Object Name: Rug (Hooked)
Artist/Maker: LeBlanc, Evelyn
Date of Object, To: 19670000 Circa
Material: Wool; Burlap
Description: A rectangular hooked rug. In the middle is an image of a maple leaf consisting of 11 multicolored triangles, with text above and below the maple leaf. To the left and right are images of flags.
Narrative: Although there is evidence dating hooked rugs back to the third and seventh centuries CE, hooked rugs did not appear in Nova Scotia until the mid 1800's. Scraps left over from quilting or textile work were cut into strips and hooked into burlap backing using crochet-type hooks. The designs varied from simple to elaborate depending on the experience and creativity of the artist. Beginning in the 1920's, peddlers would go door-to-door and trade their merchandise for hooked rugs which they in turn sold in larger centres. The cottage industry, however, only became viable in Chéticamp with the arrival of Lillian Burke. Burke was an artist from New York who summered in Baddeck with Alexander Graham Bell's daughter, Marian Fairchild. The pair sought to establish a handcraft industry in the area and chose rug hooking as it was already popular. Burke sought to improve the designs by teaching new dying techniques and establishing exacting standards for the quality of the tapestries. The finished rugs would be sent to her in Baddeck and she would sell them in New York. The women were paid by square foot of rug crafted at the rate of seventy-five or eighty cents in 1938-39. The industry was needed during the economic depression of the 1930's. There was, however, growing discontent amongst some of the rug hookers when it was discovered that Burke made a large profit by buying the rugs at a low price and selling them at a much higher one. In 1936, a group of rug makers created a petition asking for a dollar a square foot in payment. When Burke refused, the group decided to split off and work under another agent. Under the leadership of Marie (à Charlie à Lubin) Aucoin, this offshoot group established markets across Canada and the United States. The multicolored maple leaf was the logo for Canada's Centennial celebrations in 1967. The country celebrated the 100th anniversary of Confederation on July 1st of that year. Celebrations were encouraged throughout the country including Expo 67 in Montreal which was capped with a visit from Queen Elizabeth II.
Marks/Labels: The central maple leaf is composed of 11multicolored triangles. In a semi-circle above, 'Centennial' is written. Below, '1867 1967 / Cheticamp' is written. To the right of the central image is a rectangular flag consisting of two red stripes separated by a thicker white stripe. In the middle of the white stripe is the image of a red maple leaf. Written above the flag in the word 'Canada'. To the left of the central image is a rectangular flag consisting of a white background with a blue 'x'. In the middle is a yellow shield with the image of a lion. Written above the flag are the words 'Nova Scotia'.
Dimensions: 84 x 28 (cm) (len x wi)
Institution: Museum of the Hooked Rug (Les Trois Pignons). Cheticamp, NS
Accession Number: 860-174
Category: Communication Artifacts