Our mothers and grandmothers used cloth that could be turned no more – to warm toes by the bedside, clean boots in the porch and pretty-up the parlor. Today, we at Ennis Designs, use recycled and reclaimed fabrics and yarns to tell their stories, raise issues, explore concepts, present beauty and most importantly to honour and learn from the lives and times of those who came before us.
I have been creating originally designed hooked rugs since 2002. I have enhanced my rug hooking skills by attending workshops, courses and conferences, teaching rug hooking classes, collaborating on projects and producing books and articles on the subject, and have participated in provincial, national and international juried exhibits.
My work has been featured in books published by Flanker Press, Chatelaine, Rug Hooking, Saltscapes and NLQuarterly magazines, and many are displayed in private and public collections at home and abroad. The opportunity for self-expression through style, texture and color as we design and complete our own patterns is fulfilling and at the same time allows us to feel connected to our past by carrying on an important tradition. We particularly enjoy story rugs that capture a moment in time and helps to preserve our history.
A new feature in my work “Dressed up Doilies” draws more concretely on the skills of our foremothers, and possibly forefathers though none that we know personally have been crocheters. That is, doilies made by relatives or friends, or found while browsing through Thrift Stores, are used as the basis for creating textile art works using a variety of techniques such as rug hooking, hand stitching, needle felting, embroidery.
The piece present in Engulfed 2024 in collaboration with Maxine Ennis highlights this new feature of combining previously created crochet works by those no longer with us, and give them a new purpose. Wearable art! We stand firm in our intention to honor and let shine the maker as we create new textile art works.
In this instance, we honour Beatrice Halliday Squires (1920-2007) Maxine’s Mother, who created the crochet table cloth used in the creation of “A Man’s Cloak”.
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