The Persephone Connection

ISSN 2007-1X  11th November, 2017

It was with interest I read a Facebook post by a member of The International Guild of Handhooking Rugmakers (TIGHR) about a  communal rug hooked by a UK group, the Mesdames Myrtles. The rug design was  based on the end paper panels from Persephone books ….. what are Persephone books and what is so distinctive about them?

A quick Google search  gave up information on Nicola Beauman, founder of Persephone books …. and …. the books distinctive grey covers with colourful inside floral panels.
Beauman’s choice of the name Persephone (associated with Spring, daughter of mythical Greek God Zeus) was as a symbol of female creativity.

How does this connect with a community rug making group in Wanneroo, Western Australia?

In 2016 the Wanneroo community rug group took on a project to create a piece of “hooked” signage to advertise their meeting time & place.

The sign took the form of a life-sized free standing woman to be displayed outside the Library where the group meets on Saturday mornings.

The figure was created by the use of a live “template”. A large piece of hessian was placed on the floor and a volunteer lay on top of it with an up-raised arm, to have her form drawn around with chalk.

The outline was then refined with an indelible pen and group members let their imaginations run wild as they hooked with recycled clothing to fill in the shape … creating colourful garments and facial features; not meant to resemble any particular member of the group.

As the hooked figure began to take shape she was referred to as “the Lady”.

Towards completion of the project it was decided “the lady” needed a name. Many suggestions were considered. Kath who is from England, came up with the name Persephone. The rest of us were not familiar with the name, it’s spelling or from where it was derived. Kath said she’d suggested it because the hooked female figure was so colourful with her spring-like floral embellished dress. She said Persephone was the name of the daughter of the mythical Greek God Zeus and the harbinger of Spring.

Persephone was presented to the public on 4th December 2016, International Rughooking Day. Instead of being trotted out each Saturday morning to announce the meeting of the group, she’s resided at the foot of the stairs, across from the Café, in the Library and Culture Centre. Persephone holds up a sign describing the community rug group – inviting others to take part. Occasionally her jewellery and accessories are added to or changed.

On December 4th 2017 we will meet again at the Café to recognize International Rughooking Day over an early Christmas lunch and will raise a glass to celebrate Persephone’s 1st Birthday and the connection with our rughooking friends overseas.

Editors Note:       Does your group have an activity planned for International Rughooking Day on or around the 4th December 2017?   If so, share an image from your day to Rug Hooking Magazine’s Facebook page.


………. no  not that elusive creature,

these are 2m long (6ft) enlargements, of my footprints being hooked by the Wanneroo Rugmakers as part of a research project using single-use plastic bags.

Textile artist Susan Feller (USA) included this research project in a presentation she made on “Educating about Craft” at the recent Association of Traditional Hooking Artists Biennial Conference in Cleveland, Ohio, USA.

Here’s project information sent to Susan Feller by Sue Girak PhD Visual Arts Specialist City Beach PS, Perth, West Australia, :

Walking Together with Pride is a collaborative installation that represents society’s ecological footprint. The initial phase of this project took place at City Beach Primary School in 2016. City Beach Primary School is a small government primary school located in Perth, Western Australia. Approximately 160 students attend the school which is situated in an affluent beachside suburb. Our local beaches are pristine, so it is very easy for children to underestimate the environmental degradation that is caused by plastic pollution in our oceans. As a means to highlight the growing dependence on plastic and its associated problems, the older children and I came up with the idea to make a large-scale installation artwork that would highlight the negative impact single-use plastic bags are having on the environment. When we first exhibited our eight footprints the younger students wanted the project to continue, so we invited others to add more footprints for a second showing in 2018. There is an associated research component that accompanies the project. My colleague Dr Jackie Johnson and I are interested to know if reusing discarded materials in art-making will make a difference to artists and crafts people’s environmental attitudes and behaviours. The Wanneroo Rughooking group was the first group to participate and make a start. They are using the proddy (proggy) hook method to make a pair of 180cm (6’) footprints made from salvaged plastics. As well being involved with the Wanneroo Rughooking group, Jo Franco is a member of the Western Australian Fibre and Textile Association (WAFTA). WAFTA have decided to work with my school as part of their community engagement initiative in 2017/18 and to teach rug making. I want to use old t-shirts to highlight the environmental problems associated with fast fashion. Further afield, Mandurah City Council is interested in extending the footprint project. Mandurah is a city 72 km (45 miles) south of Perth, and they want to work with their schools and community groups to produce pairs of footprints, which will be exhibited at the Drift Exhibition in May 2018. This means the footprints made by the Wanneroo Rughooking group will be exhibited twice next year. Finally, in August 2017, I presented the project at the International Society for Education through Art (InSEA) conference in Korea. The response was positive, I have schools in Beijing and Slovenia who wish to do their own footprint project and inquiries from Deakin University (Melbourne, Australia) to incorporate the concept into a community arts program.”

