About Gail Dufresne
My mother and my sister began making rugs when I was 14, so I grew up surrounded with rugs and rug makers. I have been making rugs myself since August 1984.
My work has been featured in numerous fiber art shows and contests. I have had several rugs selected for Rug Hooking Magazine's annual "Celebrations" contest and I was a Celebrations judge twice. Since my work has appeared in at least five Celebration editions, I will be featured in the Celebration Hall Of Fame, which is in honor of the magazine's 30th anniversary. My "Lizards and Ladders" design was featured in the magazine "Piecework". I have had several pieces juried
into the Newtown Hooked Art Show's annual contest. I was the featured teacher and artist at Sauder Village in 2004. I was selected as the 2018 featured artist at The Hooked Rug Museum Of North America.
I regularly contribute to Rug Hooking Magazine and served on its editorial board for many years. My work has appeared on its cover several times. I wrote the dye section of Elizabeth Black's book, "Hooked On The Wild Side", published by Rug Hooking Magazine in 2004. I wrote the book "Geometric Hooked Rugs", also published by Rug Hooking Magazine, in 2010. I wrote a second book, "Rug Hooking With Fancy Fibers", for Rug Hooking Magazine in 2016. 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 taught at the Reeth Rug Retreat in England in 2002 and will teach there again at the TIGHR conference in the fall of 2018. 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. They keep me hopping.
I co-wrote a "Teach The Teachers" course with Cynthia Norwood, which we have co-presented at several ATHA biennials. I was the President of ATHA (Association of Traditional Hooking Artists) for ten years and am now the Vice President. In that capacity I work with a great team to promote the art of rug hooking. I think it is important to give back to the art form.
I have one personal and three business pages on face book. The business pages are called "Goat Hill Designs", "Pfunny Sheep Designs" and "Goat Hill Designs Rug Hooking Cruises". My web site is: www.goathilldesigns.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 not 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.