Fiber College’s Favorite Hooker: Janet Connor

Janet personifies the best of teachers regardless of discipline. From an administrative standpoint she is the easiest, most professional woman to work with…always aware of deadlines, cheerful and flexible. From a student’s perspective she is a delight…inspiring, artistic, motivating and thoroughly prepared. Janet captures the ebb and flow of traditional designs in naturally dyed wools and then stretches into vibrant contemporary works of art that would look at home in any setting…and asks her students to do the same. She will be teaching two popular classes at the College on Friday this year, Miniature Punch Needle from 10 AM to 12 PM, Folk Art Rug Hooking from 1 PM to 4 PM. Below you’ll find her responses to our interview questions and to see more examples of her work, visit Janet’s website.

1)     Teaching takes courage and experience…and so much extra time.  When you’re not teaching, what else do you like to do?

I love gardening, swimming, cooking and most of all designing and making hooked rugs.  I also spin, knit, quilt, and make penny rugs.

janetrughook12)     Fill in the blanks for the following statement:  Inspiration for my work comes from antique folk art examples and from nature. Client’s custom requests are very important aspect of my work and something to which I find I am very sensitive.  Whenever I create a piece, I am most pleased when someone understands the historic and personal references behind my work.

3)     Describe the perfect class that you’d like to take…I love learning from anybody, any time- it’s always a gift to hear a new perspective, and inspiring to see the teacher’s and the other classmates’ work.

4)     We’d like a sense of your expertise and ability to teach the class you’re offering…so tell us how you came to feel confident about leading a group through your particular class. I love teaching and I am very experienced. I have taught for 30 yrs (public school elementary art) and instructed adults and college level for at least 20. How long have you been practicing? I’ve been making rugs for 27 yrs,

5)     If you make a knitting error (substitute your art form here) do you jump right in and frog it (rip it out) or do you call it a design feature and keep right on going? That depends. Usually I do it over unless I am designing freely right on the needles. Does the mistake cause you anxiety or do you feel like it’s just one more opportunity to make the project your own? I’m pretty relaxed about it. In rug hooking–there are no mistakes!

6)     What techniques are in your bag of tricks for motivating a student to struggle through a difficult step…maybe something that’s just a bit out of his/her range…and come out the other side feeling successful? I show finished examples, I enlist the support of other students who worked thru the same issue, and I keep encouraging and helping.

7)     If you could ask your students questions and class time wasn’t an issue, what sort of things would you like to know about the people sitting in front of you? I would collect life stories and advice…..

8)     I am an avid collector of: antique beaded bags, English hallmarked silver, hand made textiles from various cultures, and STAMP marks in my passport!

9)     The best advice I have ever been given: relax, keep a sense of humor

10) What is your favorite color? magenta List three qualities of the color. rich, deep, warm Consider that these qualities apply to your work. Wool fiber arts are always rich, deep and warm to the touch–but I have unlimited color choices available because I dye to achieve what I need–

11) My formal educational background is Art Education, art history, textiles, Moore College of Art.  It took me several years to meld needs of career and family.  My most recent work straddles the line between imagination and reality, and incorporates personal images from the life of the client for whom I was working a commissioned piece.

12)  What do you do differently from the way you were taught? I use more antique tools and methods Why? More authentic and economical

13)  What’s your favorite tool? My hands Why? I can always find them! Unlike other tools!

14)  What do you like best about what you do? Creativity and independence, ability to work from home

15)  What do you mean when you say that a piece has turned out really well? Harmony of color, design, and overall originality

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