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Day 3 Triennial

The triennial continues with more workshops, a panel discussion “Approaching a Design”, luncheon speaker Vancouver textile artist Michelle Sirois-Silver, General Meeting, evening lecture “Colour” by Gene Shepherd, rug exhibit take down.

Village Ladies Matmaking by Heather Ritchie, Great Britain   Original design hooked recycled and dyed fabrics wooden hooks attached
Village Ladies Matmaking by Heather Ritchie, Great Britain Original design hooked recycled and dyed fabrics wooden hooks attached

Acceptance of new board headed by Heather Ritchie, based in the United Kingdom. The theme for 2016-2018 is “Returning to our Roots”.

Afternoon wanderings, dine out, develop friendships and plan for Day 4.

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Monday at Triennial

Breakfast for all was delightful, off we went to workshops, excursions including a  private viewing of select Emily Carr rugs and twined pieces and the Robert Bateman Gallery , panel discussions (videoed for our archives), lunch together and more of the same variety of fibre/art experiences for the afternoon.

The rug display opened in the early evening to members and invited guests in the region including Jan Ross from the Emily Carr House, dinner was on our own with new friends.

Sylvia Olsen presentation
Sylvia Olsen presentation

This day ended with a presentation by Sylvia Olsen: the Coast Salish Legacy including knitted sweaters and historical images as she wove the story of handwork supporting families.

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Portraits gather in Gallery

"Portrait", Val Flannigan, British Columbia, Canada; wool fabric, photo of self
“Portrait”, Val Flannigan, British Columbia, Canada; wool fabric, photo of self

TIGHR members’ work were reviewed to create the new gallery theme PORTRAITS at   Countries represented include Australia, Canada, Spain, the United Kingdom and United States. Juror Lori LaBerge describes the process in her statement:

“The jurying process can be an intimidating one. The reason I enjoyed jurying the TIGHR Gallery page is that it was a different procedure than usual. Whereas artists usually apply to have their work juried and shown, this procedure was based on my looking at all art photos on the TIGHR site. The process did away with artists having to worry about entry procedures, professional photo costs, jurying fees, and possible letters of refusal, yet allows their work to be part of the jurying process.

In choosing work for “The Portrait” I looked at skill, composition, creativity and how the artist communicated a sense of emotion for the viewer to experience. A further goal was to include a variety of work. I wanted to include artists who portrayed the portrait both traditionally and in a non-traditional fashion. The reason for this was to show the public the various ways the portrait can be presented as well as inspire artists to think differently about how they could portray the portrait in their own work.

I looked at whether a piece drew my eye to it or not. A clear intention for the creation of the work was taken into consideration. Did the work lead me to think about what the artist was trying to say? In creating a portrait, the eyes are everything. Are they expressing or hiding emotion? Could an abstract piece still convey expression? Could I look into the eyes and feel something?

Thank you to all of the artists who display their work on the TIGHR members site. There is a vast amount of talent within the group. We all learn from each other. TIGHR is a great venue to allow rug hooking artists to interact with and learn from others while introducing rug hooking as art to the public. “

Thank you,
Lori LaBerge

Lori has juried work for entry to gallery sales and shows. She has had her own work juried and chosen by university professors and curators of The Textile Museum, The Racine Art Museum, The American Folk Art Museum, The Turchin Center and the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art. Her work and process can be viewed at

Exhibitors (names highlighted, link to websites) Anne Boissinot, Canada; Diane Louise Cox, UK;  Susan L. Feller, USA; Val Flannigan, Canada;  Peg Irish, USA; Diane Learmonth, USA;  Rachelle LeBlanc, Canada; Laura Pierce, USA; Heather Ritchie, UK; Amanda Rosser, Spain; Sunny Runnels, Canada;   Judi Tompkins, Australia; Dianne Warren, Canada; Molly White, Canada;

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Busy Week Ahead

It is countdown time this week anticipating December 4 and International Hook-In Day. We have listed many plans on our special Calendar page Dec 4 Hook-In and you can read about some of the events in the November 22 blog entry at

Diamonds on the Soles of her Shoes by Rosemarie Hutchins, USA Original design hooked using hand dyed and as-is wool
Diamonds on the Soles of her Shoes by Rosemarie Hutchins, USA Original design hooked using hand dyed and as-is wool

As noted on the blog, there is a way you can participate in promoting an event.  People are encouraged to post directly to Rug Hooking Magazine’s Facebook page on Dec 4

The page will be monitored by staff. Approvals of posts throughout the 24 hour period from Australia, Japan, the United Kingdom then across the Atlantic to the Canadian provinces and United States will appear chronologically.

If you are not near a fibre friend to talk face-to-face, call them, Skype, or sit-down and write a note.  The world is looking forward to the many creative mats, rugs, artwork, jewelry, purses, clothing, and objects we create with our craft traditions.


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December 4 Int’l Hook-In Day

Twenty years ago on December 4, 1994 the formation of The International Guild of Handhooking Rugmakers (TIGHR) was proclaimed in England.  In celebration of this anniversary and to further our mission statement “come together in friendship to share ideas, and to explore the different techniques of the art of rugmaking using a variety of fibres” we have declared DECEMBER 4, 2014 as the International Hook-In Day.

