Noteworthy and Current Information
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Education Opportunities - See the calender for a complete list of education opportunities
Spotlight on Pioneers: Rita Alfrey
I would like to welcome each and everyone of you. You may be new to us, or a long standing member, either way I am grateful you have joined us here on our new website.
This guild was new to me just a few short years ago. I was captivated the first moment I saw this craft presented to me in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia just 7 years ago. Up until that time I had never seen this art form before. It took my breath away from the very rustic folk art style to the most intricately created portraits I saw in the Maritime Museum. After that I knew I was hooked, and I had to try it too.
When I returned home I had a fortuitous encounter at Kal Tire... I met Mary, a very talented artist and the vice president of the guild at the time! She told me about this wonderful group here in our city. From that moment on, I knew I had to see what it was all about.
I was captivated the second I stepped into the hall that May at the “Spring Tea.” It was the yearly rug hooking show where guild members displayed their works to the public. The beautiful art form and the amazing talents this group had to offer was not lost on me. I am sure if you are thinking of joining you will forever be changed by this group, just like I was.
Recently I made my way back to Nova Scotia and was once again inspired by the scenery and found that the rug hooking art form is different in different regions there. From Cheticamp on Cape Breton to Lunenburg and the numerous places in between, the way people express themselves through this art form still amazes me. I found a few stores along the way that sold kits and supplies. I have to say that our own guild store has many treasures and supplies that I found were also present in stores throughout Nova Scotia. Although we may be out west, we do not lack the talent nor the supplies to keep creating the art we love. So please join me in celebrating this art form and let your talents shine. I can honestly say I have found like-minded people here who love to share their knowledge and skill of this craft form and helped me grow as a person just by being amongst them.
We pride ourselves on sharing our love of this art form with all. The talent and knowledge that is shared here is priceless, so welcome to our guild!
December 2023: Faye Swenson guided members through a Christmas pillow class.
And here are some of the amazing results...
Our next Educational Event: Hooking Funky Portraits
Cec Caswell and Laurie Wiles will guide us through this fun three day event in February.
Who: Members of the Edmonton Rug Hooking Guild (if you are not a member become a member and attend)
What: Hooking Funky Portraits (with Cec) or Hooking Funky Animals (with Laurie)
Where: The Alberta Teachers Association, 11010 - 142 St NW, Edmonton
When: A three day education session Wednesday, Feb 21 through Friday, February 23, 2024
The times will be firmed up, but likely be from 9 am - 5 pm. Lunch will be provided all three days.
There are spots for 30 lucky members. 17 people have already signed up. We need a minimum of 20 people.
To RESERVE your spot, please contact Laurie Onishenko or use the email on the contact page of this website.
October 2022. Inspiration at the Foundry
Our group of four found inspiration at the Foundry in Leduc. Our creativity was fed by the Hooked Rug Display, Edmonton Traditional Rug Hooking and Beyond that was hosted Sept 4 to 30th. We travelled Queen EII and arrived at our destination on a beautiful fall day. The colours that would excite us awaited inside the building.
We were greeted by the new guild banner. It shouted “Welcome” in brilliant colours and playful designs. Strung across the back wall it drew us in.
The rich colours and talent that filled the walls was amazing. The guild did a great job of sharing our passion for rug hooking. There was traditional hooking, and personal designs of all descriptions, 3D pumpkins displayed a patch of fascinating produce. There were pillows and portraits, as well as many wall hangings and floor rugs.
This beautiful fibre art display delivered! Many trips around the room were necessary to soak up all there was on offer.
The artists’ statements added a delightful layer of fun. They were so personal and added something special to each piece.
Our group spent the afternoon viewing and enjoying. It was just grand to have new ideas springing to life as we wandered through the show. Thank you to all members who allowed their work to be shown and enjoyed, your work was a great inspiration to all who attended. Our love for the art of rug hooking truly presented itself beautifully to the public who attended the show.
A generous thank you to the Leduc Foundry for the invitation and above all a huge thank you to Linda Chapelsky and volunteers for their hours of dedication that made this demonstration of our craft possible.
Spotlight on Pioneers/Meet the Members Who Made it Work
Meet the Artist: Rita Alfrey
by Val Wissinger
I just spent the better part of the afternoon with Rita at her condo. Our afternoon conversation quickly turned to the art of Rug Hooking. Rita has been a member of our Guild since 2000. Hooking and loving the process for 23 years.
Her first rug and its story takes us back to 1999 when Rita’s first rug called to her. Rita was familiar with rug hooking as her Grandmother hooked when Rita was a child. For many years, four pairs of her Grandfather’s long woolen underwear, had been kept by her mother, who somehow never got to her own hooking project. She gave them to Rita who also stored them until she came across an article in the Edmonton Journal in 1999. A Rug Hooking workshop at M.E. LaZerte High School to be taught by Virginia Wallace was offered by Continuing Education. Rita signed up as she had recently retired from nursing and was eager to fill her days. So began Rita’s first rug. It was an oval floral design. Those four pairs of underwear were dyed to various shades of pink and greens. The strips required for the piece were all hand cut .This was a huge endeavor for a new rug hooker but Rita was an enthusiastic student. This workshop did not provide time enough to complete the rug so Virginia; being a member of the Alberta Handicraft Guild, (as we were called back then) brought Rita to Guild and the rest is history.
Rita’s first rug
Rita remembers her early start with rug hooking being filled with rules and tradition. She hooked with Virginia, Imogene Monks and Shirley Caswell who were readily available to keep her in tow with all the rules of the trade. Rita says much time was used striving for perfection and hooking by the rules. She found herself leaning towards primitive hooking as a favorite style.
Over the years Rita attended workshops and retreats. All of those times brought with them close friendships and camaraderie that is woven throughout the world of rug hooking. . These classes covered dye techniques, fine shading, and creative stitches. Newfoundland was brought to life on one of Rita’s pieces. That particular workshop was led by Joan Foster of Newfoundland.
In addition to the enjoyment of the creative process, Rita served on the executive as Treasurer for the Guild in 2003.
Rita has always been a maker. She is a knitter, a stitcher, a rug hooker and at one time she made all her own frames for her work. These days you’ll find Rita still attending Wednesday’s hooking circle and monthly Guild meetings. Rita says her Wednesday group has always inspired her and fed her enthusiasm.
Always willing to learn, Rita currently has a punch needle that she is working with.
On reflection, Rita says” What would I have done in my life that could have brought me as much fulfilment and satisfaction as Rug hooking has! Hooking surely hit the spot for me. ”Color and creativity are still a big part of Rita’s day to day. Her condo comes to life as her walls display her projects and her passion for this craft. A true testament of the artist. These walls do speak; displaying the many hours of hooking that have brought such enjoyment and joy to Rita.
Rita welcomes new hookers to this traditional craft. Her advice to these new members is to enjoy all this craft has to offer. Break free and let your own creativity lead you. Hook what you love.
Many of Rita’s beautiful works have been gifted through the years.
I thank Rita for the time we spent together today and for the opportunity allowing me to share her hooking journey with all of you...