Susan’s presentation continued  ……..

“If any of this audience wants to participate in their research that would be great. Contact info if seriously interested in a group participation is Sue would be happy to work with a group from the US or Canada. Jackie and Sue are very interested in the creative reuse of salvageable materials in art-making and whether that would trigger shifts in environmental attitudes and behaviours.  (Sue) Originally thought that the research would only be for locals who would contribute to her school’s exhibition. However, if there are international rug makers that would like to participate, they would love to hear. While there may be problems sending actual footprints to Australia, if people are willing to make a pair (as per her instructions) and photograph them, Sue will include that in the exhibition. Her students would love to see how their art is inspiring others around the world. The research component is a before and after survey, photos to show process and the possibility of an interview.”

The Wanneroo Rugmakers have completed the “before” survey and are enjoying thinking of different creative ways to embellish the footprints. While it’s a group project, members are working independently on the footprints – each adding their own ideas and techniques.

Anna thought it would be humorous to indicate a shoe-size and knitted a strip using white plastic bags and sewed the strip onto the footprint in the shape of a figure eight, adding a one – these footprints are surely bigger than a size 18!  She is using plastic wrappers off sliced bread to fill in the foot. Coloured department store bags are being used for the toenails and the flip-flop straps.

Sharon, a new member, was taught the proggy technique and is practicing by edging the footprints. Kath made elaborate floral decorations for the flip-flop thong straps added to the footprints by Peta.

Kath discussing footprint embellishments with Adele
Colourful department store bags cut with a Townshend cutter are used to hook around the embellishments on the thong strap.
Tricia who normally works with proggy is learning to hook on this project – a challenging endeavour using the slippery plastic!

From the Editor: Jo Franco – With my WAFTA hat on, having volunteered to teach Sue’s students how to rug hook, I visited her school to deliver an over-sized rug hooking stretcher frame for them to learn on.  At that time Sue showed me footprints the students had already made and I gave me this one to take back to our group as an example.

For a base they had used a soft flyscreen material and had rolled and folded single-use plastic bags stitching them into place. Hooking through this material was not “user friendly” so we reverted to our usual Hessian backing.

This is an interesting project for our rug hooking group since we already work with recycled material and as of 2018 single-use plastic bags will be banned from supermarkets in Western Australia.  Completing the initial survey was also timely and created much discussion as we had all viewed the ABC’s TV program on the excessive amount of waste generated by the use of cheap clothing.

We’re looking forward to presenting our finished footprints to Sue’s School.












To copy or not to copy?


ISSN 2007-001X  12th September, 2017

With promotion of “Re-imagined” a Challenge with a Difference  underway, it seems appropriate to bring up that controversial subject “copyright” vs “inspiration”.

Much has been written on craft Blogs about this often misunderstood subject.
Recently two good references were posted on the Australian Rugmakers Guild Facebook page

Owning It” written by Sharon Givoni, an Australian Intellectual Property Lawyer, see a review by Lynda Worthington of Artwear Publications.

The other is a Flow Chart published in the USA, Springfield, Missouri, by Ginger Davis Allman of The Blue bottle Tree (Polymer Clay Tutorials & Info) along with an interesting article by Ginger on this subject and about her lessons learned. While Ginger is talking polymer clay, I think the information applies equally to textiles and rugmaking.
Ginger’s flow chart designed for the hobbyists and crafts-person is very easy to follow and may be copied for personal use providing the author is acknowledged, and includes the copyright information on the form.

