Rug crafters converge in OC

(April 10, 2015) Maryland Shores Rug Hooking School returns to the Dunes Manor Hotel on 28th Street and Baltimore Ave. this Sunday for a weeklong series of classes, April 12-17.

More than 90 rug crafters, from beginners to experts, will take part in seven classes, which is limited to 14 people participating in each, said Pam Johnson, director of the school.

This year, the school was filled within two weeks of opening registration. In 2014, it took just 30 days.

The school has grown in popularity since its inception 22 years ago, Johnson said.

“It was crazy and I couldn’t believe it,” she said. “I was making a waiting list less than two weeks into registration. Things happen and we always get a couple cancellations.”

As of Tuesday morning, two people had cancelled and Johnson is looking to fill their spots. Call the Dunes Manor Hotel at 410-289-1100 to sign up. The cost is $200 for the school with additional costs for commuter fees, hotel and food packages.

For those not familiar with the art form of rug hooking, a hand hook is used to pull loops of fabric through different types of backing such as cotton, wool or a burlap sack. The material can be dyed any color, cut thinner for more detail or take on a primitive pattern, Johnson said.

“Skill is put into these pieces and they truly are artwork,” she added.

Seven teachers, all Pearl K. McGown Rug Hooking School certified, will be on hand to help dye patterns, teach different styles of rug hooking and aid attendees on how to make intricate designs such as flowers or animals.

There will be a Rug Show display on Thursday, April 16 from 12-7 p.m. at the hotel to appreciate completed pieces made by rug hookers throughout the year, and admission is free.

There will be 168 pieces featured in the show with exhibits ranging from primitive to portrait including handcrafted rugs, wall hangings and a handbag.

“You never quite know what you’re going to get,” Johnson said.

Working at Dunes Manor Hotel first introduced Johnson to rug hooking 16 years ago and she has been certified for seven. Rug hooking was started hundreds of years ago when people would take seed sacks and old clothing to hook, she said.

These days, four participants are bringing their husbands to Ocean City to partake in events the town has to offer including golfing and fishing, while their wives are constructing patterns, Johnson said.

Classes will begin at 9 a.m. each day with a break at 11:30 p.m. for lunch. Afternoon classes run from 1-3 p.m. with tea rounding out each day at 3 p.m. Students will eat dinner at the hotel each night at 6 p.m.

For more information, contact Johnson at 410-251-2888 or email lpt219@comcast.net.

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