By Kate Watson
“I’m so lucky. Life is bountiful.”
Not the words you’d expect to come from a woman who has recently faced cancer, but there’s no doubt Meryl Cook means them.
Cook says that her breast cancer diagnosis in 2015 was the wake-up call that propelled her on a journey to find her own unique path to joy and healing, a journey she shares in One Loop at a Time: A Story of Rug Hooking, Healing and Creativity.
The book chronicles the creation of Cook’s gorgeous “healing mat” series, and delves into her unique creative process. It also tells Cook’s story of letting go of her former life as a Homeopath and Bowen Therapist to embrace a new life as an author, a speaker and an artist.
Cook describes herself as someone who has always loved working with her hands, so it was natural for her to be hooking a rug during her cancer treatments. What changed during that time was her process: She began to express her emotions through the design and colour of the mats, and to add healing phrases on the canvas around the mat.
“I wanted to help myself process what I was going through,” explains Cook. “At one point, I was feeling distressed about the way my lumpectomy scar looked, but I knew I couldn’t keep hating a part of my body.
“I actually wrote several love letters to my scar, then I went on to design and hook the mat called ‘Love Letters’ which is on the cover of my book.”
Cook uses this design as a starting point for a course she offers on healing and rug hooking. “The process is a way to help people who, for whatever reason, are at a transition point in their lives, reconnect with joy.”
Everyone is invited to book launch party for One Loop at a Time on January 11 at 5:30 at the Dart Gallery at 127 Portland Street. The healing mats will be on display and there will be door prizes from local merchants.
For more information on healing mat workshops, or to order a copy of One Loop, visit http://www.merylcook.ca/