Rug maker Kris Miller (Spruce Ridge Studios, USA) has written several Blogs on this subject. Here is the most recent Blog which covers Copyright from a rugmakers point of view.

To summarize – and remember I am not a lawyer or an expert on copyright – just someone interested who has read many articles on this subject.
Generally speaking, anything created prior to 1923 is in the public domain and can be used as inspiration (copied) as long as the artist (if known) and where the work was seen, is acknowledged.
After 1923 – it’s best to assume all works are copyrighted, which covers the life of the artist + 70 years and no amount of change (many different percentages are bandied about) allows any work to be copied without the written permission of the artist.
A work would have to be changed so much that it was unrecognizable – if that’s the case why not create your own design to begin with.

With regard to what can or cannot be copyrighted, it should be noted some subjects, such as animals and landscapes and traditional craft techniques and ideas, cannot be copyrighted. However, an animal shown in a certain way or as a design on a logo or brand of a corporation can be copyrighted.

If you feel you’re unable to come up with an idea without some form of ‘reference’ ….. use your own photographs, but be sure and document the place and time and any details of your photographs so your can trace back to you own inspirational image should your work finish up resembling that of another artist.

Problems arise because many people think;  if they’re creating a work of art for their own enjoyment with no intention of using it commercially or to show, then it’s OK to copy and just acknowledge the artist.

Unfortunately this doesn’t work – even if you don’t share on Facebook, or Pinterest or various online newsletters and Blogs, one of your friends might, and before you know it – you’ve gone VERY public indeed.

A recent example of this was a guild member who used an image from a quilt design for her rug. Since it was purely for her own use she thought all she had to do was acknowledge the artist. She submitted two rug images for inclusion in the Guild newsletter and was advised that for the copied piece to be published she would need written permission from the artist. She applied and her application was rejected. The other image she’d submitted, a rug of her own design, which she didn’t think was very good, was shown on the Guild Facebook page. Having seen both images, I think her own piece (shown below) was equally effective in both colour and design as the copied design.

The bottom line here is either purchase a commercial pattern, or come up with your own design without copying another artists work.
Remember, simple ideas i.e. geometrics, can be very effective.

You really don’t know what you can do until you try!

Trying to create something different, is the basis of the current Challenge and why the Call for Entries has such strict instructions as to the use of so many unusual embellishments.

Don’t let your Challenge entry be rejected because you’ve copied the work of another artist.

This is the reason we want members to understand the difference between “inspiration”  and “copying”


we’re looking forward to many entries being submitted.

Jo Franco, Editor & Judi Tompkins, Communications Chair

International Jurors for Australian Challenge

ISSN 2007-001X 4th September, 2017

Have you noticed a trend on the Australian Rugmakers Guild Facebook page ….. why has the focus been on textile artists and rugmakers from the USA & Canada?

The reason ….. these talented textile artists/rugmakers/designers have agreed to be the Jurors for  “Re-imagined” a Challenge with a Difference.

Susan Feller, WV USA

Susan Feller, Lori LaBerge & Michele Wise from the USA and Michelle Sirois-Silver & Katherine Soucie from Canada, all have experience curating exhibitions and judging.
We are honoured they will take time from their busy schedules as professional textile artists to create a judging format for an Exhibition which will be difficult to assess because there is; no size constraint and maybe not even a great deal of hooking in some of the entries.

Lori LaBerge, NC USA

You may be wondering what on earth I’m talking about – how could you have such an Exhibition.

Well, let me explain …… the Call for Entries went out to all rugmakers and textile artists in the Southern Hemisphere to submit a 2D or 3D creation using at least one of the listed rug making techniques.
Works will be sumitted as digital images only, so the size of the piece can be whatever the person submitting the entry feels comfortable creating.


Michele Wise, WA USA

On the other hand, the Jurors will be challenged to select 20 pieces from a catalogue of disparate works.
Works will be judged on their own merit rather than against other entries.
The selected pieces will then be shown online as a virtual Exhibition.



Michelle Sirois-Silver, BC Canada

If you’re not comfortable submitting a 3D piece, not a problem. Your 2D piece can be shown vertically, or horizontally, as there’s no venue space to consider. The challenge to incorporate embellishments from the list given in the Call for Entries is made easier because you can add without considering  serviceability, this will not be a rug for the floor.


