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Leslie Langille: Hooked on History

Canadian Connection

Photography by Peter Van Gurp

Boston Sidewalk is a common design in Lunenburg County. 28" x 50", #5- and 6-cut wool on Scottish burlap. Hooked by Leslie Langille, Clementsport, Nova Scotia, 2010.

As a very young boy growing up in Lunenburg County, Nova Scotia, Leslie Langille was fascinated by his grandmother as she hooked rugs on her large stretcher frame. He still remembers the oil lamp resting on a tin pie plate on his grandmother’s work in progress so that she could continue to hook through the dark winter evenings.

Leslie’s grandmother died when he was just five years old. He was so intrigued by the art of hooking, however, that two years later, he nailed four boards together, sewed on a piece of backing, and hooked his first mat.

He spoke about hooking rugs in the 1950s. “We used osenburg for backing,” Leslie recalled. “I remember that it cost $0.36 per yard and was 30 inches wide. That is why so many of the early rugs are 28 or 29 inches wide. People hooked right to the very edge.”

Little did Leslie know that the small mat he made, inspired by memories of his grandmother, would be the first in an extensive collection. 

Leslie hooked rugs with any kind of material he could find. “Back then, we had access to a lot of natural materials,” he explained. “We used cotton, sweaters, socks, and, my favorite, flannel.”

This article is from the March/April/May 2014 issue. For more information on our issues, check out our issues page.
 

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