Exploring Folk Art With Wool: An Interview with Donna Bennett
Rebekah and I hope you have been enjoying our new book, Exploring Folk Art with Wool Appliqué & More, with you. We have been introducing you to our collaborators on the blog, and giving you a little extra insight into their work. So far you’ve met Lori Ann Corelis and Kathy Wright. Today I’m going to introduce you to our friend Donna Bennett of Crows on the Ledge Wool Studio behind her home in Thompson, Ohio. I sat out on Donna’s beautiful screened-in porch at her shop and we chatted about how she got into this, what inspires her, and what tips she has for rug hooking. She hooked the ottoman top for Heartfelt. So take a moment or two to sit with us and get some insight into Donna’s work!
How did you get into rug hooking?
“I always knew I wanted to do something with my hands. I tried many things—painting, cross stitch, quilting, etc. I was at the [Geauga County] fair when I saw a woman rug hooking. Then I ended up taking a class, and it took me a year to finish one project. But I ended up joining a group of other rug hookers and loved it.
Through the group, I learned about dying wool and started practicing that. I love the freeness of it, just put some dye in and see what happens. I didn’t use a lot of formulas then. I was working for a big company at the time, and so this was just an outlet for me. Soon I started selling wool in a friend’s shop and teaching a few classes. Eventually I created a shop of my own here at the house . I still can’t believe I’m here. Now I focus on workshops and classes.
The social side really inspired me. Rug hooking is very social, because you can talk and do it. The friends I have met have been amazing!
Do you have any tips for someone starting out in rug hooking?
One is to always label your work somehow, as a mark of who made it. Another is to reach out to guilds and groups, even through Facebook. It’s so helpful to get ideas when you see what other people are working on and what else can be done. Once your kids are gone, your life can’t revolve around vacuuming. With wool, you don’t get bored, because you can get into dying, and there are so many styles and colors to use in creating pieces.
Where do you get your design inspiration?
I like to keep it simple. I tend to do more natural pieces—animals, flowers, more outdoorsy motifs. I guess I do get a lot of my inspiration from where I live, because it’s beautiful.
Working with Rebekah has also been amazing and I’ve learned a lot from her. It’s nice to have someone that you can work closely with like that but you’re not competing.
Donna’s lovely shop is located in Thompson, Ohio. You can also purchase supplies and patterns from her website and Etsy store, including hand-dyed wool in exclusive Rebekah L. Smith colors. www.crowsontheledge.com
Don't have the book yet? Get a copy signed by myself and Rebekah in the online store: www.rebekahlsmith.com/shop