Katherine Soucie, BC Canada

The focus is on “recycling or up-cycling” – you are required to use all of the items on the list of embellishments – using as little or as much as you choose.  A list of the required items used is to be submitted with the digital image of finished work Note; you will see under two headings “Natural” and “Recycled” there are choices – you only need to use one of the items from each list in these two categories.

The field is wide open for you to be as creative as possible, there’s no requirement for hanging, or displaying of a work, no expensive postage/insurance to consider and as this is a first of it’s kind, entry is FREE

The Call for Entries might sound strange and way out of your comfort zone – what we are trying to do is open up the Exhibition to those who practice associated textile disciplines; knitters, crocheters, spinners & weavers, felters, quilters and embroiderers, who must know or learn one of the rug making techniques and include it in some way in their creation. “How to” Videos of these techniques can easily be found online and I’m sure anyone interested in entering could find a rugmaker to teach them one of the rugmaking techniques, which doesn’t require specialized tools and frames.

This Challenge/Exhibition is to promote rugmaking by inviting non-rugmakers, and we’re encouraging all guild members to enter, either individually or collaboratively. As a collaborative group, your entry would be submitted under one name.

Re-imagined” A Challenge with a Difference was inspired by  Altered States” a WAFTA Members’ Exhibition  16 – 23 September 2017

We look forward to sharing images from WAFTA’s Exhibition after its Opening.

You can find the “Re-imagined” Call for Entries and the Entry Form on this link

Jo Franco (WA)  &  Judi Tompkins QLD)






Rughooking Calendar Updates

ISSN 2207-001X 26th May 2017


If I don’t use Facebook – how can I find out about rug hooking events  around Australia before they happen?”

Answer: Subscribe to receive notice of this Blog by email, then you can easily click over to “Current Events” without having to remember to actually go to the website.  Need help to [subscribe] using your iPad or computer? click here.

In Strathalbyn South Australia  – this weekend  (27th/28th May) is your last chance to visit Judith Stephens Open Studio.

This Exhibition of hooked rugs and items made using 10 different rug making techniques by members of the Strath Matters rug hooking group; a collection of old SEMCO rug patterns and “Have-a-go” proggy demonstrations; is part of the South Australia’s History Festival.

The theme this year is “Transport”, which lends itself to  thoughts of “magic carpets” or the magic of rag rugs.

President, Judith Stephens, SA

From Judith :

“The History Festival lasts for the month of May, and there are hundreds of activities throughout the state – some major and many small projects of all varieties.  It’s a great idea, and people really get into the swing of attending heaps of activities, so it is worthwhile. 

We’ve had about a dozen people each day we’ve been open – lots of chat about ‘I remember my grandfather ….. etc etc!’  One lady saw the old tools and exclaimed ‘is THAT what it’s used for!”

Open Studio  –  13 Old Bull Creek Rd, Strathalbyn, SA 5255.     For times and more details email  Judith

Speaking of “HISTORY”, check out the History of Australian Rugmakers on the Guild Website.

Many thanks to Corinne Ball, Curator, who retrieved the rugs from the archives of the South Australian Migration Museum, to photograph and for her permission to show the images on the Guild website.

The Migration Museum, at 82 Kintore Ave, Adelaide, South Australia 5001 is Open Daily from 10am-5pm Mon-Fri and 1pm-5pm Weekends – Admission is Free.

Looking ahead in South Australia – the Strath Matters will be demonstrating rug hooking at the  Kym Jones Craft Fair   –  Adelaide Showgrounds  on the 14th/15th July – for details email Judith Stephens  and on 18th & 19th August the group will be at the Strathalbyn Antique Fair & Crafts .


Tasmania – Joanne Wild of the Happy Hookers in Deloraine, will facilitate a traditional hooking workshop “Small Hook Rug Workshop” on  Saturday, May 27, 10 am – 1pm at the British Hotel  80 Emu Bay Rd. Deloraine, TAS 7304 for information contact Joanne Wild (03) 6368 1373


For the next six weeks at the Bendigo Bank in Deloraine there will be an exhibition of hooked rugs by the Happy Hookers and Rowdy Ruggers .

