From the Pages of a Book
Anne of Green Gables Inspires a New Rug Hooker
Glimmers of Hope, 48" x 18", recycled hand-dyed wool on linen. Designed and hooked by Joy Marshall, Lilydale, Victoria, Australia, 2013.
For Australian artist and Baptist associate pastor Joy Marshall, a long-distance trip in mid-2011 to faraway Prince Edward Island (PEI), Canada, was the realization of a long-held and much-anticipated literary dream of more than twenty years. What she didn’t realize at the time was that it would also be the serendipitous catalyst for another journey which Joy was about to embark on: the fascinating world of rug hooking.
As an avid reader and fan of acclaimed Canadian author Lucy Maud Montgomery since her early teens, Joy was drawn to visit the real-life inspiration for the fictional world depicted so vividly and evocatively by the emotionally sensitive, nature-loving Montgomery.
But, like most women, Joy’s desire to set out on her literary pilgrimage was delayed by motherhood, as she focused on raising her young family, as well as part-time church ministry duties. However, her years of love and devotion were repaid, as her adult children and church community rallied to help raise the funds for Joy to finally make the pilgrimage to PEI, the birthplace of L. M. Montgomery and the setting of many of her endearing stories, including the world-famous classic novel, Anne of Green Gables.
It was during her tour of Montgomery-related literary sites, such as Green Gables Heritage Place, Lucy Maud Montgomery Birthplace museum, Anne of Green Gables Museum, and Bideford Parsonage Museum, that Joy noticed the colorful, traditional hand-hooked rugs, which she had first spied in a gift shop soon after arriving in PEI. Creating hooked rugs was a great source of social enjoyment and pride for Island women of Montgomery’s era, with PEI widely acknowledged as a focal point of skilled rug makers.
After becoming intrigued with the texture and look of these unique and artistic rugs, Joy was disappointed to discover on her return to Australia that supplies were difficult to source and she could not find anyone locally in her home state of Victoria to teach her this traditional handicraft.
Undeterred, Joy searched online and bought her first project, a pretty kit designed by Nova Scotia rug hooker Deanne Fitzpatrick that captured the picturesque Maritimes landscape with which Joy had become so enamored. Joy fortuitously came across Gene Shepherd’s Internet Rug Camp beginner instructional videos, as well as the recently formed Australian Rug Makers Guild, and was soon happily pulling loops.