Hook­ing the Great East­ern

Heart’s Con­tent mat-hook­ers an­tic­i­pate govern­ment fund­ing


Mary Piercey, a blind girl from Scilly Cove — mod­ern-day Win­ter­ton — wanted to “see” the cable ship The Great East­ern drop an­chor in Heart’s Con­tent on July 28, 1866.

His­tory records that she made the fol­low­ing com­ment: “ While I will not be able to see the ship, I would like to be able to say to peo­ple in years to come that I had touched the great­est ship ever built.”

This story was all the in­spi­ra­tion Jean Boland of Heart’s Con­tent needed to hook her very own mat.

Boland, who is orig­i­nally from St. John’s, has lived in Heart’s Con­tent for the past 10 years.

“ I just fell in love with Heart’s Con­tent,” she said. “ It’s a beau­ti­ful spot and the peo­ple are very nice.

“ When I read about and heard the story of the blind girl, I knew in my heart I had to hook a mat of the Great East­ern,” she added.

Boland’s daugh­ter, Bob­bie, and her mat-hook­ing group in St. John’s, had in­vited Boland to hook a mat, to be added to other mats des­tined for ex­hibit in Ire­land.

Boland started the six-week process in March, a feat in it­self. She turned 75 on Aug. 21 and had tried only one other mat in her en­tire life.

“ There is a cer­tain amount of labour to it, but it isn’t hard labour,” Boland ad­mit­ted. “Ev­ery stitch you make is a labour of love. If you can cre­ate mem­o­ries in a mat and hang it on your wall, your me­mory is never gone.”

The labour-in­ten­sive process work re­quired keen con­cen­tra­tion, from trac­ing the Great East­ern on burlap to putting it on a loom. She hooked the mat a stitch at a time, us­ing dis­carded tee-shirt ma­te­rial.

“ You choose and blend your colours as you go,” Boland said.

The fin­ished prod­uct, which tells a story, was dis­played at a tourist chalet at Tors Cove. It, and sev­eral other mats, were then sent to Ire­land. They are cur­rently fea­tured in a fes­ti­val there. Boland’s ef­fort is a mat, not a rug, she com­mented. “Mats are pic­tures you can hang on your wall. Rugs go on the floor,” she said. The ex­pe­ri­ence was a pos­i­tive one for Boland. “ It’s over­whelm­ing to have a mat on dis­play in Ire­land,” Boland said. “I just can’t be­lieve it’s hap­pen­ing. I re­ally haven’t ac­cepted it yet.” Boland has no in­ten­tion of giv­ing up her hobby. “ We’ve ap­plied to govern­ment for fi­nances to start our own mat-hook­ing group here in Heart’s Con­tent,” she ex­plained.

The group will in­clude mat-hook­ers from Win­ter­ton and New Per­li­can. Boland and her co-work­ers are an­tic­i­pat­ing fund­ing by Oc­to­ber. Boland al­ready has an idea in mind for her next mat. “But I’ll leave them un­der cover right now,” she said with a mis­chievous smile.

Jean Boland stands be­side the vin­tage pho­to­graph of the cable ship, Great East­ern, in Heart’s Con­tent Har­bour. The im­age served as the in­spi­ra­tion for her hooked mat.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.