Journaling & Rug Hooking

Article by Gwen Dixon
Photos provided by featured rug hookers.

Lately, the concept of journaling and rug hooking has captured my interest. With the dedication and inspiration to explore further, I discover myself not only jotting down experiences and thoughts but also delving into the intricate art of rug hooking. Journaling and rug hooking intertwine as simple practices, where thoughts, feelings, memories, and creative ideas are meticulously recorded, often on paper, forming a harmonious blend of expressive storytelling and artistic creation.

There are many ways to journal, examples include:

1. Daily Journaling

Initially, daily journaling offers a space to chronicle the events of your day, capturing moments, experiences, and observations. Furthermore, it’s a reflective practice that allows you to document where you’ve been, who you’ve encountered, conversations you’ve had, and any discoveries or insights gained. By jotting down these details, you create a narrative of your life, preserving memories and fostering self-awareness.

2. Art Journaling

In contrast, art journaling is a creative outlet where you can explore ideas, experiment with different artistic techniques, and visually express your thoughts and emotions. It goes beyond traditional writing, incorporating elements like drawing, painting, collage, and mixed media. This form of journaling encourages spontaneity, imagination, and playfulness, providing a canvas for self-expression and personal exploration.

3. Bullet Journaling

On the other hand, bullet journaling is a versatile system for organizing your thoughts, tasks, and goals in a concise and efficient manner. Using bullet points, symbols, and short sentences, you can create lists of things you need to do, ideas you want to explore, or accomplishments you’ve achieved. It’s a flexible tool that adapts to your needs, helping you stay focused, productive, and motivated.

4. Gratitude Journaling

Gratitude journaling involves the daily practice of acknowledging and appreciating the positive aspects of your life. By writing down what you’re grateful for each day, whether it’s big or small, you cultivate a mindset of abundance and positivity. This practice can enhance your overall sense of well-being, increase your resilience to stress, and deepen your relationships with others.

5. Free Writing Journaling

Similarly, free writing journaling is a form of expressive writing where you let your thoughts flow onto the page without censorship or judgment. It’s an opportunity to explore your innermost feelings, ideas, and memories, allowing your subconscious mind to surface thoughts that may have been hidden or suppressed. By giving yourself permission to write without constraints, you tap into your creativity and intuition, uncovering valuable insights and revelations.

6. Structured Journaling

Lastly, structured journaling provides a framework or template for your writing, offering prompts, questions, or guided exercises to stimulate reflection and self-discovery. It’s a methodical approach that encourages intentionality and focus, guiding you through various topics or themes to explore. Whether you’re setting goals, reflecting on past experiences, or envisioning your future, structured journaling can help you gain clarity, insight, and perspective on your life journey.

Journaling in Rug Hooking

Inspired by a series on journaling’s role during change and transition, I questioned if fellow rug hookers incorporated journaling into their creative process. The response was enlightening. Let’s delve into how some artists utilize journals to organize thoughts and ideas for their unique mats.

Terri Vetter’s Window of Inspiration

Terri Vetter found inspiration for her rug, “The Window of Inspiration,” from her friend’s unwavering support during a challenging time. Reflecting on the renowned artist Maud Lewis, who drew inspiration from her surroundings, Terri crafted her rug as a tribute to her friend’s resilience and guidance. The piece symbolizes the warmth, kindness, and strength that her friend emanates, akin to the view from Lewis’s window.

“The Window of Inspiration” designed and hooked by Terri Vetter, with an excerpt from Terri’s journal, used to plan the making of this mat.

Michelle Palmer’s Creative Sketching

Michelle Palmer’s artistic journey spans over thirty-seven years, beginning with sketching in the margins of college notebooks. As a seasoned watercolor painter and illustrator, Michelle’s creative process seamlessly transitions between mediums, including fiber arts like needle felting and rug hooking. Her sketchbooks serve as a repository for fleeting ideas, ensuring that no creative spark goes unnoticed. With a keen eye for color, negative space, atmosphere, and contrast, Michelle’s work is a testament to her enduring passion for visual expression.

