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Jen Manuell Retreat 
Marrakech Express

Jen Manuell

Jen Manuell
Emsdale, Ontario, Canada

“Marrakech Express”

4 Day Retreat:  Tuesday – Friday, August 15 – 18, 2017
9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
$350.00 / Sauder Village Members $330.00  
Heritage Inn – Homestead B


Jen Manuell accepts award for multi color pattern hooked-rugDESCRIPTION:
Imagine the freedom of hooking on a blank canvas, with just an idea in your mind and no lines to restrict you or limit new ideas as the work progresses. Freestyle.

Taking inspiration from Moroccan Boucherouite rugs, we will incorporate simple shapes into free-form geometric designs that can be intentionally asymmetrical and perfectly imperfect. Use a quick paper sketch to guide your work at the start and enjoy watching the design evolve as you work from one end of your rug across to the other. The only thing that is for sure, is that progress will be swift on the Marrakech Express!

The first day will start with a lot of talking, sketching, brainstorming, drawing, etc. with the idea that everyone will be confident enough in their concept to start hooking by that afternoon or the next morning at the latest! Unlike most other rug hooking projects (where you might jump around and hook here and there), we will be hooking in straight lines on the grain – as if we were weaving. 8 cut or larger recommended. As the week progresses, we will be trying to get as many loops pulled up as possible. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll discover that straight row hooking is quite quick (Jen finds it is easily more than twice as fast as hooking curves and squiggles), so hopefully everyone will find they get a lot more accomplished than they usually do at hooking retreat! 

Morroccan pattern hooked rug by Jen-Manuell

As far as colors go, the sky is truly the limit with these rugs. Jen thinks that a lot of their charm is in the almost random color selections. Boucherouite rugs are rag rugs, so it is not surprising that there is sometimes a real rainbow of colors in one piece and/or sudden mid-pattern color changes. To help achieve this effect, students should try to bring small amounts of lots of different wools – and some of these can be quite subtle variations of one another. These rugs also provide a great opportunity to mix in other cut strips or skinny remnants from previous rugs (no piece too small! – just try to keep to the same cut size). Not only does this help use them up, but it also helps to add interest and a bit of the unexpected.

Jen will try to bring some small pieces that can help jazz things up a bit.  She is not planning to bring any large amounts of wool with her, but she will happily go shopping with you over at Founder's Hall.

Diamond pattern hooked rug by Jen Manuell
Diamond cross pattern hooked rug by Jen Manuell

The Amazing Matrix book by Jen ManuellLEVEL:  
Basic – students must have basic rug hooking knowledge and experience. 

STUDENTS NEED TO BRING:  Basic hooking supplies: a frame*, scissors, cutter, cutter blades (your choice), & hook. A blank piece of backing that is a bit bigger than you think you will need. A large variety of wool - but not necessarily large amounts of any one piece. Variation makes things more interesting all around. Make sure you have lights, mediums and dark values – otherwise it will be challenging to create defined patterns and motifs.  *If possible, bring a frame that allows you to get your backing super-tight – this will make it easier for you to hook in straight rows and create patterns on the fly.

Stepped pattern hooked rug by Jen Manuell

Jen is an award-winning fourth generation rug hooker, first taught by her Aunt (the late Jean Armstrong). Jen started hooking in 1999 and has taught for more than a decade, travelling all over Canada, the United States, and England sharing her fresh and distinctive ideas under her own Fish Eye Rugs banner. Her students say, “Jen’s youthful enthusiasm makes her workshops fun, as well as educational!”

In early 2016 she gave notice to her employer and left behind a lengthy professional career to dedicate herself completely to turning her textile art into a full-time business called Fish Eye Sisters. Her love of textiles, dyeing and color play has resulted in her current line of one-of-a-kind woolen home goods.

Jen’s work has been included in many exhibits throughout North America. In 2012, Jen received the prestigious Ontario Hooking Craft Guild (OHCG) Best in Show Rowan Award for her piece entitled Jumbo, a particularly impressive room-sized rug she designed and hooked. Jen’s work has been featured in several publications over the years. She is a member of Muskoka Arts & Crafts (MAC), Craft Ontario, and Fish Eye Sisters is included on the Textile and Fiber Art (TAFA) List. 

SPECIALTIES:  Tendency to push the boundaries of rug hooking beyond traditional rugs.