Dianne’s Debut at Sauder Village

My hooking friends were so supportive of my vending at Sauder through the months of preparing and worrying-they asked me to write an article for our guild newsletter.

Reprinted from the Camellia City Rug Hooking Guild newsletter

September 2018

By Dianne Tobias

When my two friends were asked to curate the special exhibit on rug braiding at this year’s Sauder Rug Hooking Week, they were offered a vending opportunity. Knowing I love to dye stretch velvet and taffeta for hooking and braiding, they asked me to be the vendor.

That was last August……I was grateful….and then intimidated….and then grateful and said a wavering “yes.”

I had heard Sauder was the biggest rug hooking show in the country, attracting wonderful rugs, the Celebration finalists and this year a Celebration Hall of Fame for those who have won Celebrations more than 5 years.

As an inexperienced vendor but passionate about my velvet, I was ‘in.’ I began making small braided items like snippet baskets, putting them in a covered bin and asking a few braider friends to make small braided items I could sell. And I dyed about 150 pieces of velvet, strips and taffeta. When it came time to open the bin, I was surprised at how industrious I had been!

Full bin!

Since I was flying and my two friends were driving with many of the commissioned braided rugs for the exhibit, they brought some props for my booth. At the last minute I asked Christine to bring her large braided fish in case we needed height in the booth. It ended up being a hit and covering the white wall which we could not attach anything to! A trip to the Dollar Store to get two mop handles and wire and we hung the fish. I learned one needs to be flexible to be a good vendor!


Dianne Tobias in her vendor booth  a Sauder Village 2018

I wanted to highlight the hand dyed  fabrics so I hung my frog, Jeremiah, in the booth. He brought interest to using other fabrics.

Jeremiah, designed by Karla Gerard, hooked with mixed fabrics by Dianne Tobias.

The show was amazing; I only have ATHA to compare with, and this was much larger, perhaps 500 rugs hung in a huge Founder’s Hall.

In addition to the special rug braiding exhibit, there were smaller special exhibits: “Healing Mats,” Maud Lewis, a famous Canadian folk artist whose life was portrayed in the film Maudie; a couple vendors have licensed rug hooking patterns for some of her paintings, Jessie Kinsley from the early 1900s who braided landscapes with silk and embroidery and I am probably forgetting others.

Goose Girl, designed and hooked by Jessie Kinsley.

Here are a few pictures of the braiding exhibit  As a vendor, I was pretty tied to my booth and didn’t ‘get out much!’

Fddleheads by Cathy Winship


                                                                  Moons by Kris McDermet

Sauder is in Archbold, Ohio, somewhat near Toledo. There is corn, corn and soybeans. The town is small. Sauder Village is a historical recreation of an old village with a spinning house, weaving house, blacksmith house, etc. There is the huge Founder’s Hall which hosts many events such as Rug Hooking Week during the year. If you get the chance I would recommend a visit! Ω

Japanese Fan, designed, hooked and braided by Dianne Tobias.

Editor’s Note:

Dianne is a member of our guild who enjoys hooking with velvet and other fabrics. She hand dyes alternative fabrics and sells them via her website at http://www.thevelvethook.com.

Kaleidoscope designed, hooked and braided by Mary Bird

Setting Up at Sauder


Kris McDermet is up on a ladder hanging rugs for the exhibit

Well, Kris McDermet and Dianne Tobias and I got to Sauder Village on Sunday to set up the rug exhibit.  Actually, Dianne is here for manning the vendor booth for braiding stuff + her own business, which is “The Velvet Hook” (TheVelvetHook.com).  But Kris and I are here to teach classes and most importantly, to set up the Contemporary Braided Art Rug Exhibit.

We are finishing the exhibit set-up later today and it will be on display through Saturday late afternoon.  Over 5,000 people are expected to stroll through the exhibit, which also includes exquisite hooked rugs from “Celebrations,” and several other exhibits besides ours.    But ours is the “special exhibit” this year and the braided rugs have a place of prominence within the exhibit hall!

We have a bit less space available to us for display, in part because a few of us went way over the size restrictions for the rugs, so we have a slanted board taking up some display area (darn it!)  We’ll still have everything up, but it will be a little more cramped than we hoped.  However, all of the braided art rugs will still be up, plus the chair pads.  I think we may have to sacrifice a few of the antique rugs, though.

It turns out that hanging rugs for an exhibit is a LOT more complicated than I realized.  Sometimes you hang two rugs next to each other and it just absolutely makes both rugs look bad.  The colors not only have to work with adjacent rugs, but also with the “flow” of color across the exhibit.  Then the space issues further restrict placement.  Then there’s also the matter of making the overall display interesting.  I guess I thought that we had, on each panel, room for one rug on top, and one rug on the bottom.  But if we had them just stacked like that all across the display, it would be boring.  We have some things hung at an angle, some square things we tried on point… all to make it look good.  And to fill the spaces, so that we have room for everything.


Kris in our sunroom

Placement of the rugs within the exhibit is just so much more complicated than I realized!!

But, back in the hotel room, we have an exquisite suite for the 3 of us.  Kris had reserved the room 2 years ago in anticipation of having the three of us stay here, and I think we have the premier suite.  There’s a sun room, and a living room, and a kitchenette/dining area, plus sleeping areas.  It’s huge, and sun-filled, and the only problem is thermostat control among the three of us (ie, I’m having hot flashes, and they aren’t).


Walkway to our suite on the second floor

Here’s a view of the area where our room is located.  It’s just a lovely place.

Today I’ll get some photos of Dianne working on setting up her vendor booth, and some more photos of setting up the exhibit.