Oxford. For this workshop we’ve partnered directly with Amy to bring her unique wooden tool to every kit. Rather than using short pieces of yarn or cloth, Amy’s tool allows for consistent application creating a seamless hooking design. We’re sharing this application process in detail within this workshop.
Arounna uses needle punching to create wall art and home goods through her company and studio. Most recently she has been exploring botanical themes and patterns. Bookhou was cofounded by husband & wife team John Booth and Arounna Khounnoraj in 2002 to showcase their individual and collaborative work. Bookhou itself is a collaboration of the couple’s two last names embracing a similar philosophy to their studio practice. The team runs a multidisciplinary studio in Toronto that emphasizes natural, handmade materials and small production pieces ranging from textiles to fiber arts to furniture. Bookhou has both a brick and mortar shop as well as a strong online presence from which they share their explorations and creations.
Arounna shares with us that the desire to make was instilled from an early age. Her family immigrated to Canada from Laos when she was 4 years old and as far back as Arounna can remember the importance of making was emphasized in everyday life. Perhaps it was instilled by her mother who made everything she needed as a talented seamstress, or perhaps it was her own need to make that drove Arounna to make for a living. Today, after attending several art schools and earning a masters degree in fine art, Arounna concentrates her efforts on continuing her studio practice while also running a small business. She enjoys the wide range of fabric-based work, but also educating, mentoring and the building of a craft community through teaching, events and social media projects.
We can’t wait to see how you are inspired to create using this new technique! Be sure to share with us your process and your projects by tagging @bookhou and using #thecraftersbox. Happy making.