Emery, Joyce (South Australia)

The following information came from Joyce Emery via email to Jo Franco after the two met at the inauguration of the Australian Rugmakers Guild, Oct. 2008.

joyce-emeryFrom Joyce:  

“American style rug hooking started in Elizabeth in the early 60’s when  a lady from Canada came to live here. She was Pam Whitehead, she had been making rugs in Canada for some time and had done a course at the Rowan studio. [NB: Pam was from Lancashire, UK, and emigrated to Australia after spending time in Canada]

I was teaching in the Elizabeth Girls Technical High School at the time and found out that Pam was holding evening classes there. The original members of that class stayed together as friends and met at Pam’s house on the first Sunday of the month for over 30 years. During those years all of us passed on our craft to others. Pam had classes in the evenings in Elizabeth, Salisbury, the Barossa and the Hills.

I taught groups in Eudunda, Gawler, Salisbury, Spinners & Weavers Guild, Stansbury and demonstrated all over the State during the 150th celebrations.

I have made over 50 rugs and wall hangings both floral and geometric. I have also made 2 large pictures depicting special activities in the sky. Haley’s Comet and Jupiter.  I have only ever sold one rug when I was helping to set up an exhibition at the institute in Lyndoch. Every Easter our group put a collection of our rugs, made in the previous year, in the hall for the Vintage Festival.

From the original group new groups formed as we moved within the State. A large group was created in Mt. Gambia by Rene Moss.  Faye had a group in the Grenville Centre in Elizabeth and I had a group in Salisbury, each one meeting every week.  Now all these have closed as people have got older and our craft involves patience and time and there are no people interested any more in working to make rugs. I have been showing how to make cushion covers out of wool, spun wool is not good as rugs as it will wear.

Of course when we started, the classes were done through adult ed. and the Education Dept so we never had to worry about getting people to learn, we always had good numbers and people in the country could get a teacher to go to them  to run a class.”


From the Editor – Jo Franco – 1st Nov 2016  –  I have it on good authority, Joyce has completed 52 rugs and has two yet to finish.

The following information is taken, with permission, from the website of Deb Merriam http://sustainableslow.blogspot.com.au/2015/08/traditional-rug-hooking-resources-rug.html    

The Rowan Studio, in Canada (mentioned by Joyce) was run by Margaret and Ted Rowan. It became Rittermere and then Rittermere-Hurst and is now the rug hooking supply store of Rittermere-Hurst-Field.

Margaret and Ted Rowan were the authors of Creative Approach to Rug Hooking – Crewel embroidery techniques adapted to rug hooking stitches (1968).