BY: STEPHANIE READ
Welcome to another scintillating installment of Exhibition Reviews! As the leaves fall and the chill of winter approaches, I have decided to review a lovely exhibit currently on show at the Textile Museum of Canada, “Home Economics: 150 Years of Canadian Hooked Rugs”. What better encapsulates the fall-time than a good old fashioned rug-hook in front of the warm glow of Netflix with a cup of pumpkin chai tea at your elbow? Nothing, that is what.
If rug hooking isn’t really your thing, these following tidbits should be enough to sway you on the subject:
-Your grandmother most likely hooked rugs. You don’t want to disappoint Grandma, do you?
-People who hook rugs refer to themselves as ‘hookers’. ‘Nough said.
-Oh, and this:
Nancy Edell, Peter and Nancy as the two-headed Dog (1993), 66 x 93 cm, Various yarns and burlap, Dalhousie Art Gallery permanent collection, gift of the artist, 1999. Photo: Steve Farmer. Textile Museum of Canada, 2015.
Journey into the wild, wacky and creative world of the Canadian hooked rug tradition. Learn about the “Gagetown hookers”, a prolific rug-hooking power-couple who crafted as a form of therapy after the loss of their farm in the mid-20th century. Take an up-close look at the exquisite colours, design and craftsmanship of early 20th century hookers in Quebec and the polished technique of the Grenfell Mission artists in Newfoundland and Labrador. The fabric puffs are a textile equivalent of the Colville-ian pointillism so close to Canadians’ hearts.
Be transported by iconic Canadian landscapes through the eyes of everyday people across seasons and time…
hooked rug, Canada, c1926 (T03.14.1), Textile Museum of Canada, 2015
…and take a break from the rat-race to enjoy a floor-to-ceiling salon-style collection of playful, quirky and deeply personal rugs depicting a range of subjects from pets, lobsters, a demonic pygmy goat and a very, very startled horse.
You will leave the exhibition with a new-found sense of awe and respect for this craft, especially if you try a hand at ‘hooking’ yourself at the demo table in the Fibrespace activity area! If you are a crafter or rug- hooker, this is an excellent opportunity to learn more about the history of the craft in Canada and to see some inspiring artwork!
|The perfect rug for your... bathroom. (Joanna Close, The Kitchen (2014), Hand-dyed wool rag and burlap, 78 x 78 cm, Collection of the artist. Photo: Steve Farmer. Textile Museum of Canada, 2015)|
"Home Economics" is on display until February 8, 2016. Be sure to check out my favourite piece, a lovely sheep with puffy wool! (St Lawrence Valley, Quebec, 1936-1940)
Do you have any personal memories of crafters, artisans or rug 'hookers'? Let me know in the comments below!