Stamps of Newfoundland

Before 1809 all mail to and from Newfoundland was handled through private arrangements with individuals, usually sea captains, who agreed to carry letters and packages by sea for a fee.  Since there were few roads across the island most domestic mail in Newfoundland also went by boat with delivery dependent mainly on the integrity of the ship’s captain.  On October 24, 1809 Governor John Holloway appointed Newfoundland’s first postmaster, Simon Solomon, a local watchmaker and jeweler whose job was to handle all mail to and from the colony.  At the time he was authorized to collect three cents for each letter with one cent to be paid to the Captain of any vessel delivering the mail and two cents to himself for his “trouble”.

In 1840 Great Britain issued the first adhesive postage stamp, but it was not until 1857 that Newfoundland issued its first stamp, which it continued to do so until 1949.  The last postage stamp issued was in 1947 to commemorate the 450th anniversary of John Cabot’s discovery of Newfoundland in 1497, but Postage Due stamps continued to be printed until 1949 when Newfoundland joined Canada.  The first stamps were printed by Perkins, Bacon & Co. of London, England.  Later they were printed by The American Bank Note Company, then beginning in 1880 they were printed in Montreal, with later stamps being printed by the Canadian Bank Note Co. in Ottawa.

Few countries show their entire histories in their stamps like Newfoundland. A study of the stamps of Newfoundland can reveal all the major events in the country’s history until Newfoundland became part of Canada in 1949. Every major milestone in the nation’s development is featured on stamp, making these stamps unique and interesting, and were used by schools to teach history.

The earliest stamp was a Pence issue which featured a combination of the floral emblems of the three kingdoms – the rose for England, the shamrock for Ireland, and the thistle for Scotland.  The first people to appear on the stamps of were Queen Victoria together with her husband, Prince Albert, 8 years after the first stamps were issued. Forty years after the first stamps were issued, Newfoundland printed its first commemorative stamps, marking the 400th anniversary of Cabot’s’ discovery of the country in 1497. The date of the stamp issue also marked the 60th anniversary of Victoria’s coronation. The themes on the stamps were popular activities at the time—hunting and fishing, logging and mining.

A dozen Newfoundland stamps were issued in 1919 to honor soldiers and sailors from WWI with stamps following that honored the first non-stop transatlantic flight, and the first airmail stamp.

All the Newfoundland Stamps were monochromatic, that is different shades or values of the same colour or hue.  Originally they were not perforated but simply printed with a space between them so they could be individually cut from the full shwaeet with sci[1]ssors.

Historical Note on the Newfoundland Post Office

  The first postmaster of the General Post Office in St. John’s was Simon Solomon, a local watchmaker and jeweler, who was named to this post on October 24, 1809.  Mr. Solomon was authorized to collect a penny a letter to be given to any ship’s captain prepared to deliver the mail, and an additional two pence a letter for his own trouble.  After his own shop burned in 1817 he rented the premises of another watchmaker from which he continued the dual role of watchmaker and postmaster.  By1826 the building became a full time post office and when Simon died in 1839 his son William became the new postmaster.

In 1850 the Post Office moved to Market House Hill on Water St. on the third floor.  Then in 1886 a new structure was built to house the Cable & Telegraph Office and Post Office.

 Soon after Newfoundland joined Canada in 1949 plans were drawn up to remove the old structure and replace it with a modern, more efficient building that would become part of the Canadian postal system.

 Pictures and Profiles of Hooked Mats

 St. John’s Newfoundland Postage Three Pence Rose/Thistle/Shamrock – Yellow Green 

The design for Newfoundland’s first stamp issue, printed by Perkin’s, Bacon & Co. of London,   the featured a combination of the floral emblems of the three kingdoms: the rose for England, the shamrock for Ireland, and the thistle for Scotland.  The most striking of the set was the 3 pence green triangle that was used on local mail.  Each triangle was printed with its base adjacent to another so as to form squares on the sheet that were then cut apart with a knife or scissors.

Hooked by Dianima Dove on Linen with hooked with hand-dyed wool in a 3 cut.

Heraldic Flowers – 1857

Newfoundland’s first three stamp issues – 1857, 1860 and 1861 – were not perforated with tiny holes along their edges to separate them.  Instead they were, as were many postage stamps of that time, simply printed with a space between them so they could be individually cut from the full sheet with scissors or a roller.  These were referred to as  imperforate.

