I love my pillow dearly and it holds a position of honour on the back of my living room couch. It also serves as a tutorial for my current project which is a gigantic Waldoboro sculpture, also fine shaded. I learned so many lessons that have served me in all my subsequent hooking projects. Ruth’s teaching was clear, precise and detailed, exactly what is needed in fine shading.
— Mora Ballantyne, Sydney, NS
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As a student in Ruth’s Portrait Class, we are asked to select a portrait that we would like to do. At the time my husband had just had a heart attack and was living with a new “normal” life. So I felt the need to do his beautiful face and he was quite embarrassed about this, but I was compelled to soldier on under Ruth’s amazing tutelage. I completed the work after his next heart attack and it was framed just before his passing away on June 6, 2016. I will always treasure this piece, despite my mistakes and many pieces of wool removed and redone. To finally achieve this replica is rewarding, of his beautiful eyes and smile on this calm vacation day in Cuba.
— Ellen Tancock
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The fine shaded class was filled with information on the flowers and leaves for my mat as well as the other projects in the class. We were provided with many handouts and the visual aids were wonderful. I left the class feeling well prepared to finish my project at home and I enjoyed my week very much.
— Betty Cameron, New Glasgow, PEI
Northport Loopers invited Ruth Downing to come to Cumberland County to teach us a class on Pictorials with an accent on hooking buildings. Ruth shepherded us through the basics and took time to work with us on the unique issues with each piece. We really enjoyed her relaxed but thorough style of teaching and hope she’ll come back again soon. I decided to photograph and design a door-topper piece based on my family home. The farm has been in my family for 6 generations, since 1820. The piece is approximately 8” X 40” in size, worked in a #3 cut. Ruth was wonderful with her suggestions for colours and very encouraging. When I finished it, my husband made me a frame out of yellow birch harvested from our woodlot. The piece was entered in our County Exhibition and won a 1st place ribbon as well as a RHGNS ribbon (my first).
— Polly Verstraten, Cumberland County, NS
Inspired by childhood memories of Land of Evangeline, this is my favourite hooked piece to date. I really appreciated Ruth’s personalized instruction, patience and enthusiasm, her skills in choosing colours and her attention to detail. With so many different projects in the class, there was inspiration abound! It made me realize that I can benefit from a more focused approach to specialized techniques with a more successful end result.
— Cathy Connolly, Porter's Lake, NS
I took the Portraits course last Fall, and I highly recommend it. The venue is superb, as is the instruction! Altho’ you will work hard, you’ll feel like you have had a vacation. I rarely work in a 3 or 4 cut, let along 8 values, in fact I worked in 10 values and wished I had 12 values. If I can hook a portrait, anyone can . . . Go for it ladies, you will be glad you did!
— Martha Muggah, Dartmouth, NS
My first class taught by Ruth was in shading. My Pretty Pansy Chair Pad proudly hangs on the wall. It’s too pretty to be sat on! I am enrolled in 3 more of Ruth’s classes this year.
— Patsy Gorveatte
I attended Ruth Downing’s Portraits class at Rug School 2015. Hans Luther, my portrait, was chosen because of his strong facial expression. I knew it would be my challenge as well as a learning tool for me. With the guidance, support and helpful suggestions from Ruth I was able to complete my portrait. She was always prepared, offering us one-on-one assistance. There were many visuals (books, photographs and hooked portraits) to explain techniques and styles.
— Dolly Pollard, Dartmouth, NS
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I had never hooked with anything narrower than #8 strips of wool. So imagine my surprise when I discovered that I LOVED hooking my St. Nicholas with #2 and #3 cuts, fine shading the face as I went. With Ruth’s guidance and encouragement I completed my portrait and absolutely loved the results. Ruth has a way of breaking things down, step-by-step, showing you how to successfully paint with wool. Trust me, it is less intimidating than you might imagine!. If I can do it . . . so can you!
— Roberta Hancock, Lakeview, NS
Signing up for Ruth’s Portraits class at Rug School May 2015 was the most challenging hooking project I have ever done. Working in monochromatic gray colours and trying to stay true to an old photograph of my husband’s grandfather, Ruth guided me through the subtle and delicate shading needed to define the features and planes of the face and make it realistic. I have already transferred what Ruth has taught me to other rug hooking projects!
— Cathy MacGray, Halifax, NS