Posted by: Laura Pierce | May 8, 2016

Teaching at Puget Sound Rug School

Old Broad Leaf Maple over looking Puget Sound

Old Broad Leaf Maple over looking Puget Sound

This big beautiful tree was part of the view from my classroom at Puget Sound Rug School, this past March. The location and spirit of this new rug school is phenomenal! It’s the new kid on the block… a rug school, not a rug camp. The difference is that each of the 3 teachers offers a subject which the whole class works on with their individual projects. A rug camp indicates open classes and a more casual atmosphere where campers socialize as much as learn. Oh, there is socializing at PSRS, but more after class than in class.

Black Pine and Gazebo at Puget Sound Rug School

Black Pine and Gazebo at Puget Sound Rug School

A path around the grounds at the Dumas Bay Retreat Center in Federal Way, Washington, invites you to come outside and enjoy the elements! Lots of moisture in the Pacific Northwest and this Californian enjoyed it!

Mossy rocks lay across the grass on the south side of the walk

Mossy rocks lay across the grass on the south side of the walk

The moss reminded me of my younger days in Terrace, BC. There the moss in the forest is 4 or 5 inches deep; you can imagine Titania and her little fairy elves laying in their soft mossy beds.

View from the classroom

View from the classroom

I took a few photos on the last day of class; this one shows the view from my classroom. You could see a ferry in the distance scooting back and forth from the mainland to the island directly across from water; which is actually a shipping channel with freighters traveling by. Tacoma is just south of Federal Way and has a big port where the freighters come and go. Puget Sound Rug School is easy to get to as it’s not far from SeaTac Airport. I drove up with my friend Gail Becker. She taught there the year before and knew the way.

Michele Wise and Laura Pierce at Puget Sound Rug School 2016

Michele Wise and Laura Pierce at Puget Sound Rug School 2016 – photo by Ruth Scott

It was great fun having Michele in my class; she worked on 2 projects along with running her store in an alcove off the classroom. Next door was our dining and meeting room, where we had our meals, a daily shared happy hour, student sale, and slide show presentation. After dinner each night, we had a rug show by class. It’s always interesting to have the rug artist available for questions, comments and stories of the rugs they are showing. The other 2016 teachers were Diane Learmonth with Rugs like Georgia O’Keefe and Susan Feller with Elements and Principles of Design.

Rose's Dad

Rose’s Dad – photo by Ruth Scott

I certainly enjoyed teaching Portraits from beginning to end. I always work with students ahead of time, via emails; some more than others. In this class, several students came with photographs to be made into patterns. It was fun sharing the whole process, from selecting a photo, to scanning it, tracing it, enlarging it and finally putting it on backing. Then we hook the portrait; a daunting subject, but exciting to see the faces come to life! Of course, I hope my method gives each student the basics of portraiture and that after class, they feel comfortable hooking more portraits on their own.

Julie's Dad

Julie’s Dad – photo by Ruth Scott

Doing a portrait is like a visit. These 3 dads have passed away, but are certainly not forgotten; we enjoyed the stories their daughters shared. Now, I’m inspired to do a portrait of my dad!

Bev's Dad

Bev’s Dad – photo by Ruth Scott

We all get involved with each other’s portraits in a class like this. We had 3 dads, a mom, a brother, a daughter, a grandmother, a friend, 3 ‘selfies’, 2 husbands, a cubist nomad and a sheep!

Next year, the line-up is: Donna Hrkman with Steampunk & Portraits, Brigitta Phy with Wonderscapes, and Molly Colegrove with Turning your Rugs from Ordinary to Extraordinary! Puget Sound Rug School


  1. So good to see a new entry on your Blog, Laura! Great pictures…and portraits. You are a good teacher for these. I speak from first-hand experience with you.

  2. yes… i enjoy a good portrait class… ha! but usually i teach open classes, so that i can fill them. not everyone wants to do a portrait rug. When i was asked to teach at Puget Sound, i figured it was because of my reputation as a Portrait teacher, so that’s what i offered. If they ask me back, i might offer a Landscape class. i’m tempted to hook the tree at the top of this blog page!

  3. I just printed out your two trees from your Blog for inspiration! Roslyn is having a one-day tree workshop this month, but I’m hooking the Sycamore on the property at Brooke Grove for my banner that I’m working on. (So no competition there!) But I love my two Japanese Maples that I got started on with Tanya Graham at LRI year before last. We’re having Oregon and Seattle weather here with another week of rain predicted.

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