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Friday, July 2, 2010

Remembering the foundation of the Guild

by Lois Morris, founder

 

After relocating from Toronto in 1973 where I had been teaching rug hooking since 1967, I  began teaching this craft in my home in Beaconsfield to a group of neighbours.


In the Fall of 1974, the City of Beaconsfield placed this notice in the local West Island newspaper The News and Chronicle:


"Creative Nineteenth Century Rug Hooking: an old craft as a new art form - with Lois Morris as instructor.



Mrs. Morris has had courses in creative design, including colour planning and dyeing.  She has worked extensively in oils and is an accomplished ceramist.

She is past president of the Mississauga branch of the Ontario Hooking Craft Guild and is a registered teacher with the Rittermere Craft Studio in Vineland, Ontario.

She taught rug hooking and design to students at the Queen Elizabeth Senior Public School in Port Credit, Ontario. She also taught private classes. The course offered is fascinating and stimulating and unlimited in scope, said a Beaconsfield spokesman.

Beginners start with a floral rug or wall hanging, learning to shade all flowers and leaves.  Progressing through a series of classes on stitching, colour planning, dyeing and sculpting, these classes provide an interesting new media for persons interested in the creative arts.”

Amongst those responding were Madeleine Bastien, Vera Kelly, Marg. O’Reilly, and Ann Grimley.  I taught this first group basic shading and continued to guide their progress with more advanced courses, as I continued to teach beginners. The Lakeshore Woolgatherers Hooking Craft Guild evolved from the original group and met at Centennial Hall or in the Chalet.  Ann Grimley, my neighbour, who had collected a few others for the first class in my house, became the first president.

The Guild was formed for the following purposes:

1. To encourage excellence of craftsmanship;
2. To foster a sense of beauty in colour and design;
3. To provide opportunities for the exchange of ideas and information among the members of the Guild;
4. To co-operate with Guilds in other crafts.

The first biannual exhibition was held in the Fall of 1975.  The name Lakeshore Hooking Craft Guild was adopted in l980. When I moved to Ottawa, Madeleine Bastien took over teaching beginners as well as intermediate courses.  Donna Bennet taught a course on pictorials. At the request of the Guild, Margaret O’Reilly taught how to dye wool in her own home.

To keep things fresh and going, periodically the Guild asked me and a few other teachers from Ontario for workshops. At monthly meetings they also had many guest speakers on other crafts and held many mini-workshops. In 1993, my husband retired and we relocated to our renovated weekend home in Rawdon, northeast of Montreal. I returned to the Guild in Beaconsfield, and continue to teach the members.  The Guild changed its name again when revising its constitution in 2003 to Beaconsfield Hooking Crafters Guild.

While the City of Beaconsfield is celebrating its one hundred years, this year the Guild is celebrating its 35th anniversary with a show full of new and old rugs depicting its history, and that of rug hooking itself, with some antique pieces.