Rugs on the Rocks is a rug hooking group that meets every Thursday from September to June, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the Older Adults Centre in Sudbury, Ontario. Our group is composed of a number of very talented people with a wealth of knowledge, raw beginners, and everything in between. We share information and technique, and we learn from each other in a non-judgmental and fun environment.
Rug hooking is not simply about covering floors. Rug hooking is much more than that. Creativity, Individuality, Beauty, Colour, Artistry, Tactile Stimulation, Recycling, Practicality, and Historical Tradition come together in a hooked rug.
Hooked rugs are truly priceless because so much of the lives of their makers go into them. The life is inherent not just in the strips torn from clothing worn by family and friends, but also in the memories these fabrics evoke.
We are enthusiastic about our art form because it has unlocked for us a door of expression.
Through the generosity of a number of rug hookers, that door to artistic expression has been opened to our group.
Prior to 1800, the floors of most North American homes were kept bare. Sand was spread evenly over the floor and brushed with a broom into swirls. Before the turn of the century, Bed Rugs were used. This is where the term rug may have come from. It was spelled rugg. These were creations made with great skill using new fabric and carefully planned. They were used for a long period of time on the same bed since they were cherished. They did wear out and sometimes were finally placed on the floor.
Carpet mills in America started in 1825. Carpets were expensive and only for the affluent, however they inspired homemakers to try to cover their floors. The need to cover floors was thus started. The first hooked rug was made in Canada or in the United States. In the 19 century, the area of Maine, New Hampshire, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and French Quebec was really one continuous region. Rug hooking becomes folk art.
The hooking technique itself is quite simple. The strip of cloth is held beneath a woven foundation, usually burlap, which is stretched onto a frame. A hook is inserted through an opening on the surface and a loop of the cloth strip is pulled up through it. The hook is then inserted into an adjacent hole and an additional loop is pulled up; the closer the loops, the tighter the pile. After the hooking is complete the loops are sometimes clipped at varying heights.
The many basic crafts so closely connected with these rugs, such as dyeing, weaving, sewing and hooking itself, show the skills that are involved in making these rugs. The art, however, is in the design and the use of color.