Camps, Workshops, Hook-Ins

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ARTICLE: Camp Etiquette

By an Anonymous and Addicted Camp Follower (aka Wool Groupie)
Reprinted with permission by ATHA (Association of Traditional Hooking Artists)

Every once in a while, it is good to review a couple things that many of us take for granted. One of those things is camp etiquette. If you follow these basic principles, you will have a grand time at camp and be chomping at the bit to go to the next one—if the pocketbook allows it!

View or Print: Camp Etiquette (reprinted with permission by ATHA)

A rug camp is usually a five-day event.

It includes four full days and a half day on the fifth. It is a total immersion into rug hooking. Depending on the size and location of the camp, there can be 4-6 teachers who instruct from 10-15 students each. The instruction can include color planning a design, hooking techniques, design concepts, finishing your rug, caring for your rugs, learning and telling new jokes, sharing recipes (dye formulas and food), sharing lists of books, movies, TV streaming series and more. The most important thing that happens at a rug camp is sharing the love of hooking with all the other hookers. It is an open and welcoming community of kindred spirits.

At the halfway point of the week, there is often a rug exhibit that is open to the public. It’s fun to show off our art. For those who have never attend a camp, the cost of the camp is: facility charges, teacher/instructor charges, and optional vendor purchases. The facilities vary from college campuses, resort/conference centers and grand old historic hotels just to mention a few. The locations are in all regions of the county and beyond. The cost of the facility covers the rooms and most meals. The expense for the teacher depends on what services are provided. There is the base fee for the week’s instruction and additional fees if you need advanced color planning/dying of wool. If you have all of that done, the teacher will help you decide how to put it all together and help you troubleshoot problems and will often teach color theory along with new and tried and true techniques. The teachers have a wealth of information and experience and love to share them all with the students. And if none of this convinces you to attend a camp, it is just plain fun and a great way to spend four and a half days and evenings hooking. So turn off the phones, and tablets and get hooking!

Workshops are mini rug camps.

They are anywhere for 1-3 days, can be at a motel/hotel facility or often in someone’s home or studio. A local workshop is an economical way of having a teacher in a more intimate setting. Workshops can have a main focus of a specific type of design, such as animal and people portraits, Zen tangle, florals, geometrics… there is no limit to possibilities. The workshop is a way to get a new design started and even though the group might be working on the same design, the outcome for each will be vastly different from each other. Most of the workshops I have attended were local to where I live so did not require overnight accommodations. Our local guild hired a teacher and those of us taking the instruction organized into small group work parties for food, teacher transportation and set up and clean up. If you are able to stay local to where you live, it is like taking a “staycation”.

Hook-Ins are one day events.

But sometimes 2 days are offered. They are organized by a local ATHA or MCGOWN guild.   It is normally from 9-3 or 4 and held in a large hall or banquet room. The cost can cover a boxed lunch and morning coffee/tea. There are vendors at hook-ins selling wool, dyes, patterns and all sorts of supplies. Some hookers go just to shop the vendors and see all the rugs that are in progress. There is a rug display of finished pieces that inspires everyone. Attendance at a hook-in can be from 75-250 or more people depending on the size of the facility and the popularity of the event. There is no instruction, we just bring along whatever piece we feel like working on that day and sit around, hooking, eating, visiting, shopping and admiring all the wonderful people and rugs. This is where you will run into many teachers from around the area and also other hookers that you may have met at faraway rug camps. It feels like a hooker’s reunion.