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Rug Hooking (Manitoba)

Curated Submission
Winnipeg, Manitoba
DIMENSIONS in centimetres
13.5 x 10
Materials & techniques
Nylon stockings, burlap; Rug hooking
Gift of Delza Longman
Manitoba Crafts Museum and Library 2032.0
Delza Longman has been a long-standing member of the Crafts Guild of Manitoba and a prolific rug hooker. Her hooked pictures such as this one were a staple of the guild shop for many years; crocuses and grain elevators were the most popular subjects. By 2006 she had completed an estimated 875 rugs, and she still remembered some of the milestones: her 500th piece, for example, was an image of a loon. Scenes from nature were her main inspiration, and she had a particular concern for endangered species of birds and plants. This lady’s slipper, a beautiful but threatened wildflower, is an excellent example of her signature hooking style.
Longman originally learned to hook from her mother, but she drew inspiration from the Grenfell Mission style after a friend asked her to repair a damaged rug. She created impressively detailed images with delicate shading and tonal variations by using particularly fine burlap backing cloth and thin strips of nylon. Rather than dyeing her own wool, as many rug hookers do, she used materials drawn exclusively from old nylons and tights. Hunting through bargain basement sales in search of precisely the right shade was part of the fun for Longman, who worked on several pieces at once to avoid getting stuck on a missing colour. She began using old stockings in place of wool in the late 1940s, as many craft supplies were in short supply during the Second World War.

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