Hooking begins on rug project

Duane Hicks

The local Community Arts and Heritage Education Project—“What Hooks You Here?”—is getting into full swing, with the next chance for people to try their hand at rug-hooking coming up at a workshop next Thursday (May 20).
Local rug-hooker Debbie Ballard, who dreamed up the rug-hooking project along with Judy Kielczewski, said it really has come together since an initial workshop back on April 14.
After getting plenty of input at that time, local artist Connie Cuthbertson drew a basic background for the rug-hooking pattern.
Kielczewski, along with Fort Frances Museum curator and artist Pam Cain, then started filling in the design, incorporating many of the ideas provided by local artists, writers, and even children who made artwork during the March Break.
The artwork, which isn’t quite finalized yet, features the four seasons and depicts activities and sights people living in the Rainy Lake area enjoy (i.e., “what hooks them here”) in each of those seasons.
This ranges from a family canoeing, a family taking a walk in the woods, and people playing hockey and fishing to a float plane, deer, an eagle, fish, and pelicans.
Both Ballard and Kielczewski said they’re excited now that the project has entered the next phase.
Ballard admitted she was a little frustrated and worried during the process of gathering ideas, which took some time.
“But I am glad we did it because we were able to incorporate into the design so many things that will make you smile, make you laugh, and make you say, ‘Oh, look at that!’” she enthused.
“I am excited. I am pumped about it,” echoed Kielczewski. “I want to hook it!”
The rug-hooking will be done in four 28” x 48” panels—one for each of the seasons.
The winter panel already has been started, and was showcased this past Saturday at the Women’s Health Symposium here.
“A lot of people stopped by and hooked. There were a lot of people interested,” noted Ballard.
“I was just excited we had people walking through the women’s symposium, really interested in what’s going on with the community project and finally seeing that there’s something happening,” added Kielczewski.
“There was one little girl, maybe six, and she wanted to get right in there. That was hilarious.”
Both Ballard and Kielczewski said the patterns haven’t quite been finalized yet and that there’s still time for people to provide input. But those with ideas should let them or the museum know sooner than later.
In the near future, all four panels should be ready and the hooking will begin on each of them.
Ballard will be holding a rug-hooking workshop next Thursday (May 20) at the Fort Frances Museum, starting at 6:30 p.m.
Everyone is welcome to come out, learn how to hook, and even get started working on one of the four panels.
Ballard said each of the panels will be at various locations around town in the future. For example, one will stay at the museum, where people will be able to come by and hook, while she hopes to have another remain at the new library.
The others will be temporarily adopted by—and shared—between area groups and school classes, who will take turns working on them.
Ballard said they have started a list of people interested in rug-hooking, and both individuals and groups are encouraged to get on that list if they want to hook.
Anyone with ideas to contribute to the project, as well as volunteers to help rug-hook, can contact Kielczewski (274-7120) or Ballard (274-3250).
Or contact the museum at 274-7891 or via e-mail at ffmuseum@fort-frances.com