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TitleSoft in the MiddleDesigned bySharon O'NeillHooked bySharon O'NeillDimensions23" x 24"Materialswool and silk on linenCuts6Share

For a long time I have been wanting to design and hook a rug based on the Paul Simon lyrics, “Why am I soft in the middle? The rest of my life is hard.” I envisioned a grey-haired Odalisque figure, much like myself and here she is! She actually looks similar to me in style and color palette.

I hooked another relaxing woman prior to this in practice for this rug. I’m not quite sure that this is the final image with this theme that I hope for, but I’m moving in the right direction.

This was my first time using a cutter, previously I cut my wool by hand.:

About the artist:

While I have been a creator my entire life, I became a fiber artist in the mid-80’s when I was in college studying fine art and psychology/sociology on my path to becoming an art therapist.  Weaving and fiber sculpture were my primary means of art expression until around 1998 when I took a rug hooking class in Fairfax, Vermont.  Already a weaver and rug maker, I was looking for something that combined my love of fiber with my other talents in drawing and design.  It was also attractive that the classes were paired with wine, cheese and friendship.  I was instantly “hooked!”

While I have only been a member of the Green Mountain Rug Hooking Guild since 2015, I am a long time attendee of the amazing rug hooking shows curated by the Guild. In January of 2019, I stepped up to be the Program Chair. Since joining the Guild and then the Board I have enjoyed meeting amazing artists who have become inspiration for my artwork and friends in my heart.

I design almost all of my own rugs. Images come to me from friendships, dreams, stories, nature and current events. Most of my designs tell personal stories. I make detailed sketches and take a long time choosing my color palette before putting design onto my linen. While my planning is detailed, I leave the design on linen in a much simpler format leaving me flexibility to design as I hook. I also like to use a variety of fabrics and multi-media adornments in my work.