Started over ten years ago, the original Duxbury Rug Hookers included Olga Rothschild, Pauline Geishecker and Ariene Anderson. Over a decade later, the group has more than 26 members and regularly meets on Tuesdays mornings.
Rothchild said she doesn’t consider herself the founder of the group, but acknowledges she is certainly the spokeswoman.
“Everyone in the group takes turns with certain jobs,” Rothchild said. “It’s a very democratic group.”
Many of the rug hookers joined the group with no knowledge of hooking. In 1999, the group was invited to hook at the Alden barn one Tuesday a month. In 2001, they held an exhibit there as a fundraiser for the barn. In 2002, the group started a rug that would be worked on by each member and then presented to the Alden Kindred for them to sell raffle tickets.
Rothchild said the group offers constructive criticism and suggestions to other members, in the spirit of helping each other become better artists. The group also encour- ages rug-hookers to explore many creative avenues.
“We frequent thrift shops and buy old things to cut into strips and use in the rugs Rothchild said. “We collect old uniforms and curtain material to work into our designs.”
Rug-hooking is a lengthy process. Artists first buy linen or burlap foundations, then they cut wool, make a drawing or use a pattern, bind the rug and then press it. Rothchild said a 3x5 rug could take a couple months to finish.
“There’s a lot of ripping out, which is actually a really nice aspect of hooking,” Rothchild said. “It’s not like weav- ing where you are stuck with whatever you do; it’s a very flexible thing where you can change your mind any time.”
Laurie Sybertz, who has been with the group since 2000, was instrumental in helping the group secure the gallery for the month of May. Each month, PACTV hosts different artists or groups that sign up ahead of time for certain slots. Sybertz said it was lucky the group was able to get May’s slot.
“I didn’t get back to them until April, but we were still able to get in there for May,” she said. “They interviewed a few of us and are putting together a package for televi- sion, so it will be a really great month.”
Sybertz was a member of the Cranberry Rug Hookers on Cape Cod with a few members of the Duxbury Rug Hookers when she decided to join. She said she enjoys rug hooking with a group because it allows her more creativity.
“It’s a great group with artists of different ages and styles, but it’s a group nonetheless,” she said. “It’s much more inspiring than sitting at home rug hooking alone.”
Sybertz said everyone in the group, herself included, is excited to have their work on display. She’s even had a rug shipped up from Florida to hang. The rugs are all different shapes, sizes and styles, which Sybertz says represents the di- versity of the group.
Rothchild first learned the craft of rug hooking from a 90- year-old neighbor in Cornwall, Conn. Rothchild was charged $15 for lessons, which went to her mentor’s rug-hooking fund.
“It’s a very old New England craft that appeals to many,” Rothchild said. “It’s a wonderful craft because it gives you the ability to personalize each rug and make a special gift.”
Rothchild said she enjoys rug-hooking because it allows her to collect old fabrics, rugs and material. She said artistry runs in the family and believes her skills come from her father, who was an artist.
“My father made engravings, which is along the same lines as rug-hooking, so it’s probably a genetic trait,” she said. “Rug-hooking brings so many things that you dream and fantasize about to life. I love the process of hooking and seeing the end result.”
The Rug Hookers will have their work on display from May 10 to June 8 at the PAC-TV gallery.