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.

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