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Our Rug Hooking Artists of the Year for 2019 are:  Jackie Alcock, Newfoundland, Ruth Downing, Nova Scotia and Brigitte Webb, Scotland



Jackie Alcock, Cornerbrook, Newfoundland & LabradorViking MermaidViking Mermaid 

I am a professional window painter who came to rug hooking only a decade ago.

In 2004 I went back to university to earn my BFA and while there I met Linda Peckford one of the founding members of the Newfoundland Rug Hooking Guild. This was the first time I really took notice of hooked rugs/mats. Linda tried to get me interested but at the time I had too much on my plate. Fast forward to 2008, BFA in hand, I had received a grant from ArtsNL to create a Newfoundland Buffet Table and decided that the salt fish should be a hooked mat. Beverly Neville took me on and I completed a beginner’s course with her. Since then I have had three rugs acquired by the Rooms Provincial Art Program, in 2014, 2015 and 2017. I have had pieces featured in the Rug Hooking Magazine and been the Canadian content twice.

Rug hooking is not all big projects. In 2011 my husband was on the Newfoundland Provincial Mixed Curling team that went to the Nationals and I designed and hooked over (Rug project #28) 70 pins for their loot bags. Ah, what we do for love.

I had my first sculptured piece chosen for a show at the Newfoundland Craft Council. I have also taken part in many of the NLRH shows over the years.

 Many of my rugs are story rugs and I enjoy telling the stories behind them. I will admit, I am not one who has a set design and rugs emerge and change while being hooked.

From 2015 until 2018 I worked on my Remembrance project for WWI. In this project I made a Forget-me-not flower (The official flower of remembrance for Newfoundland) out of wool for every Newfoundlander who served in WWI. This project took up a good part of my life resulting is a collection of 4 wall hanging, 5 hooked rugs, and two large collages. I was honored to have completed this project and have it met with such heart-felt emotions.

In 2015 I also completed the Deer Lake Airport Public Piano for Business and Arts NL and in 2016 I had a 89 page colouring book published by Flanker Press. I also self-published two children’s books and I worked on two large mermaid rugs. I will admit I love rug hooking but find the finishing part a bit hard as my mind is driving fast forward to another project leaving me with a large pile of rugs needing to be completed. This is where Beverly Neville comes into the picture again, “Jackie, you have to finish these rugs”, she said. I know she is right and the rugs have been finding there way from THE BIG pile to the FINISHED pile on a more regular basis.

To view my website please click here.



Ruth Downing, Nova Scotia  

Ruth DowningRuth Downing


I am honoured to be chosen 'Artist of the Year'.  As a child I witnessed my mother's artistic talents blossom and dreamed of one day pursuing a similar path.  I am truly grateful for this amazing opportunity to show my work. 

When my children started leaving home I needed a creative outlet and rug hooking became the passion that filled my life.  I began hooking in 1999 by attending weekly tutorials with Doug Rankin, a great teacher.  It was during his fantastic annual Peggy's Cove Retreats that my interest in fine cut and realistic detail developed.   Through the influence of several teachers of fine shading, I got my start with flowers, fruit and pictorials.  Since then I have also enjoyed and appreciated my exposure to different aspects of the art with wonderful instructors through a variety of designs, fibres and cuts.

 In 2004 the opportunity came along to take a Portraits class with Louise Bishop.  Admiring the work of Jan Vermeer, I had my eye on his 'Girl With a Pearl Earring' to use as the subject for a rug.  I must admit, it was a daunting prospect, but decided to take the plunge.  The week began as a struggle but my 'Girl' eventually came together and I was pleased with the results.  I am very proud that she was selected for inclusion as a finalist in the 2007 Celebration.

 I feel the work I have done over twenty years has greatly influenced and led me to this point.  These days I am most at home designing and hooking faces.  Living in the moment and consumed by the image before me, it is an intensely personal experience as I feel an emotional connection with my subject.  Capturing the exactness of the image in #2 and 3 cut while my mind plays creatively with colour and texture is exciting.  It is always a thrill too, when a good likeness is achieved!  I choose subjects that speak to me or have touched me in a meaningful way, whether through a memory, a story, or just because I am drawn to an interesting expression with unique character lines. 

 In 2007, with the encouragement of family and friends,  I embarked on a new journey in rug hooking and became an Associate with the Teachers Branch of the Rug Hooking Guild of Nova Scotia.  I was certified in 2011.  More recently, I received my McGowan accreditation in 2018 through the Southern School at Ripley, West Virginia.  Currently I am working towards a Fibre Arts Certification with a Specialty in Rug Hooking at St. Lawrence College, Brockville, Ontario.  I have taught Fine Shaded Flowers, Pictorials and Portraits at the Nova Scotia  RugHookingSchool in Truro and Halifax, the Rug School of Newfoundland and Labrador  and the Ragg Tyme School of Rug Hooking at NiagaraCollege, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario.  I have also instructed at my home in Cow Bay, NS and in other communities.

 I do love teaching and enjoy the warm interaction experienced with students,  as well as their talent and creativity.  Rug hookers  are truly welcoming, kind and generous.  I have been privileged and fortunate to meet so many wonderful people along the way. 

 To view my website please click here


Brigitte Webb, Dingwall, Scotland 

Brigitte WebbBrigitte Webb


I  live in the north of Scotland in the Highland town of Dingwall.  My journey into Rug Hooking started in 2005 following an inspiring trip to Truro, Nova Scotia as a direct result of my youngest son falling in love with a Nova Scotia girl whose mother Gayle Wynn is a Rug Hooker. It was her wonderful work displayed in their home that captured my imagination, followed by her taking me along to her own Colchester Rug Hooking group, where a delightful lady Marge Warren, sadly now deceased , allowed me to pull some loops on her rug,  also seeing the rugs other members were working on - knew this introduction to Rug Hooking was an art form I wished to pursue and learn more about..
To date, being largely self taught and working in isolation - have hooked in excess of 250 pieces of work from two inches in size to 10 feet. I did manage to attend two Rug schools in Nova Scotia, one in Cornwallis and a second in Truro which were wonderful. Over these years I  have been lucky enough and honoured to have had articles and rugs featured in nineteen publications with more coming out in a book this year, these include The Rug Hooking Magazine, ATHA, various books and the NSRHA magazines. Was thrilled to be a finalist in Celebrations one year and now being honoured to be one of three Rug Hookers for 2019.
I try to promote my love and passion for rug hooking in various ways, by giving show and tell talks and demonstrations , have held two exhibitions of my work, the latest in our local town museum. Belong to a local craft group starting three students to hook and in November last year taught my first class to 15 Woman’s Institute  members 
Beginners rug hooking, providing a pattern on backing of my own design and learnt such a lot from this undertaking.
I strive to promote the art of rug hooking in any way I can to preserve it’s beautiful legacy.