Our favourite purple turtle is set for another excellent adventure.
Myrtle the Purple Turtle will be on display this Spring at the Annual Conference of the OHCG (Ontario Hooking Craft Guild) in our nation’s capital.
That’s both Myrtle-the-book and Myrtle-the-star of a wonderful hooked rug.
The creator of the rug is Jessica Charnock. If her name sounds familiar, that’s because she and Jean Long are the couple who are translating Myrtle into French. (Coming this spring.)
“There will be a show of rugs from all over the province and our group, as usual, will be represented,” says Jessica. “And that’s where Myrtle will be, together with the book. Our Area Representative loved the idea.”
Jessica started hooking rugs in 1996. Myrtle is # 69 in a journey of beautiful creations.
“I fell in love with an old Grenfell rug that belonged to a friend and which she later gave to me. I knew then that I had to learn this craft. I found out about a group of hookers in Cobourg and they were happy to introduce me to the craft which I picked up right away and learned very quickly.
“Of course, the fact that my home is a century + old log house, I chose to hook my rugs in a more primitive style.
“At first, of course, I was hooking them for ourselves, then when I realized that friends and family liked them, I made some for family and friends. Some were also given as wedding presents and some were made on commission.”
The piece below captures part of family history:
“My husband’s ancestor Philip Long — a Scottish soldier, a King’s mail courrier — built this establishment at the mouth of Madawaska river on Temiscouata-sur-le-Lac in Cabano, Quebec. This was an inn where travellers would stop overnight on their long trip from Quebec to Fredericton, New Brunswick.”
Every rug has a story.
“I hooked this rug (below) from a photograph which was taken when we first purchased our canoe in 1969 from Chief Dan Sarrazin of the Golden Lake Reserve, the builder of canoes. It is an authentic Algonquin birch bark canoe which is still in our possession.
“About three years ago, we became curious and decided to go back to Golden Lake Reserve with the photograph and see if we could locate the little boy, the Chief’s son, who was about 10 at the time. We did meet with a few people and it finally was the librarian who identified the boy. We were lucky to meet with him and as soon as we showed him the photograph he recognized himself and we had a lovely visit with him. He was then 45 years old.”
As you can imagine, Myrtle’s illustrator Jo Robinson and I are doubly-honoured with both Jessica’s rendition of Myrtle and its inclusion in the OHCG’s annual conference.
“Fabulous, fabulous, fabulous! That is the most brilliant thing! A bit over-excited here, but that really is the most amazing feeling that someone did that.”
Myrtle and other gorgeous hooked rugs from across Ontario will be displayed at the Ottawa Conference & Event Centre, May 4 to 6.
Huge thanks to my dear friend Jessica and the OHCG.
Photos by Jessica Charnock
(Loghouse photo by Hamlin Grange)