Richmond community centre hooks into rug art

Seven, circular hooked-rug textile pieces, mounted inside City Centre Community Centre, is said to symbolize the various steps Richmond citizens have taken towards helping create a diverse community.

Stepping Stones is the latest in Richmond’s collection of public art works.

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Rug-hooking is a relatively unsung craft that involves hooking and looping yarn or strips of fabric through a base, such as burlap or linen.

Deirdre Pinnock and Nadine Flagel are the artists behind the 10-month project, but they were not the only contributors.

Community members also participated by donating used fabric, hooking loops and suggesting ideas for symbols.

stepping stone
New artwork at City Centre Community Centre. Cecilia Hua photo

“Each of the seven pieces has been assigned a large circular overarching shape, such as a fingerprint or a whirlpool and a matching colour,” explained Flagel.

Each of the colours also holds significance, for example: Black represents the darkness of history, such as the internment camps; the brown one, featuring multilingual characters, represents cultural diversity; and the green maze symbolizes harmony, stillness and nature.

“We wanted to represent the colours of Richmond, because it’s such a vibrant city, and to get more recognition for rug-hooking,” added Pinnock.

Other symbols that were incorporated into the artwork include a heart, raven, musical notes, a dim sum table and footprints.

Four, free workshops were held at the community centre in February, where Flagel and Pinnock demonstrated to participants the techniques and artistry of rug-hooking.

“As a woman of colour, I don’t get the opportunity to meet with people of different ethnicities,” said Pinnock.

“So it was nice to talk to them and put their words on the wall.”

The craft of rug-hooking has humble beginnings and is thought to have been a pastime of the poor.

While the wealthy bought machine-made carpets, the poor gathered scraps of fabric and made their own home-made floor coverings.

Rug-hooking as we know it today in Canada is thought to have started in the Maritimes and Newfoundland and Labrador, before making its way west.


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