Sometimes hooking is inadvertently passed down from one generation to the next. This rug was started by my grandmother, hooked on by my mother, and presented to me by my father with the question “Could you finish hooking this for me?” fifty years after it was started. My grandmother learned rug hooking and taught it to my mother. I learned rug hooking many years later from my sister-in-law’s mother, not realizing my mother or grandmother had ever hooked rug.
As I was working on the central floral motif in our city arts center, a man came into the room and asked about the rug. He claimed it was an interesting mix of eastern and western rug hooking styles. At the time I had no idea we had eastern and western styles of rug hooking in Canada. He claimed the geometric border was typical of the east, and the floral center a typical western style. He collected rugs and was quite interested in knowing the history of the rug and where it was going. I sadly told him it was on fifty year old burlap and heading back to my father.
Fifty year old burlap is a dicey thing to hook on. Often it is brittle, especially if kept in a dry climate. But this was stored in a damp, drafty old Nova Scotia farmhouse for most of its years. The burlap was surprisingly supple to work with and only came apart in a couple of places, requiring mending.
Today I am at my father’s and taking photos of the rug for my portfolio. There is a certain sense of a circle completed. A rug finished. A reconnection with my grandmother and mother, both long gone now. Sometimes rug hooking is like that.