Andover Townsman, Andover, MA


August 15, 2013

Hooked on rug hooking; Artist's creations featured at Memorial Hall Library

Artist's creations featured at Memorial Hall Library

The hooked rug artistry of North Reading’s Happy DiFranza is taking center stage this month at Memorial Hall Library in Andover.

DiFranza, whose rug work has been featured in numerous books and magazines, was selected by the library as August’s featured artist of the month.

A graduate of Smith College with a bachelor’s degree in art history, DiFranza started taking rug-hooking lessons through a night course at North Reading High School following the birth of her first daughter, Elizabeth, in 1960.

From 1973 to 1978, her rugs appeared in American Home Crafts magazine and Time-Life Books used her work in its “Art of Sewing and Decorative Techniques” series. Rug Hooking magazine has also shown her rugs in a number of issues.

In 1991, Stackpole Books asked DiFranza and her graphic designer husband, Steve, to write a book about rug hooking, and “Hooking Fine Gifts” was published the following year. Designs from the book were featured in Good Housekeeping magazine and in the Ann Davies/Emma Tennant book, “Hooked Rugs,” published by Museum Quilts, Inc. of London. Her rugs have also appeared in Jessie Turbayne’s “Hooked Rug Treasury” as well as other publications.

In cooperation with Barbara Franco, then assistant director of the Museum of Our National Heritage in Lexington, DiFranza worked on the exhibition, “Walking on Art.” As a result of the historical information they uncovered, DiFranza and Franco cooperated on an October 1990 article for Antiques magazine detailing the history of rug hooking in America.

DiFranza’s rugs have been commissioned by various museums, including the Hooked Rug Museum of North America in Halifax, Nova Scotia. In addition to teaching classes in her home, DiFranza has also led workshops throughout New England as well as in Florida and Kansas.

Her rugs will adorn the walls of the first floor of the library near the customer service desk and the display cases on the second level through the end of the month.

For more on DiFranza’s work, visit

Text Only | Photo Reprints

Pictures of the Week