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Hooked Road of Memories

A guild celebrates provincial history

By: Joan Foster / Photography by Margie Angel

Beothuk Mamateek, 15" x 9", wool yarn and birch bark on burlap. Designed and hooked by Teresa Greene, Millertown, NL, 2017. These rugs depict various aspects of the area’s heritage. For example, Beothuk Mamateek, hooked by Teresa Greene, pays tribute to a now-extinct indigenous group, the Beothuks. Birch bark was used by the Beothuks to construct boats and buildings, and Teresa has hooked birch bark into the piece. 

On the east coast of Canada lies the province of Newfoundland and Labrador—perhaps best known for its rugged coastlines, friendly people, fishing outports, and North America’s oldest city—St. John’s. Although the population is just half a million, its rich heritage spans back to the time of the Beothuk Indians, the Innu, and Inuit peoples, long before explorers like John Cabot and the Vikings of 1000 years ago.

That rich heritage includes rug hooking (or mat hooking, as locally known), brought to the province in the nineteenth century by sailors and settlers who came primarily from the Dorset area of England. However, with increased prosperity the need for hooked mats as floor coverings decreased. It was looked on as a “chore of poverty,” and the hooking tradition almost disappeared. In 1995 the Rug Hooking Guild of Newfoundland and Labrador (RHGNL) was formed, and it has fostered the resurgence of the craft in the province. A current project entitled “Hooked Road of Memories” commemorates various historical sites, events, and locations in the province. Members of the Guild hooked 34 pieces, which are being shown at various locations around the province. The official opening, held at the Cupids Legacy Centre in May, 2017, was attended by His Honour Lieutenant Governor Frank Fagan and Her Honour, Patricia Fagan.

Other notable pieces in the “Hooked Road of Memories” exhibit include lighthouses, churches, hospitals, family homes, and other community structures. Hooked mats celebrate traditional occupations such as fishing and logging.

“Hooked Road of Memories” has been instrumental not only in presenting historical themes in hooked form, but in raising awareness of the tradition of mat hooking and the importance of preserving it for generations to come. It has been welcomed so far at the Cupids Legacy Centre, Twillingate Museum, Woody Point Merchant’s Premises, Grenfell Interpretation Centre in St. Anthony, and is currently touring the Provincial Arts and Culture Centres at Labrador City, Corner Brook, Stephenville, Gander, and Grand Falls. On March 17, it will open at Devon House, St. John’s, and from there be exhibited at the Clarenville Library in May, at the Lester Garland House, Trinity in June, at Fogo Island in July, and then the pieces will be returned to their owners at RHGNL Rug Camp August 16-19, 2018. For more information on the exhibit and on the Rug Hooking Guild of Newfoundland and Labrador, check out the website at www.rhgnl.ca

Where to See "Hooked Road of Memories"

The exhibit has been shown at the Cupids Legacy Centre, Twillingate Museum, Woody Point Merchant’s Premises, Grenfell Interpretation Centre in St. Anthony, and is currently touring the Provincial Arts and Culture Centres at Labrador City, Corner Brook, Stephenville, Gander, and Grand Falls. 

Upcoming Locations Include: 

March 17:
Devon House, St. John's, NL 
May: Clarenville Library, Clarenville, NL 
June: Lester Garland House in Trinity, NL
July: Visitor Information Center on Fogo Island, NL 

Rug Hooking Guild of Newfoundland and Labrador "Hooked Road of Memories" Exhibit

  1. Parish Hall Griquet, 24.5” x 21.5”, wool and acrylic yarn on burlap. Designed and hooked by Jackie Alcock, Corner Brook, NL, 2017.  

  2. Cape St. Mary’s, 16” x 18”, wool fabric on burlap. Designed and hooked by Amy Burden, Eastport, NL, 2017.

  3. First Ladle Cove Post Office, 18” x 11.5”, wool yarn on burlap. Designed by Joan Foster, hooked by Peggy Butt, Springdale, NL, 2017.

  4. Change Island House, 25” x 20”, wool fabric and yarn on burlap. Designed by Elizabeth Walker, hooked by Ruth Chaffey, Lewisporte, NL, 2000.

  5. Woody Point Heritage Theatre, 17.5” x 14”, wool yarn on linen. Design adapted from a photo by Tom Cochrane, hooked by Rose Dewhirst, Corner Brook, NL, 2017.

  6. Parks Canada Beaver, 12” x 14”, wool yarn on linen. Designed by Marilyn Moore, hooked by Diana Dove, Twillingate, NL, 2017.

  7. The Matthew, 13” x 14”, polyester knits on verel. Designed by Linda Peckford, hooked by Diana Dove, Twillingate, NL, 1999.

