Rug Hooking can be an almost meditative activity. One falls into a meditative rhythm pulling the loops up through the backing, watching as a beautiful design evolves. What better way to further the connection between our artistic process and our spirituality than by hooking a beautiful lotus flower? Long a symbol of spiritual enlightenment, the lotus flower is a unique blossom. Its roots grow in mud and it retreats every night into murky river water. However, every day it miraculously rises from the muck and re-blooms with clean, fresh petals. In the same way, we can collect simple, natural fibres like silk, raffia and linen and in hooking them, watch a colourful masterpiece emerge.
The Ontario Hooking Craft Guild (OHCG) members have been busy making rugs for each of the 41 countries participating in the Pan/Parapan Am Games in Toronto this summer.
It was a news article about the 2000 Pan Am Games, where the Native Women of Manitoba and Saskatchewan had sewn ‘Star Blankets’ as gifts for each participating country, that inspired OHCG member, Lorna Atkins, to follow suit. Her request to the OHCG Board to make rugs as gifts for each of the participating countries for the 2015 Games was welcomed and approved with much enthusiasm.
Members were asked to submit a 16″ x 20″ design containing Canadian content, with a goal to produce at least 41 rugs. Thereafter, twelve designs were sent in, and 64 rugs were hooked by OHCG members. Whether members worked alone or in groups, they worked with a great sense of community from across the province.
Different takes on each design made a splendid display at the OHCG 2014 Annual in Oshawa. There was a ceremonial presentation made to the Toronto 2015 Ignite committee, whose purview is to encourage community involvement in the Games. The rugs will be handed over to Ignite when the Games’ Village is ready for their display.
Read more in our Spring 2015 issue.
Article by Maureen McIlwain
Multi Media Manager,
Ontario Hooking Craft Guild
You really don’t have to be a genius to make this bag that fulfills the desire to recycle and to create. The design for the “Jeanius” bag by Wendie Scott Davis is fast and easy and would be a good starter project for anyone who wants to try rug hooking but is hesitant to take on a full-sized rug.
“This bag won’t take 100 hours,” says Wendie. In comparison to the time it might take to create a rug, Wendie says, “You can do this project from start to finish in a couple evenings!”
Wendie says it can be jazzed up with a fun fabric for the lining and you can also try different fibres, such as pantyhose, to change the look. It’s a great way to use up scraps left over from other projects or dye attempts that “didn’t quite come out the right colour”.
“If I have a big project on the go, I’ll make one of these bags for a break and it gives me a feeling of accomplishment,” Wendie comments.
Despite coming to the hooking craft less than six years ago, Wendie’s Toronto home and vacation cottage contain a large body of work created in that short time. She says she is “young” in “hooking years”, but that hasn’t stopped her from embracing the craft and taking it into the art arena. She likes hooking portraits because it is like “painting with wool”. In addition, she doesn’t stop at rugs and wall hangings; she will put her hook to anything, including bags and belt buckles.
Read more in our Summer 2009 issue.
It’s very exciting for me to share with you the results of the fun filled Ontario Rug Hooking Guild’s annual meeting and conference held April 2015 in London, Ontario. It’s always a very productive and unifying time when members of the board and teacher’s branch meet and everyone gathers for the annual dinner. Kathryn Taylor of Toronto branch spoke on the annual’s theme with great enthusiasm – graffiti. There were workshops, vendors and an exhibit of hundreds of hooked rugs, which revealed the talent of the members of the OHCG, but it is with great enthusiasm that I share with you the details of the winning rugs. Let me walk you through these exciting works of art.
Gardens, springtime and the colour blue are all some of my favourite things. Irises are my favourite flower. I like the contrast between the architectural leaves and those flouncy, frilly flowers. It has leaves like swords and flowers like prom dresses.
After a busy day of winter activities, what is more inviting than a warm cup of hot chocolate and some homemade chocolate chip cookies?? Get that ‘inviting feeling’ all season long with this cute cushion featuring felted wool, buttons and punchneedle embroidery.
If you love bright colours and want to have fun, why not hook a “mola”? Molas are colourful panels that include various types of appliqué and often have added embroidery, traditionally made by the Kuna Indians.
The Kuna Indians live in palm-thatched wooden huts with sand floors. The men work in their fields on the mainland or tend coconut plantations or go fishing. The women perform their daily chores, fetching water bucket by bucket, feeding the family pig and sewing molas.
The history of the mola and the process of creating a mola are explained in detail in the adjacent article, but if you wanted to hook a mola, you need not bother with the order of the intricate process. Just use very bright, vibrant hues, especially the primary and secondary colours, and aim for strong contrast. Some molas have almost an “op-art” effect! Nowadays, some pastel colours are used so the sky’s the limit! Solid colours are mostly used and there is absolutely no shading!
To see pictures on the internet I googled “molas” and was rewarded with hundreds of sites. I have now assembled a small library of books.
Molas, as we know them, are colourful panels that include various types of appliqué and often have added embroidery. The word “mola” means “clothing” in the Kuna language. They are traditionally made by the Kuna (sometimes spelled “Cuna”) Indians of the San Blas islands and mainland coast of Panama. Each panel adorns the front and back of a woman’s blouse.
Read more in our Summer 2012 issue.
Working with Denis Longchamps, publisher and editor of the Cahiers métiers d’art ::: Craft Journal and curator on the exhibition Tapis Crochetés / Hooked Rugs January 16th – April 13th, 2008, Judith Penny Burton presented the work of four contemporary artists working in this very old tradition.
Hooked rugs began to appear in Quebec, the Maritimes and the New England coast sometime in the 1840s made of recycled strips of clothing or yarn pulled through burlap stretched tight over a frame. The rugs had a range of motifs drawn from nature, domestic, and religious themes as well as political sentiment.
Longchamps, using the Musée des maîtres et artisans du Québec’s extensive collection of historic rugs to illustrate visually his catalogue essay Hooked rugs and rural life in Quebec, presents a well grounded base from which to inform the contemporary audience. The study and collecting of hooked rugs has been ongoing for decades. Longchamps’ writing is backed with the research and collecting of ethnologist Marius Barbeau, who works for the Museum of Man (now Museum of Civilisation) and Jean-Marie Gauvreau, director of the École du meuble as well as other scholarly research. This collection is now the backbone of the museum’s collection.
With this as a springboard, Burton presents the work of four artists using this traditional “medium” to explore their own lives and extrapolate from what can be viewed as a hand made functional domestic object and give a new meaning relevant to daily modern life. Doris Eaton, Deanna Fitzpatrick, and Margaret Forsey are from Nova Scotia, and Rachelle Leblanc is from Quebec. They have come to rug hooking from different routes and seem to have been influenced by the 1980s rediscovery and craze for collecting Grenfell Mission rugs from Newfoundland, or by the contemporary work of Nancy Eddell, rather than having learned at the feet of their grandmothers, as the saying goes. It’s because of this that exhibitions such as these are important.
Read more in our Summer 2009 issue.