A Tribute to Gail Mueller

Another first Monday has arrived, and what fun it was to see Gail Mueller’s work, and hear her story.

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Although Gail was born in Kalamazoo Michigan, she grew up in the Beaches area of Toronto, attended U of T, and became a physio therapist. (she said nursing wasn’t an option because of all the blood and needles). She and her husband later moved to Orillia where she worked in home care, had two daughters, and retired in 1997. Retirement only lasted a few months, since as she said …she grew bored in a hurry. While at a nearby greenhouse one day…she casually asked the owner if he needed some help…and was immediately put to work. She ‘helped’ part time for 12 years.

Gail is proficient in many areas. She took a carpentry course, became a master spinner,

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and weaver.

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She has done quilting, smocking, cross stitch and painting.

Her ‘first’ introduction to hooking had come when she was just 12….

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she and her mom hooked this rug in the 1950’s while at the cottage. Neither of them had any experience, and they left all the tails on the back side…

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but as she pointed out….it didn’t pull out. It’s now a very special keepsake.

She took up rug hooking proper in 1995,

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and did the obligatory fine shaded flowers….her first piece.

She thought she  might never have continued hooking after this experience, but fortunately met up with Willa Mercer, and was introduced to designing patterns, wide cuts and using recycled wools…..this was much more to her liking.

Her first ‘real’ piece, was a drawing by her young daughter, which Willa helped her with…and then she was truly ‘hooked’. (I would have sworn I took a picture of this rug….but it isn’t on my camera….so sorry…:(  )

She loves taking courses, and many of the pieces she brought today are evidence of that.

She took a course with Jeanne Field in Newfoundland on miniatures.

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This depicts Jeanne’s husband proposing to her in a forest. It’s about 3″ square.

At a Trent course on the Grenfell style with Germaine James, she hooked this wonderful piece using nylons which she also dyed.

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The picture was drawn by her daughter Jill.

At a course in Haliburton, she hooked Ann Hallet’s corydale sheep,

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from one of Ann’s photos. (complete with pieces of fleece from the actual sheep)

Her usual style is wide cut, and using a wide variety of materials, but in 1999, she did this oriental in a 3 cut, and was amazed at how she enjoyed doing it.

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She claims that once the colour planning was done, it was restful….quiet hooking.

….at this point in Gail’s story…Ann Hallett piped up, and commented that she has an oriental drawn too, wool chosen, and rolled up ready to hook when she’s in a nursing home…..and needs ‘restful’ hooking.

I love these ladies…no doubt inspired by the Deanne Fitzpatrick style of hooking.

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Day Dreaming hooked in 2008

Her favourites now are abstracts.

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This is a recent piece.  ‘Abstract’ hooked in 2010.

She claims her most fun however, now comes from her two grandchildren….and (she says with glee) she gets to babysit them.

4 thoughts on “A Tribute to Gail Mueller

  1. Thanks for telling us something about Gail’s background. She has been in a couple of my classes at Trent but I really knew nothing about her or the extent of her talents, which clearly are many. She has a great sense of colour, too!jill in Ontario

  2. In answer to your question, Elizabeth, no, I don’t think I’ll be going to Trent this time. (I’m still working on my kilim from the last session!) I am hoping, though, to attend a class/workshop with Wendie at some point in the new year. I was one of the ones who was very disappointed that she wasn’t going to be at Trent next year. What about you, Elizabeth?jill in Ontario

  3. I’m thinking of not going too Jill…I too was very disappointed that Wendie’s class didn’t go….she’s giving a course at the annual though…and I’m going to be in North Bay so maybe I can get into it, pick up a little bit there…not sure I can swing going to both….although I’d like to.

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