The following description is shown at the exhibition –

“Deloraine & districts has a healthy latchhook rug making community who gather regularly in public places to work wool together and share.

Joanne Wild founded the “Happy Hookers in 2002 and many works have been completed at her gatherings.  Initially people met in each other’s homes then the groups became larger so they met in bigger spaces e.g. ETC bakery’s meeting room.

Currently two groups meet regularly and this exhibit represents some current members finished pieces.

The “Rowdy Ruggers” meet at Deloraine House on Wednesdays from 1-3 pm and welcome children.  Peter Burns from this group took more than 500 hours to complete his rug and he has almost completed a matching  NEFERTITI !!!!

Happy Hookers” meet on Mondays from 10-12 noon in the back room at the British Hotel. They welcome other woollen textile artists and according to Joanne Wild are rowdy too!!!!”

VICTORIA – in July – Plan a full weekend in Wangaratta  ……

8th – 16th July, the 14th Stitched Up Textile Festival & Community Textile Exhibition; “Stitching a Story”  will be held at  Gallery 2 at Wangaratta Art Gallery, 56 Ovens St Wangaratta

Bobby George, VIC
Maggie Whyte, ACT

Australian Rugmakers Guild members, Bobby George, from Victoria  and V.Pres & Secretary, Maggie Whyte, ACT will be presenting “The Story of Rughooking” and demonstrating the craft with the public invited to “have-a-go” at rug hooking.

Sun 9 July, 9am – 3 pm


Designed, hooked and photographed by Bobby George, VIC

The Stitched Up Festival celebrates all forms of textile art & craft in and around Wangaratta in North East Victoria.


Designed, hooked and photographed by Maggie Whyte

Also in Wangaratta – on Saturday 8th – Opening Day for the Festival the Wangaratta Woollen Mills are having a one day SALE !

In Queensland  –

Bec Andersen, Textile Artist, has a full calendar of events – you can see her workshops and rug hooking gatherings for 2017  here



Alice Springs, Northern Territory  –   Beanie Festival  23rd  – 26th  June

Is this Rug hooking News?   Yes! definitely, several of the beanies created by the Wanneroo Rugmakers where made using rug hooking techniques and are for sale at Beanie Central, with a couple (not shown) entered in the Competition.

This year I’m attending the Festival – really looking forward to it, I hear they have over 4,000 beanies catalogued!    More news from Alice Springs.

Happy Hooking   Jo Franco/Editor


Canadian Exhibition

ISSN 2207-001X 4th May 2017

The event; 2017 Annual OHCG Conference, held April 28-30th in Coburg, Ontario, Canada

The Theme; Images of Canada

Canadian, Susan Sutherland, a member of the Ontario Hooking Craft Guild and this Australian Guild, attended the OHCG Conference and shared on Facebook some of her photos of the exhibits.

Aussie Guild members will recognize some of the exhibitors names as those who have visited Miriam Miller’s Rug Room in Milton, NSW or attended the 2012 The International Guild of Handhooking Rugmakers (TIGHR) Triennial Conference in South Australia and who we will hopefully meet up with again at the 2018 TIGHR Conference in Reeth in the UK.

Miriam Miller, Karen Kaiser-Wiens & Jacqui Thomson.
Barbara Lukas






Susan’s Facebook post described traditional rug hooking for her many non-rug hooking Facebook friends as :-

“painting” with wool or other strips of fabric or yarn using a simple hook with a handle, puling up a simple loop – it’s not latch hooking with short pieces of wool yarn and no plastic canvas or knots.”

Susan said, there are many different rug hooking and rug making techniques.  The Australian Guild covers them all, yes, even latch hooking.

Shown with Susan’s permission, are some of her images, including comments, and a link to a blog with more images from the Exhibition which Susan thought we might enjoy.

And finally, a friendship rug –


from the Australian Rugmakers Guild

to all in the

Ontario Hooking Craft Guild

on such a successful exhibition.

Sculptures by the Sea Cottesloe

ISSN 2207-001X   March  2017







Kerrie Argent’s entry in Sculptures by the Sea at Cottesloe Beach in Perth, Western Australia, is created from recycled jumpers (sweaters) donated from friends in Esperance, Albany, Perth and Lake Grace.

