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Rug Hooking Tradition or Traditional Rug Hooking?

Does it really matter as long as we hook?

By: Deanne Fitzpatrick

Deanne at her Cheticamp frame, the same kind of frame that generations have used before her.

Traditional. The word brings up all kinds of connotations. There are traditions that we love and look forward to, and those that we would rather avoid. We might find ourselves going through the motions and carrying out some traditions time and time again.

It is hard to break tradition, but sometimes we stretch ourselves and we change things up and go for something completely different. Traditional often means something that is long established, classic, and conventional. It can also mean something that is habitually done.

What about tradition in rug hooking? I am following a strong tradition of rug hooking. I carry out the technique in a traditional way, and I certainly do it habitually, though I am not what you would call a traditional rug hooker. When you say someone is a traditional hooker it implies that they shade flowers and do fine cuts.

Yet the truth is this: all of us are traditional rug hookers, even those of us that like wide cuts of cloths and funky colors. We are traditional because we are all following this strong beautiful tradition, set down long before we ever set foot here. Sometimes in the morning when I poke the embers in my wood stove and I see a lump of wood turned to coal, I remember what my father told me. He said, “My mother used to take a piece of charred coal out of the fire and mark her pattern on a burlap bag.” So there I am at my own wood stove, almost a hundred years later, thinking about how my grandmother used to draw her rug hooking patterns—proof that I am following a strong tradition yet I would never call myself a traditional rug hooker.


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