Ir­ish con­nec­tions

The Compass - - OPINION -

silk stock­ings. The roses at the corner were done in deep pinks or reds. I imag­ine they were rem­i­nis­cent of the English rose.”

Eva Mae and Lois were taught to hook rugs by their mother and grand­mother, re­spec­tively. “Nanny Par­sons hooked beau­ti­ful rugs and drew the pat­terns on brin for her friends,” Lois wrote.

“ The fabrics used are al­most all from my fam­ily, and the colours cho­sen were those my mother loved. She is dressed in red for her warmth and vi­tal­ity, the sea is over her shoul­der and, as al­ways, her hands are busy.”

Sec­ond, in Heart’s Con­tent, Jean Boland crafted a heart­warm­ing tale into her rug.

“The Great East­ern, a mas­sive ship, al­most 700 feet in length and five times larger than any other ship afloat when it was launched in 1858,” Jean wrote, “ was in­volved in a cou­ple of at­tempts to lay a com­mu­ni­ca­tions cable from Valen­tia, Ire­land, to Heart’s Con­tent, New­found­land …

“On the evening of July 28, 1866, the cable was suc­cess­fully brought ashore at Heart’s Con­tent.”

Mary Piercey of Scilly Cove (now Win­ter­ton) trav­eled the six miles to Heart’s Con­tent to “see” the Great East­ern. Mary was blind.

“ Why did you make the jour­ney?” she was asked.

“ While I will not be able to see the ship,” she re­sponded, “I would like to be able to say to peo­ple in years to come that I touched the great­est ship ever built.”

The Great East­ern forms the back­drop for Jean’s rug.

“ When I think of the com­mu­ni­ca­tions that routed through Heart’s Con­tent in the years to fol­low, it is likely there were many other ra­di­ant smiles and, no doubt, tears as well, from those who re­ceived sad news.”

The book, Hook­ing Our Her­itage: Ir­ish Con­nec­tions Rug-Hook­ing Group, is an amal­gam of text and pic­tures. All trace the progress of the in­di­vid­ual rugs, telling the story be­hind each one. To­gether they dis­play the words, tra­di­tions, land­scapes, songs and his­tory shared be­tween the prov­ince and Ire­land. There are, for ex­am­ple, rugs de­pict­ing Ir­ish bless­ings, a far­rier and his horse, women pick­ing herts, fairies play­ing in a gar­den and Celtic sym­bols.

On Sept. 16, the rug-hook­ers will be trav­el­ing to New Ross, Ire­land, where the Hook­ing Our Her­itage ex­hibit will share space with the New Ross Ta­pes­tries, in con­junc­tion with the Fes­ti­val of the Sea cel­e­bra­tions.

This book is a vis­ual treat. It brings to­gether in one venue a col­lec­tion of orig­i­nal hooked rugs. The cre­ations use tex­tile art as a unique way of shar­ing and pre­serv­ing sto­ries about an­ces­tral and cul­tural con­nec­tions. A pe­rusal will help the reader/viewer ap­pre­ci­ate on a deeper level than ever be­fore the cul­tural back­grounds shared by so many peo­ple.

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