Let’s spread the word to fellow rugmakers and plan a local event to publicize our traditions in the 21st Century.  Comment below on your plans.  Create a display at a local library and demonstrate at a community center.  Take your project to work for lunch break, bring a mat to be whipped while watching your child play a game after school, go out to tea with a friend and talk about a new project.

Rug Hooking Magazine will be featuring this event during November on their blog and on Facebook December 4.  We are looking for people to post images from Sydney, Australia across that continent to Perth on to Tokyo, Japan to the United Kingdom and Spain then across the Atlantic to Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, the Eastern United States all the way to  California and  Victoria, British Columbia the site of our 8th Triennial October 4, 2015.

Comment below if you are willing to upload an image on December 4 or before.

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Four years with this web format!

Wow!  It has been four years since Australians Jo Franco and Judi Tompkins and Susan Feller from the USA upgraded the static website to this new format at .  Our learning curve was, as the TIGHR motto at that time said ” The Sky’s the Limit”.

International Members in South Australia 2012
International Members in South Australia 2012

Thank you Jo and Judi for problem solving and great ideas.  A reminder to TIGHR members, this site is a reflection of your international talents and features work and articles submitted to our Editor and on our private site’s photo gallery.  Keep uploading images and contributing to the groups.  Hope to meet many at the Tri-Ennial Oct. 4-7, 2015.

Audience listening to Yvonne Dalton's presentation, 2012
Audience listening to Yvonne Dalton’s presentation, 2012

We plan to have descriptions for the presentations and online registration posted under Our Tri-Ennials/2015 Victoria which will be another first, making attending from ‘Down Under’ or ‘Over the Pond’ easier than before.  Twenty years old, The International Guild of Handhooking Rugmakers looks toward the future using cyberspace to connect with members.

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Canadians Celebrate Canada Day 2014

Enjoy a gallery of work by some of our Canadian members works representing nature in honor of CANADA DAY on July 1, 2014, the 147th anniversary of the British North American Act joining the Province of Canada with Nova Scotia and New Brunswick as CANADA

These images were curated from our private site’s*** Gallery of members’ works.

***The site is a unique membership benefit which allows members to post images, participate in specialty groups, list events and send messages to other members.  All of our newsletters are available online along with our constitution and educational handouts. See Membership Form for more reasons to join.


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What’s in a Name? a lifestyle? hobby? traditions? Contemporary?

Words influence the attitude one assumes when discussing their craft. Is it a profession, hobby, social/psychological/creative outlet? We are educating in casual conversation even with an initial title……. rugger, fiber artist, rug hooker, matter, hooker, textile artist, traditional rug hooker. Recently our international membership responded, many describing their mindset for the terminology:

Susan Sutherland, Ontario, Canada
“If someone asks me what I do, I generally say I’m a fibre artist and I use traditional rug hooking as my preferred method of creating my art. If I want to have someone ‘stop in their tracks’ I tell them first I’m a “hooker”, and then I qualify it and say I’m a fibre artist and I use traditional rug hooking methods that our pioneer mothers did.

There is so much misconception about rug hooking with strips of fabric that I find I’m always clarifying what I do. I sometimes say ‘I don’t knot nor do I use short pieces of wool yarn’, especially if someone says ‘Oh yes, I did that when I was a child or in school’. Most of those who say this in Canada are remembering latch hooking.”
Fritz Mitnick, Pennsylvania, USA
“I imagine most Americans say “I am a rug hooker“. I do proddy also. I also thought about our guild name. I never say the full name. I say the international guild or the international guild of rug hookers. Maybe I should start doing it right!
Of course my husband always introduces me saying, “This is Fritz. She is a hooker.”

Judi Tompkins, Australia
“Obviously I’m a “hooker”….and I usually explain that to be a great hooker means that I am a good stripper…..ah how I luv the ashen looked faces I see!  Clearly I am the crazed, white-haired ol’ lady…. Sometimes – when I’m trying to be “nice” or “professional” I’ll ID myself as a “traditional fibre artist”….which means I don’t fall into an immediate category of “hooker” (many think of latch hooking) and opens the dialog about the spectrum of how these 3 words might be defined/applied.”

Heide Brown, British Columbia, Canada
“I say “I’m a Hooker.” Which always gets giggles or weird looks till someone, me if I’m alone, qualifies the term to — “Rug-hooker.”
I like “Rugger”  — my friend here calls herself a “Matter” and our weekly hook group “Monday Matters”. (NOTE: TIGHR’s newsletter is called “Hooking Matters”)

Jenni Stuart-Anderson, Herefordshire, UK
“I call myself a rag rug maker or designer/maker depending on where it is.
I have not heard the term “rugger” here in UK, maybe rug maker but that could be a weaver. Of course everyone sniggers when I say hooker, even if the term is American.”

