Pastimes PEI Rug Hooking Studio Gallery
Our mission to discover all of the people, places and things that make the four Atlantic Provinces so special has led us to three talented sisters, born and raised in beautiful Vernon Bridge, Prince Edward Island - who have turned their favourite craft into a successful business.
Shirlee Hogan, Heather Tweedy and Bette Young have been operating Pastimes PEI Rug Hooking Studio Gallery for a decade now - gradually expanding their line of products from just a few original patterns, kits and hooked items into a range of basic rug hooking supplies, wool yarns, wool fabrics and their own renowned Pastimes PEI patterns.
What follows is our Q & A with Shirlee Hogan since Heather & Bette “usually let her do the talking anyway”
SABS: I always like to start with the name "Pastimes PEI"...is that really how it all began - as a hobby
Shirlee Hogan: About the same time that Heather and I were starting to hook rugs as a hobby, we signed up for an Island Art course at University of Prince Edward Island. I chose to write my paper on traditional rug hooking on Prince Edward Island. I interviewed people who had learned to hook "years ago" and Heather took pictures of the women and their "mats". Little did we know that all of the information that we gathered would instill a sense of pride in the humble hooked mats of the Island.
We began to talk to groups about the origins of the hooked mats and showed people our collection of new and vintage mats. Although we have taken courses in rug hooking, Heather and I learned more from the people who recounted their rug hooking traditions from long ago. They told us many stories, so we incorporate as much of the tradition into our new mats as we can. We try to pass on our knowledge at places like Orwell Corner Historic Village where we dress the part and show our work. When Bette borrowed a hook and some burlap from us so that she could have a new pastime, she began creating her work with help and materials from us. Now we all tell our own stories of Prince Edward Island life in wool.
SABS: Three Sisters working together - that's gotta be fun! What's the day like around your place?
Shirlee Hogan: For some reason there is never a dull moment when we are together at Pastimes PEI. It's in the back porch of my home which I share with my husband Barry, Jack the dog, and Gunter, the cat. Barry makes the lap frames for the shop and is responsible for our beautiful property, the century home, the ducks and chickens and vintage farm machinery on display in the gardens. Family, friends and visitors get to feed the chickens, ride a tractor or see the latest rugs being hooked.
Heather hand-draws each and every pattern that we sell; Bette and I have no patience. Bette creates her Island landscapes and vintage style houses in soft flowing colors. Heather specializes in the most traditional Island style of mat, geometrics. Her colors are vibrant and clear - as modern looking as they are classic mosaic patterns. I design and hook whatever strikes my fancy and I dye wool on the wood stove. For my special rug hooking projects I throw dye, wool yarn and wool fabric into the dye pot and watch the colors meld until I’m happy. Heather and Bette pick out their favorites and the rest is for sale in the shop.
As sisters we know each other well, and recognize that our talents and differences have created the unique rug hooking pastime and business that we enjoy together today.
SABS: Love that your designs are true to Prince Edward Island tradition and all original - where do you find your inspiration?
Shirlee Hogan: We don't create elaborate statements about how we are inspired.
Dad and Mom told stories of the olden days, Grammie and Aunt Norma made our clothes and we attended a two-room school. We have university degrees - Heather is an Agrologist, Bette and I are Home Economists.
We never leave home without a camera and have sketches and drafts of rug patterns that fill binders.
SABS: Where do you find your materials for your rugs?
The other way we make our hooked pieces unique is to dye new fabrics or over-dye used fabrics. The only thing more thrilling than seeing hand-dyed pieces of wool on the clothesline is seeing them hooked into a new rug. We don't dye to formulas, just to the eye. When the batch is gone, the dying process starts again for another project.
SABS: Have you done much custom design work
Shirlee Hogan: Heather and I love creating custom designs when we have time. Last fall we created a custom kit of the family homestead for my neighbor and taught her to hook - in secret.
It was pretty funny when Ron found out that his wife had hooked the family farm for him as an anniversary gift complete with the love birds worked into the scene.
SABS: You're rugs are really works of art...and I'm not looking to do anything quite so masterful - but can anyone learn?
Shirlee Hogan: Rug hooking is as simple or complex as you want it to be.
Anyone can hook - there is really only one stitch.
Our advice is to get someone to give you some good basic instructions and whatever you do use good equipment and materials.
That's why we started to sell high quality products in the beginning and we want everyone who gets something from us to have a great experience hooking and keep the tradition alive for the next generations to enjoy.
Originally Posted: October 3, 2011
No Comments »
No comments yet.