This month’s PWGL Studio Tour visits the studio of Anne Nichols of Annetiques, located in historic New England.
An Interview and Studio Tour with Anne
Describe your work: I am a designer and maker of primitive styled hooked rugs. The primitive style of rug hooking is a simple, innocent design, as a child’s drawing would be. I had to forget what I was taught in art school about size, perspective and composition and teach myself to draw through a child’s eye.
How long have you been creating your artwork? I have always loved to draw and make things for as long as I can remember. My love of art sent me to art school where I learned graphic design. I worked in the graphic design industry until I was married and that is when my creative craft life began. Loving antiques but not being able to afford them, I started making reproductions of the things I wanted. First, it was cross-stitch samplers, quilting, designing and making dolls, then chalk ware Santa’s and always hooked rugs. I loved antique rugs and decided that I could make one. I went to a local wool store, talked with the owner, bought what I needed and taught myself to hook my first rug. That was thirty plus years ago and I have not stopped since. I now design and sell my own original patterns and rugs. Rug hooking is a passion and a joy to me.
Describe your studio/workspace: My studio is my heaven, a place that I go to create, dream and leave all my worries at the door. I love my little space that’s all mine.
How much studio time do you put in each week? I would say that I spend more time in there than I should but not as much as I would like. The computer in my studio is an addiction, so when I am not creating I find myself “playing” on the computer.
What is the one tool you could not live without? My rug-hooking frame, it is the best tool I own. Before I had this frame, I used a round hoop. I was never comfortable with it and could not sit long to hook. With my frame, I can sit and hook for hours because it holds the rug I am working on and frees both my hands.
Do you listen/watch media while you work? I like to listen to books on tape, my oldies music and sometimes watch TV. When I am drawing or working on new designs I just enjoy the silence, it helps me concentrate.
If you had an unlimited budget - what would you buy for your studio? That is easy, more old, antique cupboards to hold wool. I never have enough room for all my wool. If I had more room, I’d buy a large work table to spread out on.
What is your favorite time of day to work? I guess anytime I get to work in my studio is my favorite time. Morning is nice because my studio is in the back of the house near our woods and I get to listen to the birds singing. Nighttime, when the day is quieting down, I sometimes find myself working into the wee hours.
What materials are you currently working on? As always, I am working with wool. I am in the need of more antique colors so I will soon be over-dying to replenish my wool stash. I also create personal rug tags for each rug. These let me use my graphic talents with pen, paper and materials.
How do you stay organized in your workspace? I have many designs that need to be organized. I like to keep them in folders so that I can find them easily. I just recently found plastic artist portfolios that work wonderfully, easily fitting even my biggest designs. I keep my wool organized by color in cupboards and all my other craft supplies in labeled boxes or plastic containers.
What kinds of “inspiration” do you have in your studio? My house and little area is filled with collectible treasures that inspire me. I also keep a sketchbook that I doodle in whenever I see something that gives me an idea. These both help keep the creative juices flowing.
What are your creative plans for the future? I would like to expand my growing design business. Some day I would like to teach rug hooking.