Kerrie, a member of The Western Australian Fibre & Textile Association (WAFTA), lives in Lake Grace 345k (214 miles) south east of Perth. Here is what she had to say about her 2017 installation:-

        “I’m actually trying to make us think about better use of our textiles or a second use  …….. the two lots of jumpers received from Esperance and Albany were destined for land fill. People had donated them to charity groups but as most of them were out of fashion or had moth holes or stains on them they couldn’t even be given away … there is no second life for second-hand knitted fabrics … not even the rag bag. *(see Editors note)

All the recycled fabric has had a rust dye put over it to give it the glowing golden tone and neutralise the colour tones so they are all tonal now.

While pulling 4 hand knitted jumpers to bits to recycle the wool for stitching I felt like a criminal – all that beautiful knitting, but again they were thrown out and destined for land fill. So why couldn’t we make homes for the homeless from them like the yurts of the Mongolians instead of mountains of unloved unwanted fashion waste.  Australia produces 6000kg of fashion waste every ten minutes.    

This image was posted on the 1 Million Women Facebook page

What started off as my work became a community project when I shifted into the Lake Grace Regional Art Space to use as my studio, a much bigger area. I had friends dropping in to see what I was doing and then offering to help … how can you say no. So it became quite a social event during the day, after work or on weekends, to come  stitch, chat and relax. I couldn’t keep them away, one lady drove into town 25 km every day to work on the stitching, and my 87 year old diehard helper I used to have to kick her out in the evenings otherwise she might have forgot to go home and sleep. Our locum Dr came one weekend to help, even bought pancakes and maple syrup for morning tea. And people stuck in town because of the floods ended up coming and stitching to fill in some time. How lucky am I to get all this awesome support, and they had a lovely time doing it.

Here are some images of the project underway   ………….


Stitched pieces

Rubber gloves cut off make great finger protectors and much better grip on needles”

Last of the covers finished with some of my helpers

Covers finished rolled and ready to go

Trailer packed with supports ready for transport to Perth

 Installed on Cottesloe Beach

(Images were provided by the artist with permission to publish)

  Kerrie said she would be giving artist Spotlight talks to students, if people were interested they could come and listen and if they wanted to talk after she will be there.

The dates for these talks are Thursday 16th 12.00-1.00, and Friday 17th 10.45- 11.45

Kerrie’s also giving a Spotlight talk at 10:30-11:30 Tuesday 7th, however is not available to talk after this session, because she is going to East Butler Primary School to talk to the students as they received one of her cows from the City of Perth Cow Parade, and she’s headed up to see where it’s going to live. 

*Editor’s Note:  I must introduce Kerrie to rugmaking, where you can make use of old hand knitted sweaters, as you can see by these images;   [Images Courtesy Tasmanian Wool Centre]




Sculptures by the Sea is on now until 20th March, 2017 – don’t miss this fantastic Exhibition  (and its free)

Think about your next rug hooking project ……… how can you incorporate recycled items?

Happy Hooking –  Jo Franco, Editor



Guild member receives Australia Day Award

ISSN 2207-001X


Photograph provided by Bega Valley Shire Council

While following the Bermagui Surf Life Saving project we’ve read much about Dawn’s “abundant enthusiasm” and dedication to making a difference in the community.

An article in the Bega District News – “A Lifetime of Service Spanning the Globe” gives an instight into Dawn’s early family life and her involvement with orphaned and abandoned children throughout Asia, increasing her own family of 3 to 6 with adoptions from Thailand, Sri Lanka and South Korea and her work with the Adoptive Parents Association.

How, after moving to the Bega area 20 years ago, this background as an organizer saw her become an active member of the Rural Women’s Network and a key member of the Bega Valley team hosting the 2005 Rural Women’s Gathering.

As reported in the Bega District News article, Dawn’s passion for learning and teaching led her to the Bermagui and District Branch of the University of the Third Age – a group that looks to create and foster educational opportunities for people in retirement. In this group Dawn helped broaden the variety of courses to 80 subjects available through local presenters.

