October 20, 2010


I’ve brought home something new from Nova Scotia!
Pastime? Art? Craft?

Hooked rugs. I saw, I was intrigued.
Here was something I’d never even heard of, and it’s very popular in Nova Scotia!
The first work we saw was in a Cheticamp craft shop. I liked it! I now realize that this imagery style is quite traditional. In olden days, pioneers would weave strips of cast-off clothing through burlap to create warm floor coverings. Today artists use knitting yarn or thin strips cut from woolen fabric – solids, mottled or patterned – pulled through burlap. One woman scoffed at some who use torn t-shirts instead of wool. 

But a gifted t-shirt hooker gave me my first lesson! Kenneth at the Mi-Caréme Museum of masks in Cheticamp showed me how they were made and taught me the stitches. His work is great, fanciful, funny. 

Mi-Careme Door to Door Maskers
As an aside, Mi-Caréme, the middle day of lent, is celebrated in Cheticamp and a few other Cape Breton towns by masked revelers going to house parties where attendees make merry and try to guess who’s who behind the homemade masks. http://www.micareme.ca/

Mahone B Encompassing Designs Rugs Bonnie

I met other rug hookers who were warm and generous with their knowledge. Each opened the window a bit wider. In Mahone Bay there is an exciting shop called Encompassing Designs. I was inspired by their artists’ work. Bonnie gave me a lesson and lots of tips. http://www.encompassingdesigns.com/
I bought basic tools: a hook and a big embroidery hoop. And a starter kit. And extra materials.
I’ve always enjoyed learning a new process and finding out how things are made – in the arts or crafts field, that is!

There were spinners and hookers at the Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic in Lunenburg, one of our most favorite towns. We had a fine chat!
They showed us some work in the museum’s theme. One is the famous fishing schooner Bluenose, the other a traditional boat of longliners ready to bring their catch back to the mother ship.

Hooking by the Sea is a craft shop on Brier Island, far west in Nova Scotia. Their building was once the boot shop where Joshua Slocum was forced to learn the trade as a child (I mentioned this historic tidbit in a previous post). The first picture at the top of this post also shows Hooking by the Sea rugs. The second picture at the top is a wall piece from the Dancing Goat Cafe in Margaree Valley.
Today, some artists like Deanne Fitzpatrick dye their own wool and incorporate a great many other materials for artistic effect. The result may actually be a rug…or not! There seem to be no limits. Happily, hooking is not technically difficult.  Many shops sell beautiful kits. A woolen hooked rug is extremely durable and will last for years. These wall pieces are from the Deanne Fitzpatrick studio and shop in Amherst, Nova Scotia, where I got excellent information, and bought more materials!   http://www.hookingrugs.com/index.html

Be aware!! The work  at the left is imported from China. It is beautiful, elaborate, perfect and less expensive. But I don’t think hooked rugs are Chinese craft!

 Here’s just one more from my talented friend at Mi-Caréme, where this all got started:

For my Mexico pals, there is even a rug hooking project in Mexico that helps provide income for a village near San Miguel Allende! http://www.charlottebell.com/rugs/about.htm

So call me a hooker – a rug hooker!
I can hardly wait to tear up some t-shirts!


Anonymous said...

Gigi, can't tell you how much we love reading your blogs about your adventures in Nova Scotia. How proud we are that you decided to become a hooker here!!! :o) With your artistic talents, you are sure to create some awesome works of art. Hope we get a chance to see some as we journey to southern destinations.
Cheers! P & J

- Mexican Trailrunner said...

This looks like so much fun! Have you started a project yet? I think you'll be really good at this!!! Just another talent to add to your so many other talents!

C and G Taylor said...

Aw, shucks, thanks...