Lucille is the landlady of Rachel’s boarding house. She is also one of several local women who hook rugs. One Friday night, at loose ends in Twig, Rachel joins them for a session:
Flossie and Annie, who it transpired were sisters, sat side by side, their hooks moving in time. Flossie’s rug featured a bright orange house with the ever-present sea behind it. Annie’s was much more detailed. It showed a woman in red dress and white apron, standing in a grassy yard, pegging sheets to a clothesline. Flossie and Annie hooked like Lucille, row by row.
In contrast to the others, Biddy seemed to hook freestyle. In her design a woman knelt in a wooded area, picking blueberries. I marvelled at Biddy’s hook roaming the surface of the burlap. When I commented on it, she said, “Ah sure, as long as you fills it in, it don’t matter how. I likes to meander.”
The speed at which the scenes unfolded was unbelievable, the blank canvasses filling in rapidly before my eyes. It amazed me that the women were creating such vivid works of art from a bit of burlap and recycled wool and rags. But they would not accept my effusive praise.
“Ah go on with ye,” said Lucille. “It’s only a bit to rest your toes on.”
“You knows yourself,” said Flossie.
“Sure anyone could make these,” added Biddy.
I’m not sure anyone could hook a rug, but maybe someday I’ll have a go. If nothing else, I’d like to buy one, maybe one hooked by Newfoundland artist Deanne Fitzpatrick who now lives in Nova Scotia. Deanne kindly granted me permission to use the beautiful image above. Her rugs are magnificent; you can see some more of them here.
Are you crafty? (in either sense of the word)