Like all the stamps of these three issues, the First Pence Issue featured a combination of the floral emblems of the three kingdoms:  the rose for England, the shamrock for Ireland, and the thistle for Scotland.  These early stamps were in sterling, the currency for the day in Newfoundland which was still part of England.  This shilling stamp was in scarlet vermillion.

Hooked by Margaret Angel on linen in Hand-dyed wool fabric in a #3 cut

1497- 1897 Newfoundland Cabot – Carmine Lake

 Cabot and Jubilee Issue

1897 marked the 400th Anniversary of Cabot’s discovery of Newfoundland and the 60th Anniversary of Queen Victoria’s reign.  The General Post Office announced that all other issues would be withdrawn.

The set is usually referred to as the Cabot Issue since each stamp bears the inscription “1497-1897”.


Hooked by Diana Dove on Linen with hand-dyed wool flannel in a #3 cut


1865-75 First Cents Issue

2 Cent Codfish

An act of the Legislature in 1865 required that payment for postage stamps be made using the new decimal currency.  There were two printings of the First Cents Issue:  the first on yellowish paper and the second on medium white paper.

In 1882 the 2 cent codfish was redesigned with the tail given a very pronounced split which in the view of some was far less accurate since a cod only has a minor indentation in its tail.

Mary Hann chose this stamp because it  was from the first cents issue and because of Newfoundland’s association with the fishery.

Hooked by Mary Hann, New World Island, on burlap with dyed wool fabric

Royal Issued 1897-1901

Mary Grant loves to do fine work, basically “painting with wool” working on flowers, fruit and landscapes.  Her own Celtic background has led her to work on Celtic designs as well.  She has taught Beginner courses for the Heritage Rug Hooking Guild and the College of Craft and Design in Fredericton and enjoys teaching in small groups and mentoring her students.  She has won prizes for her work at the Fredericton Exhibition.  In addition to teaching she enjoys designing mats and creating wonderful magical colours by dying wool for her projects and her courses.  Courses which she enjoys teaching include Beginning Classes, Advanced Beginner through Fine Shading, Waldoboro (sculpting), and hooking of beautiful skies.  She has written a number of articles for the Loop (RHGNS Magazine) and the newsletter of the Heritage Rug Hooking Guild of New Brunswick. 

Mary chose the Duchess of York since she was fascinated with the stamp pictures of Royalty and in particular the Duchess of York.  The 4 cent Duchess of York in violet was one of the Royal Family Series manufactured by the American Bank Note Co. NY.  The designer was R. Ostrander Smith.

Mary Grant, New Brunswick


 Hooked by Mary Grant on Linen with wool flannel in a 3 cut.

1908 Map of Newfoundland

Early in 1908 a shipment of Royal Portrait Issue (2 cent and 5 cent) was damaged in a shipwreck off the New England Coast near Cuttyhunk Island.  Postal officials thought they had recovered all of the stamps but a quantity showed up in private hands. Prime Minister Sir Robert Bond suggested a map of the island showing the route of the Newfoundland Railway.  However a closer examination shows a poor representation of both the Great Northern and Avalon Peninsulas.  Since the stamp is in only one colour, at a glance very little distinction can be seen between the rivers and the main railway line and its branches.  The most striking omission is that nowhere is the stamp labelled “Newfoundland Railway”.  It was Bond’s intention to show the world’s investors that Newfoundland had a railway but the message was lost in the design.

Hooked by Edwina Drover on Burlap in Wool Yarn

1910 5 Cent View of Cupids – Blue

 For Bio see 4 Cent “Trail of the Caribou 1919”.

I chose the 1910 five cent View of Cupids which marked the 300th Anniversary of John Guy’s attempt to establish a permanent colony in Newfoundland at Cupids, Conception Bay.  It was part of the John Guy Tercentenary Issue.  The John Guy Tercentenary Issue, of which this is one of the twelve stamps were the first stamps to be lithographed, a method of printing from a metal or stone surface on which the printing areas are not raised but made ink-receptive while the non-image areas are made ink-repellent.

Hooked by Marilyn Moore on Burlap with 100% wool yarn

January 2, 1919 Trail of the Caribou Issue

In 1919 a special set of stamps were issued to commemorate the services of the Newfoundland Contingent in the World War of 1914-1918. The phrase, “Trail of the Caribou” is said to have originated with Lt. Col. Nangle, Roman Catholic Chaplain of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment. The badge of the Regiment consisted of the head of a caribou over a ribbon lettered “Newfoundland”. In keeping with their emblem, a design of a caribou had been selected to represent this particular issue.