One very active Bermagui and District U3A group, the rug hookers created seven amazing rug panels now hanging in the Bermagui Surf Club.

Dawn Hollins and Bermagui & District U3A Rug Hookers with Bruce McAslan President, Bermagui Surf Club.  Photographer Ben Smyth Bega District News

After the hanging and dedication of the hooked panels on the 15th December, 2016, we decided to create a Guild Video of this impressive project.

On learning Dawn was to receive the Australia Day award, it was decided to wait until 26th January, Australia Day, to publish the video – to honour Dawn’s leadership on the day of the award.

Bermagui & Districts U3A Rughooking Group members describe Dawn as a shining example of the ideal that one person can make a difference.

Congratulations Dawn

from the members of the Australian Rugmakers Guild



International Rughooking Day

ISSN 2207-001X

In Western Australia – the Making of Persephone:


Inspired by “An Invitation to a Reception & Rug Show to celebrate Sharon Townsend’s Birthday” Shown in Rug Hooking Magazine  Jun/Jul/Aug 2016 

The Wanneroo Rug Hooking Group was in need of a sign to direct members of the community to where the group meets in the Library & Cultural Centre. After seeing the advertisement for Sharon Townsend’s Birthday reception, they came up with an eye-catching idea, checked with the building administration and were given permission to display, providing it met all safety criteria.

The rughookers decided they’d like to make this a “group project”.  As their fearless leader, I was due to be away Jul/Aug/Sep, so told them to go for it and surprize me. Which they did! 

On my return, they had the figure drawn and dress hooked.   


I wondered at the strange shape of the figure, but now having seen their documented progress, kept under wraps while I was away, I understand why the lady has “short” legs.  Sooz who volunteered to be the model and in whose office the “lady” will stay during the week, was taller than the piece of backing at hand!   Something they forgot to tell me as I made some figure adjustments before the limbs were hooked. 


Trying to determine how to make this figure keep it’s flat shape and stand upright without any fear of it toppling over, was a challenge.  It will be on display in a public space and is bound to be touched by inquisitive “little hands” – we know this, as we often find pre-school kids sitting on and fingering our current “sign” a small colourful proggy rug.                   

The original plan was for the figure to be glued to plywood – however that would have made it quite heavy, so we decided to use Kira Mead’s “Grid-back” system, which worked to a point BUT in the end it was attached to a very thin plywood, then backed with a yummy Cherise-coloured  fabric – no plain neutral calico for this lady!


Finding a suitable stand with a heavy base to attach it to was the challenge. 

kira_work_standkiras_workstand_backSuggestions were made and Kira from Albany, who is so creative, came up with this, made from a recycled steam iron stand.  A good idea, however the base would have required some modification (cutting off the cord) and camouflage – more work than we had time for as the deadline of International Rughooking Day was fast approaching.

After my final hooking of the face  and hair, a product of my imagination, not modelled on any of our members, and attaching theready_to_unveil grid back  –  the project went off to Kath’s house and between Kath and husband Michael they created a sturdy stand which our “lady” who we’ve called Persephone (Daughter of Zeus, Greek Goddess of Springtime and Flowers) is attached to. After the backing went on the figure was screwed to a T-shape support, an upright center-back and a support across the shoulders. She was under wraps ready for her introduction to the Centre on International Rug Hooking Day.

 The big day arrived;  the group met in the Great Court of the Library and Cultural centre to demonstrate rughooking and to make proggy Christmas Trees from recycled fabrics.


wanneroo_rugmakers_margaret__rennettWanneroo Mayor Tracey Roberts (left) was on hand to help Kath with the unveiling


Ta Dah! – there she is ….


and reunited with Sooz, who was shown earlier as the “template” for this design.


Then it was time for High Tea at Cafe Elixir across the Court – Barb’s idea for our end of year gathering and what a good one it was!


Dress up and hats were the order of the day –


Margaret didn’t have to be told twice to dress up, she thought this a great opportunity to wear her tiara. Individual teapots were also dressed up in attractive tea cosies, the tables decorated and set with pretty china and and the food dainty and delicious!


