Meryl Cook, who has been rug hooking since 2008, was originally inspired by her mother, a long-time rug hooker specializing in traditional, fine cut oriental mats. Then on a shopping trip to buy her mother a present, she discovered another style of rug hooking with colourful, fun fabrics, yarns, and patterns. Working with another hooker, Deanne Fitzpatrick, who encouraged her to draw her own patterns and look at rug hooking as an art form, Meryl started working with her own loose, organic style using a variety of new and recycled fabrics and yarns (mostly wool and silk) on linen. She begins with a simple sketch from her journal and a basic idea of colours though she admits she doesn’t do a lot of colour planning in advance because each design develops in an intuitive way.
Meryl began her unique process of journal writing and designing healing mats in 2016 at age 59 as a way of holding space for herself and figuring out how to move her life forward following treatment for breast cancer. It was then she dedicated herself to working full time as an artist. Her art comes from her journal practice reflecting what she is currently processing in life, whether it is learning to practice self-compassion, to be more playful, or work on concepts she is struggling with. In her practice and in life, she looks for moments of joy, even in times of despair and follows the healing energy to produce her intuitive, abstract designs making her work unique.
Originally from Ontario, she moved to Nova Scotia in 1980 and now lives in Dartmouth where she works looking out sunroom windows at the harbour. She is inspired by colour, texture, joy, and self-compassion as well as nature and various impressionist painters. She joined ART1274 Hollis in July 2022. Her work has also appeared in the Ice House Gallery, Argyle Fine Art Gallery, Mary E. Black Gallery, and as a special exhibit at Sauder Village Rug Hooking Week. She is the author of two books on rug hooking and creativity and hopes her work will inspire others to reconnect with their joy and creativity.