Creativity on the Sunshine Coast

ISSN 2207-001X  20th July, 2017

I travelled a great distance across Australia from Perth, in the West, to Queensland on the East Coast, (with a detour up the “red centre” to attend the Alice Springs Beanie Festival) to meet in Beerwah, Queensland with these extremely creative members of the Sunshine Coast Rugmakers Group.

However, I’m not the only one who has covered many outback miles to get here. Gail lives in Mitchell, QLD, West of Beerwah and she drove over 600ks (361 miles) a 6.5hr (non-stop) drive.

Gail; living in the Outback, is a solitary rug hooker and self taught, who likes to visit this group occasionally when the opportunity arises. We’ve had some phone and email conversations about The International Guild of Handhooking Rugmakers and I was pleased she came today to meet up with me.

Gail normally designs her own patterns, but is currently working on a Moose pattern purchased online from Deanne Fitzpatrick, Canada.  When we saw the yarn Gail had spun to use in this piece – everyone decided they must have some! and encouraged her to spin more. Purchase details for this brilliantly coloured yarn can be found on the Swap n Sell page of the Australian Rugmakers Guild website.

On a previous visit Gail shared some of her spun mohair (fuzzy) yarn with Pat who really liked the way it hooked up.

Pat; is currently working on a 3D (Waldobrough) frog pattern which she designed. A novelty blue yarn with a sparkle really gives an interest to the water under the lily pads in the hooked “pond”.  Judi Tompkins the leader of this group specializes in 3D works and has encouraged members of the group to give it a try.

Annette; arrived with her hooked “bear skin” – this project is being completed in two pieces because it would otherwise be very heavy and unwieldy.  When hooked, the body and back legs will be attached behind the head.

Annette showed us how she had used a hook to complete the bear’s face with a crocheted chain stitch. She inserts the backing between the hook and the chain being crocheted.  The backing(foundations cloth) for this project is a length of recycled curtain, it’s soft and easy to manipulate.   When the hooking is finished the edges will be turned under and a fabric backing will be stitched on.

Here is a close up image of the inside of an ear being worked in the chain stitch.

Annette said she could see this rug being used by a child to lay on to read a book, the raised bear head would make a good backrest.
What a great way to encourage kids to read!

Stella hooked away quietly throughout the afternoon of animated conversations.

  She’s working on a piece she drew inspired by an (Indian) Mewar design. Embellishments already include tails, manes and udders on the hooked animals.

Judy (Owen – not to be confused with Judi Tompkins) brought her latest rug to show me

it’s a combination of cross stitched floral squares which have been joined together using the proggy technique, with a hooked outside border picking up the colours of the flowers. It’s really quite dramatic and the colours in the border pull it all together beautifully.

Judy was a little concerned the proggy joins of the squares might cause ridges and a tripping hazard – not so, the rug lays flat on the floor and the black raised technique doesn’t create any visual lines, however accentuates each of the floral inserts.

After telling the group about a rug hooking challenge Judy Tompkins and I had discussed in length that morning, and  plan to present publicly in the near future,

Jo, Judy O, Pat & Stella, Back row – Annette & Gail (hidden)

the group discussed a recent interview between Judi and myself about creativity in hooking – it was interesting to hear the feedback as to whether they saw rug hooking as an art and themselves as artists :-

Gail felt her rug hooking was definitely art rather than craft, as she creates her own designs – her other comment was her rug hooking relieved stress. While the others mostly agreed, some felt that it also created a certain amount of stress – having to come up with a design and colour plan.

Annette thought rug hooking was addictive and also said it was a release for her fabric hording. She also felt a certain freedom working without a pattern or instruction.

Pat was drawn to watching her projects grow and attempting new techniques .

Judy O felt a certain amount of satisfaction being able to pull her other textile interest together with rug hooking techniques

and Stella eloquently commented on how she ….. loved the freedom, the fact that there were no limits, she found things in nature – particularly trees – spoke to her creative/spiritual side the most and she lost herself in those projects.   Also, it was “fast” – everyone agreed that while rug hooking was not fast for them, rug hooking was fast for Stella – maybe because she is able to loose herself in her projects and like today, she didn’t stop hooking as she talked.

Videos were made of the conversations taking place during the afternoon.

I discovered there is much to learn in order to be a videographer. Being so inexperienced, I now have many “segments”, which hopefully can be “stitched” together at some point in time to be shared online or by DVD.

The idea being, those who do not have the same opportunity to get together with a group, might enjoy hearing the conversations of like minded people. Here is one of the segments as an example ….


I hope you enjoy reading about this interesting afternoon. We look forward to you joining the discussion so feel free to click the “comment” link below and let us know what you think! The other links will redirect you to the ARG website.(Please note you don’t need to have a WordPress blog, but you do need to register with WordPress to leave a comment)

Happy Creative Rugmaking  – Jo Franco, Editor

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