Happy Rug Hooking Day to all and Best Wishes for the Holiday Season 

 Jo Franco, Editor

More on Australian Rugmaking History

ISSN 2207-001X

Have you noticed the number in the top right-hand corner of the Rug Hooking Australia blogs?  This number was assigned by the National Library of Australia and means Blogs can be deposited in the National Gallery of Australia archives.

Speaking of archives, information gathered by members about Australian Rug hookers prior to the formation of the Guild in 2008, is now posted in an Australian History Section on the Guild website. Readers are encouraged to contact us to add, or correct any of the information shown.

Included in this Section you’ll find information about Australian Rugmakers, listed by Name and State; information on museums with collections of early rag rugs (hooked or prodded) and articles about and by, Australian rugmakers and in some cases a link to the article.

With the publishers permission, there is a link to the full article written by an Australian and published in a 1990 issue of Rug Hooking Magazine(USA). The author comments on the history of rug hooking in Australia from early settlement, describing how the craft was carried into modern times and mentioning contemporary rughookers, in particular, Textile Artist, Isabel Foster of Victoria.

As I write this, I’m reminded of the first (new format), Rughooking Australia Blog which featured Isabel Foster and told of several guild members, myself included, who travelled from Western Australia and South Australia to Victoria in January 2014 to meet a Victorian group, the Yarra Valley Rugmakers, and attend The Challenge of Colour, Isabel Foster’s 50 Year Retrospective.   What a wonderful experience that was.

Isabel Foster (centre) at Burrinja Exhibition
Isabel Foster (centre) at the  Burrinja Exhibition, Victoria, Australia
Judith (SA), Robyne (VIC) and Jo(WA)
Judith (SA), Robyne (VIC) and Jo(WA) listening to Isabel tell of her love of colour and textiles.
Leanne, Joy, Jen & Renate
Leanne, Joy, Jen & Renate – all of Victoria, Australia

Sarah Squire Todd – Hobart, Tasmania (1861-1959) and her granddaughter Mary Ransom, were mentioned in the same magazine article.

Sarah Todd, a famous Australian wood-carver, was forced to give up wood-carving in favour of embroidery, needlework and rug-making in her advancing years.  More details of her life and art can be found [here]

The Wool Centre, Ross, Tasmania, Australia
Courtesy of The Tasmanian Wool Centre, Ross, Tasmania, Australia

The Tasmanian Wool Centre in Ross, Tasmania, has a rag rug in the Museum’s collection made by Mary Ransom born in Tasmania c 1915. It is not currently on display but can be viewed by appointment.

The list of places where rugs are found to be archived is growing.

Added to the Pioneer Women’s Hut in Tumbarumba and the Powerhouse Museum, Sydney, both in New South Wales, is the Migration Museum in Adelaide, South Australia.

Corinne Ball, Curator of the Migration Museum, provided images and has given permission to show these rugs which she thinks were made in the Depression era or thereabouts:-

Courtesy of Migration Museum, Adelaide, South Australia HT90-143
Courtesy of Migration Museum, Adelaide, South Australia HT90.143
Courtesy of Migration Museum, Adelaide, South Australia HT90.141
Courtesy of Migration Museum, Adelaide, South Australia HT90.141
Courtesy of Migration Museum Adelaide, South Australia HT90_142
Courtesy of Migration Museum Adelaide, South Australia HT90.142
Courtesy of Migration Museum, SA HT86.404 - Community Banners project 1986 "Memories & Dreams"
Courtesy of Migration Museum, SA HT86.404 – Community Banners project 1986 “Memories & Dreams”

The Museum is located in Adelaide, South Australia at 82 Kintore Ave (08) 8207 7570 …… Open Daily 10am-5pm Mon-Fri and 1pm-5p Weekends,  Admission is Free.    

More information on this Banner is available on the Museum website and there’s also an image, provided by Faye Godfrey of South Australia, of the Banner along with the group who made it, in the Guild’s History Section.

If you would like to include information about an Australian rugmaker, please email with details and permission to publish.

This history project is like a giant jig saw puzzle – it’s interesting to fit the pieces together as information comes to light. Who knew there was so much to report about rug hooking in jo_franco_editor_membership_chair_aust_rugmakers_guildAustralia.

I encourage you to read the History section and look forward to your feedback.  Jo Franco,  Editor