Lynne Hunt, British Columbia, Canada
“I think we all struggle with the term hooker. I find here on the Coast most folks think of latch hooking and the shag rugs of the seventies. I tell people I am a fibre artist (gulp). It is a fine art practised at many levels. Whether you design your own work or work with the designs of others, there is so much more in what we do. I tell people I make mats, for the wall, the floor, chairs, tables- only limited by your imagination. I explain that I use a backing of burlap or linen, strips of fibre, mostly wool, new and recycled and a hook similar to one used centuries ago. I explain that the process involves colour planning, maybe some dyeing and choosing textures and materials for your work.
So I am a mat maker in the tradition of our pioneer sisters, creating something functional and beautiful.”

Elizabeth Soderholm, Virginia, USA
“My husband loves that I call myself a hooker and it always grabs folks’ attention.  Gives me a chance to talk about this wonderful fibre/fiber art.  My boss (who is from Mississippi) will ask me on a Friday, in his lovely Southern drawl, “You goin’ hookin’ this weekend?”  It’s probably the best way to bring attention to our craft outside of schlepping our rugs and other projects around with us.”

Liz Alpert Fay, Connecticut, USA
“I call myself : a textile artist or sometimes just an artist.
I make: hand hooked rugs and mixed media sculpture.”

Sarah Province, Maryland, USA
“I call myself a “fiber artist” and our medium “hooked fiber art”.

Jane LeBaron, British Columbia, Canada
“I variously call myself a hooker and braider, a quilter and bookbinder and general fibre freak. I am fully confident that upon one brief look at me people understand my intended context in use of the term “hooker”…

Rachelle Leblanc, Alberta, Canada
“I tell them that I am a fiber artist and I make fiber hookings.”

Mary Watson, Washington,USA
“I say, “I’m a fibre artist and paint with wool”.

Dianne Tobias, California, USA
“Since I came to hooking through braiding I introduce myself as a fiber artist then say I am a braider and a rug hooker. That seems to somewhat limit the usual jokes!”

Sheila Stewart, British Columbia, Canada
“I use the term fibre artist and then say I am a rug hooker.”

Linda Rae Coughlin, New Jersey, USA
“I tend to work with this statement, the response changes depending on who I am speaking with, i.e. fellow artist vs. a layperson.
I am an artist whose medium is textile. I create with the technique of rug hooking/stitching using recycled clothing and materials.”

During the 2009 Tri-Ennial held in Louisville, Kentucky, USA we asked attendees the terminology they used to describe favorite fiber techniques. Miriam Miller, an Australian is a rugger and spinner; Susan Feller West Virginia, USA a fiber artist specializing in rugmaking techniques; Kim Dubay, Maine USA fiber artist; Jacqui Thomson, Australia a rugger and spinner; Iris Simpson, Ontario Canada a Hooker; Yvonne Muntwyler, Ontario Canada a Fiber Artist in rughooking medium.

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Beginning our 20th Year

Examining Rug at Pioneer Womens Hut Museum, Au
Examining Rug at Pioneer Womens Hut Museum, Au

Celebrating rughooking by spreading the traditions around the world, individuals share their passions.  Twenty years ago in December 1994 friends gathered outside of London and formed The International Guild of Handhooking Rugmakers.  Joined as friends with a mutual interest; the differences in techniques, materials and styles have been shared at Tri-Ennials, first by post and now using Social Media, Internet options and even electronic phone conferencing.

The images following represent friends from Canada and the United States who gather during January in Bermuda with rughooking enthusiasts;
a member from Spain sharing rughooking skills with Cambodian children as they also learn English for employment; and
a monthly group of ladies in New South Wales, Australia gathering at the home of mentor and author, Miriam Miller.
In Tokyo, Japan for over twenty years an exhibit of hooked pieces has been coordinated by Fumiyo Hachisuka.  Across Australia, the United States, the provinces of Canada, the United Kingdom, in Africa, Mexico, Guatemala, Israel and wherever someone holds a hook, fibers are manipulated into new works.

Celebrate rughooking in 2014 with THE INTERNATIONAL GUILD OF HANDHOOKING RUGMAKERS.  On December 4, 2014 invite a fellow fiber artist to discuss your mutual interests over a meal, the phone, internet or by posting a note.

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Traditional Style enjoyed in Norway

Berith Myrvold, Norway with pet bird and rughooking
Berith Myrvold, Norway with pet bird and rughooking

  The beauty of finecut rughooking is most evident in Oriental, Persian, and floral designs. Long time member Berith Myrvold, formerly of Toronto, Canada passed away on December 8, 2013 in her home country of Norway.  Her passion lives on in the detailed rugs she created and distributed lovingly to her family. 

Berith attended the Toronto Tri-Ennial in 2003 and was represented on Collector’s Card #5 with a quote many of her fellow rughookers can identify with:

” Hooking is nice and well in Norway.  I feel that when you have first gotten into this beautiful hobby, you can never put it away.  There is one thing to complain about – there are not enough hours in the day.”

Enjoy the collection of rug patterns and hours of pleasure below.  Note copyrights on images owned by Mrs. Myrvold’s estate.