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Rachelle LeBlanc

Biography: 

Rachelle LeBlanc

Contemporary Rug Hooking Artist

 

My name is Rachelle LeBlanc and I am a fine craft artist that uses rug hooking as an art medium.  I studied fashion at Sheridan College in Ontario and after 20 years in the Montréal garment industry, transformed my extensive knowledge of textiles and started experimenting with traditional rug hooking techniques in 2003.

After many years of working as a fashion designer, I felt a change was needed. During a weekend trip to Shelburne Museum in Vermont that change found its roots. Intrigued by the hand hooked rugs found in the museums collection, I set out to learn everything I could find on their history and how they were made.  What started out as a simple research project quickly grew into a career that I never would have imagined. 

Armed with an antique hook, I started experimenting with different techniques and materials transforming my ideas into rugs.  During those early experiments, I discovered that there was something very soothing and magical happening every time the wool transformed itself into a loop.  The slow and labor intensive nature of this technique quickly gave voice to my imagination and unleashed the creative energy I had hidden for so many years.

My work, described as contemporary figurative works made with strips of wool and cashmere are a testimony to the power of these materials to make an innovative, creative expression with integrity of statement.  My palettes are achieved by dyeing 100% wool and cashmere fabrics using natural and synthetic dyes.  With the help of my old dressmakers scissors given to me by my first boss, the woolen fabric is hand cut into strips 1/8”, ¼” or 3/8”, then hand hooked a 100% linen canvas.  The image is created with thousands of loops of wool and is executed in a manner that the creation of one work can take hundreds of hours.  Each loop is, essentially, a pixel within a dense pile, together forming intricate and subtle imagery. 

Armed with award winning works, I am now regarded as one of the top contemporary rug hooking artists working in Canada.  I am the recipient of this years Alberta Creative Development Initiative Grant to Individuals from the Canada Council for the Arts and the Alberta Foundation for the Arts,  Rug Hooking Magazines 2011 Celebrations Original Design Award, and have been a nominee for the Edmonton's "Mayor's Celebration for the Arts - Sutton Award''.

My work has been exhibited in galleries and museums across Canada and the United States including the Musée des Maître et Artisans du Québec in Montréal, and Shelburne Museum in Vermont and the Alberta Craft Council in Edmonton, Alberta.

I currently have the honor of representing Alberta in the Prairie Excellence Exhibition,an exhibition of the best in Fine Craft from Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Alberta. Traveling to public art galleries throughout the prairie provinces such as the Art Gallery of Regina, Museum of Contemporary Art Calgary, the Anity Gallery in Saskatchewan, and the University of Winnipeg Gallery in Winnipeg.