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On this Blog you will find articles about our activities and archives from 3 of the Guild's Web pages:
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Friday, July 2, 2010

How I got “hooked” on rug hooking?

by Kay Cousineau

In 1977, while reading the local paper, I came across a photo of a friend with two members of a newly formed group of rug hookers demonstrating their craft for their upcoming first exhibition. I asked my friend what exactly is rug hooking and the more she told me the more I became interested, as I have always been fond of all types of crafts.  Upon inquiring, I was invited to sit in on one of their beginners’ classes, taught by Lois Morris, who introduced this craft to the West Island community of Beaconsfield, where I resided. Well, suffice it to say I was completely “hooked” and have never stopped hooking since. I signed up for every course that was offered by the city in those early stages of the guild and made many new friends through our mutual interest in the craft.  For over 35 years the City of Beaconsfield has accommodated us with the use of Centennial Hall for our meetings and exhibitions, and we are ever so grateful because this historic house, situated on the shores of the St. Lawrence River, is such an ideal venue to meet and inspire us in the practice of our craft.

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.

35 years ago

by Denise Vandenbemden


Artist: Salvatore Vuono at www.freedigitalphotos.net
In Beaconsfield, Quebec, Canada, a few stay at home moms, friends, came together and started hooking rugs, one of them was Lois Morris. She was an artist and a licensed rug hooking teacher and under her guidance the group grew and became a guild, the Beaconsfield Rug Hooking Crafters Guild.

At the same time, in Belgium, I had a teenage daughter and a full time job. I knew very little about Canada and nothing at all about traditional rug hooking, but I made latch hooked rugs. Latch hooked rugs came in kits, the pattern printed onto the backing and the wool already cut. When I became a single mom and finances ran low, the expensive kits made place for needle point which, later on, made place for embroidery. 

Seven years ago, I discovered the many beauties and cultures of Canada as well as the privilege of living in Beaconsfield and the joy of rug hooking. Already the first year of my arrival I saw a demonstration of the craft during the Heritage Day celebration and it was love at first sight. I was “hooked”.  

I have not one artistic bone in my body and creativity is something my brain does not handle well, every new project is a challenge and it takes me weeks to find the right pattern and the right colors and since I am a Virgo and Virgos are known to be perfectionists I am never entirely happy with the result, and this is good. It keeps me going, trying to get to the same level of accomplishment as those ladies who started 35 years ago and are still members today. And then there is Lois, the founder of the Guild, who now lives in Rawdon and comes down to Beaconsfield every single Monday from September to May.  She still teaches the tricks of the trade to us, newcomers, with the same energy and the same enthusiasm as 35 years ago.  We can’t thank her enough for this. 

If 35 years ago someone had told me that I would end up in Canada, being the president of the Beaconsfield Rug Hooking Crafters, I would have called 911, convinced that the person was in need of mental help, and yet, here I am, feeling blessed and privileged and celebrating the Guild to which I am proud to belong.