8 Nov 2016
Joyce Sferco is a member of Faye Godfrey’s rughooking group in Elizabeth, South Australia. In a letter recently posted to Faye and forwarded by email –
I began rug hooking in the Adult Education Class run by Pam Whitehead in 1976. I made my first rug for my daughter. It was rectangle in shape with pansies and daisies and a spray of leaves the background was lavender, her favourite colour, with the outer border in purple.
Our pure wool fabric was either new or more likely from coats and skirts brought from Op Shops. These were unpicked, washed and cut into strips or dyed if not the right colour.
Rug Hooking brings good memories of choosing a new design, picking out colours, being excited to get started on it. Over 30 years we met at Pam’s the last Sunday of the month with our rugs to show our progress. It was a friendly, supporting group I remember the many times we displayed our rugs at the Lyndock Institute as part of the Vintage Festival.
When the Migration Museum was opened in Adelaide, we were asked to put in a banner to represent our group. Each of us did a 12inch panel depicting where we or our family migrated from.
I give my permission to use my name and State for the history of Australian Rug Hooking.
Joyce Sferco, South Australia
Note from Faye Godfrey –
The Vintage Festival Joyce mentioned – was in the Barossa Valley. The Lyndoch Institute is managed by local volunteers and was a hired venue only.
The Migration and Settlement Museum banner was made with each group member hooking a piece depicting their original ancestry on an even weave furnishing fabric which was combined with green hooked edgings through both layers on to burlap. We all enjoyed the special unveiling of the banners entered.
Ten separate panels each represent a different migrant heritage. Three cultural traditions are highlighted: English, Irish and German. Symbols associated with the old country combine with details of the immigrant’s journey and images of life in the new land.
The rug hooking group was originally known as “American Rug Hooking Group” as the method and construction of our rugs was that of North America. This was because Pam Whitehead learnt to teach using the Pearl McGown method and was an accredited Pearl McGown teacher. Pam lived in Toronto Canada for some years prior to coming to Australia, she was originally from Lancashire UK.
The name of the group mutated to just “Elizabeth Rug Hooking Group” as the general public thought we were Americans and not locals.
We do have photos of almost every exhibit in the Salisbury Gallery display. Students with less than 12 months experience were my class and they were thrilled to be part of this event.