  8. Old Court House, 17” x 15”, wool yarn on burlap. Designed and hooked by Diana Dove, Twillingate, NL, 2017.

  9. Root Cellar, 17” x 13”, wool yarn on burlap. Designed and hooked by Diana Dove, Twillingate, NL, 2017.

  10. Tilting National Historic Site, 22” x 27”, wool fabric on linen. Designed and hooked by Lillian Dwyer, Tilting, NL, 2017.

  11. Camp Two, 18” x 11”, wool fabric on linen. Designed and hooked by Joan Foster, Springdale, NL, 2011.

  12. St. James Anglican Church, 17” x 13”, polyester knits and velour on burlap. Designed and hooked by Joan Foster, Springdale, NL, 2009.

  13. Cape St. John Lighthouse, 24” x 18”, wool fabric on linen. Designed and hooked by Joan Foster, Springdale, NL, 2012.

  14. Morrissey at Battle Harbour, 25.5” x 16.5”, wool fabric on yarn. Designed and hooked by Joan Foster, Springdale, NL, 2017.

  15. Beothuk Mamateek, 15” x 9”, wool yarn and birch bark on burlap. Designed and hooked by Teresa Greene, Millertown, NL, 2017.

  16. Chambers Cove, 17” x 14”, wool fabric on verel. Designed and hooked by Mary Hickman, St. Lawrence, NL, 2017.

  17. Rencontre West, 22” x 15”, wool fabric on burlap. Designed and hooked by Mary Hickman, St. Lawrence, NL, 2005.

  18. Northcliffe Cottage Hospital, 26” x 13”, wool yarn on linen. Designed by Shirley Morrow, hooked by Marnie Hillyard, Mount Pearl, NL, 2017.

  19. Corner Brook Hospital, 22” x 16”, wool fabric on linen. Designed and hooked by Georgie Macfie, St. John’s, NL, 2017.

  20. Gros Morne Memory, 19” x 19”, wool fabric and wool yarn on linen. Inspired from a photo by Duncan de Young, Shutterstock and hooked by Lisa Meecham, Burlington, ON, 2016.

  21. Old Boat, 24” x 17”, polyester knits on burlap. Designed and hooked by Marilyn Moore, Heart’s Content, NL, 2010.

  22. Hawthorne House, 23” x 16.5”, wool yarn on monk’s cloth. Designed and hooked by Marilyn Moore, Heart’s Content, NL, 2017.

  23. Lift Bridge at Howley, 22” x 16”, wool yarn on linen. Designed and hooked by Marilyn Moore, Heart’s Content, NL, 2017.

  24. Bull Moose, 22” x 16”, polyester knits on burlap. Designed and hooked by Marilyn Moore, Heart’s Content, NL, 2011.

  25. Grandparents’ House, 23” x 20.5”, wool fabric on linen. Designed by Dianne Warren, hooked by Elizabeth Morris, Conception Bay South, NL, 2016.

  26. Tree of Life – Bethel El Synagogue, 29” x 23”, wool fabric and wool yarn on linen. Designed and hooked by Susan Campbell Murray, Portugal Cove, NL, 2017.

  27. Saved by the Light, 18” x 14”, wool fabric and hosiery on burlap. Designed and hooked by Cindy Parmiter, Point Leamington, NL, 2016.

  28. Faith of our Fathers, 22” x 21”, wool fabric and hosiery on burlap. Designed and hooked by Cindy Parmiter, Point Leamington, NL, 2016.

  29. St. Pat’s Church, 15” x 10”, wool yarn on burlap. Designed and hooked by Joan Payne, Woody Point, NL, 2017.

  30. On the Marsh, 23” x 18”, various recycled fabrics. Designed by Elizabeth Walker, hooked by Linda Peckford, Lewisporte, NL, 1999.

  31. Holy Trinity Church Codroy, 24” x 20”, hosiery on rug warp. Designed and hooked by Una Reid, Corner Brook, NL, 2017.

  32. Peter Parsons Museum, 12.25” x 9.75”, wool yarn on verel. Designed by Joan Foster, hooked by Mary Spencer, Springdale, NL, 2017.

  33. Colonial Building, 23” x 18”, wool fabric on linen. Designed and hooked by Dianne Warren, St. John’s, NL, 2017.

  34. Shoal Brook United Church, 16” x 16”, hosiery on rug warp. Designed and hooked by Molly White, Woody Point, NL, 2016.

Thanks to All Who Made it Happen

The Committee: Chairwoman Marilyn Moore, Diana Dove, Joan Foster, Marnie Hillyard.
Several members of the Rug Hooking Guild of Newfoundland and Labrador assisted by helping with the display and by holding rug hooking demonstrations and hook-ins at several sites. In addition, local branches hosted workshops with Guild instructors to coincide with the showing of the display in their area.

Joan Foster, of Springdale, Newfoundland and Labrador, is a founding member and certified teacher of the Rug Hooking Guild of Newfoundland & Labrador. She has taught workshops across Canada and at Sauder Village, Ohio. She sells her own east coast designs through a home-based business. Facebook: Joan Foster Rug Hooking

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