Of the twelve stamps, four commemorated the work of the Naval Forces, and bore the word “Ubique”, meaning everywhere. Newfoundland’s sailors could literally be found everywhere on the sea, which would account for the fact that the colony lost more sailors than all other British Dominions and Colonies combined. The remaining eight stamps in this series each commemorate a specific engagement in which the Royal Newfoundland Regiment participated. Sulva Bay was at Gallipoli, while all the others were in France. Together these form a glorious record of the part played in the war by Britain’s oldest colony.

1919 Trail of the Caribou Issue

1 cent Suvla Bay – Green

I have been hooked on hooking since about 2005 when my sister told me about a beginners course offered by Gladys Newhook. By the end of that first day I knew I would love this craft and haven’t stopped since. I have completed approximately fifty pieces since then. This stamp was probably one of the most difficult, but also most satisfying, to complete. Having lived my life as a military wife it was especially important to me to help commemorate the anniversary of the end of WW I.

“The Newfoundland Regiment landed at Suvla Bay on the Gallipoli Peninsula on the night of September 19, 1915 to support the British 88th Brigade of the 29th Division.  The Regiment was awarded two Distinguished Conduct Medals and a Military Cross during the fighting at Caribou Hill.  By December 20th the British withdrew from Sulva with only 170 men in the NL Regiment remaining.

I think by recreating the stamps issued to commemorate the Trail of the Caribou battles as faught by the Royal Newfoundland Regiment is especially relevent. I knew nothing of the Battle of Suvla Bay when I chose that stamp and was amazed to discover the details.

I hope everyone enjoys the display and our attempts to help everyone remember.

Hooked by Patricia Hapgood Spread Eagle, NL On Burlap with hand-dyed wool


3 Cent Guedecourt – Red Brown

 The Woodland Caribou was the symbol of the Royal Newfoundland Royal Regiment.  In 1919 a set of twelve stamps were issued by Newfoundland to recogni\e and remember the service and sacrifice of its soldiers and sailors of World War 1.

The village of Gueudecourt lies five kilometres directly south of Bapaume and 135 kilometres north of Paris.  Here on October 12, 1916, the Newfoundland Regiment made its heroic assault during the Battle of Le Transloy, one of the major battles of the Somme.

Just north east of Gueudecourt is the Gueudecourt Newfoundland Memorial.  It marks the spot where, October 1916, the Newfoundlanders played a decisive role in the capture of a GHerman strong-point named Rainbow Trench, thus wiping out the sting of Beaumont-Hamel.

The Newfoundland Regiment suffered 239 casualties – of whom 120 had been killed or would die of wounds.  But the Regiment had been one of the few units on the whole of the Fourth Army’s Front to capture and retain an objective.  “The success,” wrote the Brigade Commander later, “was all the more gratifying as it was the only real success recorded on that day.”

Caribou Monument Gueudecourt

Hooked by Dale Morgan on burlap with hand dyed wool yarn

4 Cent Beaumont Hamel

 Marilyn is a retired Anglican Priest who learned to hook with Molly White in 2006.  She has since completed numerous courses and completed her Teaching Certificate through the Rug Hooking Guild of Newfoundland and Labrador in 2012.  She is a member of the Craft Council of Newfoundland and Labrador where she displays and sells her finished rugs, as well as being a member of The International Guild of Handhooking Rugmakers, The Rug Hooking Guild of Newfoundland and Labrador and the Rug Hooking Guild of Nova Scotia.  She hooked one of the scenes in the Cupids Project, and has taken first prize in several fairs and exhibitions.  She specializes in Pictorial, Stained Glass, Primitive Newfoundland Scenes, and Underwater.  In addition she also quilts, sews, tole paints and has painted with oils.

The 1919 Caribou Issue was designed to commemorate the efforts of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment in World War 1.  Eight of the stamps commemorate engagements in which soldiers distinguished themselves.  These are bannered with “Trail of the Caribou”, plus the name of the Battle in the lower tablet.  Four are bannered with “Royal Naval Reserve” with the lower tablet bearing the Latin word UBIQUE, meaning that Newfoundland sailors served everywhere on the seas.   I chose the four cent Beaumont Hamel because by Grandfather fought at Beaumont Hamel but not as a Newfoundlander.  He was a member of the Black Watch of Canada which, like the Royal Newfoundland Regiment, fought at Beaumont-Hamel as part of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) on the first day of the Battle of the Somme 1916.  733 of 801 men in the 1st Newfoundland Regiment were killed or wounded, while the total Allied casualties on the opening day of the Battle of the Somme were 57,470 of which 19,240 were fatal of a total of 750,000 troops.

