we have been and what we're doing today...
a native Bostonian, graduated from the Vesper George School
of Art in Boston in 1950 just as the Korean War was getting
underway. After a tour of duty with the U.S. Army Signal
Corps in Korea, he entered the School of the Museum of
Fine Arts, Boston in 1952, where he majored in graphic
design and painting, and graduated in 1956. He was awarded
a Clarrissa Bartlett Traveling Scholarship to travel in
Europe. On his return in 1957, he taught drawing and design
at the Museum School in addition to working as an art
director in an advertising agency. Happy, who graduated
from Smith Collage with a degree in Art History, also
worked at the Museum School and they married in 1959.
their first daughter, Elizabeth, was born in 1960, Happy
started taking rug hooking lessons from Ethel Bruce, a
Pearl McGowan teacher. Happy hooked several McGowan rugs
before asking Steve to design a rug for baby Elizabeth.
The Alice in Wonderland Rug was created. When Mrs. Bruce
suggested that the rug design be sold to a pattern maker,
Happy decided we should try to market it ourselves. That
is how DiFranza Designs came to be. Our second daughter,
Suzanne was born in 1963, and Happy, staying home with
the girls, developed a cottage industry with our rug patterns.
We have gradually added designs and started publishing
catalogs. Over the years, Happy's hooked rugs have won
prizes at a number of rug shows and exhibitions.
of the Door Mill Store in Guild, NH was instrumental
in introducing us to American Home Crafts magazine who
featured our designs in a number of articles until it
ceased publication in 1978. Steve stopped teaching but
continued to work in advertising, devoting some time
to painting as well as helping Happy with the rug business.
Rug Hooking Magazine has featured DiFranza Designs in
a number of issues. Stackpole Publishers asked us to
write a book for the beginning rug hooker and "Hooking
Fine Gifts" was published in 1992. It is now out
of print, but check Alibris.com on the Internet in case
someone still has it in stock. Designs from this book
were featured in Good Housekeeping Magazine and in the
Ann Davies / Emma Tennent book Hooked Rugs published
by Museum Quilts, Inc. of London. Our rugs have also
appeared in Jessie Turbaynes's Hooked Rug Treasury as
well as other publications. Happy has written articles
for The Magazine Antiques and taught rug hooking classes
in Florida and Kansas as well as at the ATHA rug schools
in Farmington and Madison, CT. She also has classes
and workshops at our studio.
from advertising in 1992 and is now in the DiFranza
Design studio on a permanent basis. He is busy with
their special custom rug design service, designing,
printing and shipping patterns. But he still tries to
keep up with his painting. His paintings have been exhibited
with the American Federation of Art, The Boston Arts
Festival, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and are in
private collections in the United States and in Europe.
volunteer work includes designing the graphics for the
North Reading Center Village Historic District and flyers
and brochures for the town library. He particularly enjoyed
creating posters and program covers for the fall and spring
productions of the high school drama club for over 25
years. He has turned over that project to the students,
whom he feels, need the experience.
As you can
see the DiFranzas keep themselves busy and look upon
their trips abroad as a stimulus for "DiFRANZA
DESIGNS" to create new and exciting rug hooking
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