More than 100 rug hookers create their crafts at camp

Katherine Hudson
Published on August 23, 2010

LOMOND Betty Heath has been attending the Rug Hooking Guild of Newfoundland and Labrador’s annual rug hooking school for 12 years and she said some might say if you come this many times to the camp, they’d call you a really slow learner.

But she said the reason why so many people like her come back year after year is because of the friendships made.

Heath is from Minnesota and makes the trip to the west coast of Newfoundland every year for the three-day camp. In 2002 she even sailed here as part of the Cabot 500 celebrations.

“We left our boat up at Port Saunders. I came from the far western end of Lake Superior to get here for rug camp … It took us about three months to get here,” said Heath.

“You don’t come to Newfoundland for the weather, but it’s absolutely beautiful right now. The people, the fun, the fellowship, the beauty of the place is all why I come. You make excellent friends. The friendship on Newfoundland can’t be beat,” said Heath.

Heath was not the only camp participant from south of the border. Sarah Hill has been attending the camp for five years with her mother from Arlington, Virginia.

“We absolutely love it. The people are so nice and the scenery is fantastic, much nicer than anything we have at home,” said Hill.

She said she appreciates the different levels and classes available at the camp.

“It’s great because at the rug camp up here everyone does their own thing. Where we live, a lot of people buy kits and its not very original, they’re much more original up here,” she said.

One hundred and fifteen participants and teachers could be found in groups in rooms, cabins and the chapel hooking away the morning Friday at Killdevil Camp.

Each meeting place was clearly notified with the session or project name such as “animals,” “landscape” or “on your own” for some to sit back and relax without instructions.

Winnie Glavine, publicist with the guild, said the camp stated 15 years ago on Change Islands.

“We offer everything from beginner classes to advanced. You can show up not knowing anything about rug hooking and you’ll learn the basics skills. You will, with that, come away with a really nice hooked mat. And then we go right through to dying and advanced classes such as animal faces and portraits and landscapes,” said Glavine.

She said the participants work with and dye various fabrics including T-shirts, wool, yarn, velour and pantyhose.

“Anything that wont fray can be hooked into a mat,” she said.

She said there is a lot of variety in materials, colours, themes and projects going on during the school and a lot of talent being shown.

“Everyone is very studious and very interested in what they’re learning to do,” she said.

Members of the public were able to drop into the camp on Saturday to see the exhibition of finished hooked mats.