Who I Am

“For the first forty days a child
is given dreams of previous lives. Journeys, winding paths,
a hundred small lessons
and then the past is erased.”
Michael Ondaatje, Handwriting

Laura Salamy - me!

Laura Salamy – me!

Thank goodness the past can’t be erased after that. Heirlooms and their stories would be lost.

Laura Salamy – that’s me –  is a fiber artist and writer. But I didn’t start out that way. After graduatingwith degrees in science and French, I worked for several years in industry ensuring that my employers complied with environmental and worker safety rules. A lay-off led to two other “careers”: running food pantries and my own editing business. Somewhere in there, I filled out a registration form and wrote a check to take a community education class being offered in town. It was for a rug hooking class. A few years passed quietly and then…then I was hooking every evening for two and three hours at a time.

Hooking became my “happy place.” If I wasn’t doing it, I was thinking about it. The colors, the textures; whether to use fabrics or yarn, wool or t-shirt. Nowadays, I do my best design planning in the shower or nights when insomnia’s winning. 

Teacher and punch needle guru Amy Oxford at Vermont's Fletcher Farm for Arts and Crafts in 2008.

Teacher and punch needle guru Amy Oxford at Vermont’s Fletcher Farm School for Arts and Crafts in 2008.

Classes with excellent teachers have improved technique. Social media and the Internet have fueled inspiration and discussion with other hookers. Field trips to galleries and museums allow much needed exposure to other media. Guild membership promotes camaraderie, critiques, and encouragement.

I’ve never been a “traditional” hooker, preferring to color outside of hooking’s more “typical lines.” Instead of limiting myself to wool, I prefer to use most any material I can get my hands on. Often that means strips I cut from old t-shirts. Up-cycling throw-aways to art is a priority for me. Our landfills are filling up. Or they’re already full. While certain projects benefit from virgin wools or other fibers, I like that I can do my little part to slow that process and make something lovely at the same time.

Today the sun shines almost every day on High on Hooking's new home in New Mexico.

Today the sun shines almost every day on High on Hooking’s new home in New Mexico.

Rebirth and renewal – it’s a theme. From environmental compliance, in my case, to up-cycling would-be waste. As well, I recently relocated from Massachusetts to Albuquerque, New Mexico. New England, along with the Canadian Maritimes, is arguably the birthplace of rug hooking. New Mexico, not so much. But it is a land with a rich artistic and naturalistic bent…and lots of weavers and painters and folks who “do” mixed media. I feel at home here. There is so much to see and learn here. And to translate into rugs.

See more examples of my work as well as other “scintillating” posts on High on Hooking’s facebook page.

A Hooker’s Resume
2007:                         Newtown Hooked Rug Show, Newtown, CT
June, 2013:               Wrentham Arts on the Common (juried), Wrentham, MA
March-April, 2014:     Norfolk Cultural Council Juried Art Exhibit, Norfolk, MA
August, 2014:            Stonington Village Fair (juried), Stonington, CT
April, 2016:                Colors of the Southwest Fiber Arts Exhibit (juried), Albuquerque, NM
April-May, 2016:         Rug Hooking Exhibition, University of New Mexico-Valencia, Los Lunas
June-Oct, 2016:         Rail Yards Market, (juried), Albuquerque, NM
August, 2016:            Mama’s Minerals Arts and Crafts Show (juried), Albuquerque, NM
April, 2017:                Albuquerque Recycled Art Fair (juried), Albuquerque, NM
May, 2017:                Albuquerque Fiber Arts Fiesta (juried), Albuquerque, NM

May-Oct, 2017:         Rail Yards Market (juried), Albuquerque, NM
August, 2017:           Sunflower Festival (juried), Mountainair, NM
October, 2017:          OffCenter Folk Art Festival (juried), Albuquerque, NM
November, 2017:       Fall Fiber Fiesta (juried), Santa Fe, NM
April, 2018:                Earth, Wind, and Fiber Spring Show (juried), Albuquerque, NM

Teaching Gigs
April, 2017                 “Hook a Rug, Save the Environment” at Española Valley Fiber Arts                                                        Center, Espanola, NM

Ongoing                     Private lessons

Women’s Success Network, southeastern Massachusetts and Rhode Island area
Newsletter Editor, 2011-2014
ATHA (Association of Traditional Hooking Artists) member at national and guild levels
Charles River Guild (Massachusetts), 2012-2015
Adobe Wool Arts Guild (New Mexico), 2015-ongoing
Albuquerque Fiber Arts Council
Guild Representative to Fiber Arts Fiesta and Education committees, 2016-ongoing

Española Valley Fiber Arts Center (New Mexico), 2017-ongoing

Rug I started at Amy Oxford's punch needle class in Vermont back in 2008. I did finish it. :)

Rug I started at Amy Oxford’s punch needle class in Vermont back in 2008. Yes, I did finish it.


“Special” Education
Manipulating Fibers (one day) taught by Susan Feller of Ruckman Mill Farm, Augusta, WV, at the Newtown Hooked Rug Show, Newtown, CT

Punch Needle Rug Hooking open class (4 days) taught by Amy Oxford of the Oxford Company, Cornwall, VT, at Fletcher Farm School for the Arts and Crafts, Ludlow, VT


Open workshop (3 days) taught by Cheryl Bollenbach with Adobe Wool Arts Guild, Albuquerque, NM

Open workshop (3 days) taught by Cheryl Bollenbach with Adobe Wool Arts Guild, Albuquerque, NM