“Dance of the Harvest Crow” designed and hooked by Michelle Palmer.

For more of Michelle’s designs, visit:

Deanne Fitzpatrick’s Creative Surge

Deanne Fitzpatrick’s artistry transcends mere craftsmanship; her rugs serve as tangible expressions of her innermost thoughts and emotions. In her journal, she reflects on the transformative power of midlife—a period characterized by hope, creativity, and freedom. Her rug, “Wild Roses Roam,” embodies these sentiments, serving as a metaphor for trusting one’s instincts, embracing spontaneity, and surrendering to the creative process. Through her work, Deanne invites viewers to join her on a journey of self-discovery and empowerment.

Wild Roses Roam, designed and hooked by Deanne Fitzpatrick.

“I think the rug is a metaphor for trusting in your feelings, letting go, letting things run wild, and trusting in the process.” – Deanne Fitzpatrick

For more of Deanne’s thoughts and her mats that express them, visit her at

Janine Broscious Explores Free-Writing

Janine Broscious, an avid journaler for over 20 years, has found various forms of journaling to be integral to her art journey and overall mental and spiritual health.

woven rug with animals

“Untamed”, designed and hooked by Janine Broscious.

Inspired by “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron, she adopted a stream-of-thought approach to journaling, allowing her thoughts to flow freely without constraint. For her rug hooking project titled “Untamed,” Janine extensively documented her experiences during a summer RV trip, using her journal to brainstorm ideas, explore colour concepts, and address creative challenges encountered along the way.

To read Janine’s blog, go to:

Meryl Cook Journals Into a New Life

Meryl Cook shares how journaling facilitated her transition to a new chapter in life. Feeling lost and uncertain about her future, she turned inward for answers, dedicating herself to journaling, sketching, and dreaming wildly. These journals formed the foundation of her book, “One Loop at a Time,” which chronicles her journey of rug hooking, healing, and creativity. Meryl found that writing and sketching unleashed her creativity, leading to a newfound sense of purpose and a career reinvention.

colourful woven rug with curved lines

“Curvy Lines”, designed and hooked by Meryl Cook.

Her rug hooking piece, “Curvy Lines,” embodies themes of creativity and sensuousness, reflecting her preference for fluid, non-linear designs. Journaling has become an integral part of Meryl’s creative process, with each piece beginning as a journal entry.

For more thoughts from Meryl, go to:

Remi Levesque Explores His Roots

Remi Levesque recounts how journaling became a crucial tool in his recovery journey following a traumatic cycling accident. As he gradually regained function in his right arm and hand, Remi started documenting his thoughts and feelings in a journal, alongside therapy sessions.

woven rug with a tree

“My Roots”, designed and hooked by Remi Levesque, is the first in a series of three rugs about his recovery.

This journaling process coincided with the development of his “rug healing series.” In one journal entry, Remi reflects on the loss of memories and fears of forgetting cherished moments from his past. Through the process of creating “My Roots,” Remi delves into his family history, recalling significant moments and strengthening his sense of identity. The rug’s profile, shaped like a tree, symbolizes the importance of memories in nourishing one’s sense of self and facilitating healing.


As we delve deeper into the intersection of journaling and rug hooking, the narratives shared by artists offer profound insights and inspiration. Beyond mere creative expression, their meticulously crafted mats serve as poignant reflections of individual odysseys. Each rug becomes a tangible manifestation of the artist’s inner landscape, encapsulating moments of growth, resilience, and self-discovery. Through the intricate interplay of color, texture, and symbolism, these artworks transcend their material form, inviting viewers to embark on a journey of contemplation and introspection. Indeed, in the hands of these talented artisans, journaling becomes more than just a practice—it evolves into a transformative tool for storytelling, healing, and self-expression.

Author: Gwen Dixon is a fiber artist and adult educator (University of Victoria) from Riverview, New Brunswick.