Hooked by Marilyn Moore on Linen with hand-dyed wool in #4 cut

6 Cent Monchy – Black-Grey

My first introduction to rug hooking was at rug school 2011.  I had never hooked a loop before, so I was pretty green.  I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and by the end of the weekend I was “hooked”.  I have taken a number of classes since then and I try to spend a few minutes each day working on my last project.  Not only have I learned a new craft, but I have met many new friends and enjoy the camaraderie that the hook-ins bring.

After the First World War, a series of stamps was commissioned to commemorate major battles fought by the Newfoundland Regiment.  The “Trail of the Caribou” series comprised of twelve stamps, and the Battle of Monchy was one of those stamps.

I hooked this stamp in memory of Levi John Snow, Regiment #1879.  Levi John Snow was my husband’s Great Uncle.  He was a young man service as a station agent with the Newfoundland Railway in Clarke’s Beach when he answered the call to serve King and Country.

He was mortally wounded in this battle and is buried in Etaples Military Cemetery, France.


Margaret Hillyard, St. John’s Hooked on burlap with hand-dyed wool yarn

8 Cent UBIQUE – Magenta

I’ve delighted in the beauty and skill of hooking rugs since I first registered for a weekend  rug-hooking workshop at Anna Templeton Centre, in 1996.  I knew instantly that I’d pursue this traditional craft for years to come.  Since that time I’ve hooked and designed a myriad of pieces using numerous hooking techniques, all learned through various workshops, courses, and rug schools.  I humbly mention, that my work has been displayed in various exhibitions and  Devon House and in The Rooms .  Over the years I’ve progressed through the art/craft of rug-hooking from a novice to that of a teacher with the Rug Hooking Guild of Newfoundland and Labrador.

THE TRAIL OF THE CARIBOU STAMP SERIES: ( Depicted here is the eight-cent magenta, “Ubique” Caribou Stamp.)  My interest in hooking this Newfoundland Stamp was inspired by my early recollection of attending Armistice Day memorial services  in my hometown of Grand Falls (the town of Windsor was not incorporated at that time.)   The series of twelve ‘Caribou’ stamps commemorated the battles and engagements of the Royal Naval Reserve and the Royal Newfoundland Regiment, whose members’ participated widely (“Ubique”: everywhere) in military operations during the Great War of 1914-1918; many of whom were the youthful, courageous enlisted men from Grand Falls. It may be interesting to note that some of the early street names in the Central Newfoundland Town were designated to acclaim the glory of the many native sons of Grand Falls.  Such street names as Beaumont Avenue, Monchy, Haig, Péronne and Suvla Roads, Memorial Avenue, King Street were aptly named.   And yet, these century-old street-signs continue to proclaim the honour and glory of those brave, young defenders of  our freedom. 

As a Girl Guide I recall attending the solemn Veterans’ Parades, the wreath-laying ceremonies,  the roll calls  with trumpet sounding “The Last Post” on July 1st  Memorial Day (Armistice Day) during  the annual services held at the Grand Falls Memorial Grounds with its  impressive cenotaph bearing the inscription, “Their Name Liveth For Evermore.”

The Trail of the Caribou Stamp series brings to mind the honour and respect due the Royal Naval Reserve and the Royal Newfoundland Regiment and all who served their country.

Submitted by:  Judy (Blackmore) Brockie Hooked by Judy Brockie on Linen with hand-dyed wool flannel and yarn

15 Cent Langemarck – Dark Blue

I became interested in learning to rug hook in 2009 thanks to Gladys Newhook who started me with my first project and, on completion I was hooked.  Since then I became part of a group called Heart and Hand Matters.  We meet regularly to share ideas and in doing so inspire one another.  I have attended various workshops and taken courses to learn different techniques. I love the challenge of creating an idea or scene using different mediums such as wool yarn, wool strips, pantyhose, etc. To date I have completed 23 pieces of work.

British troops captured the village of Langemarck from the Germans in the Third Battle of Ypres.  Many hundreds of thousands of lives were lost on both sides.  This battle was one of the most costly of World War 1.

Sandra Reid, Blaketown


Hooked by Sandra Reid on linen in wool yarn 

24 Cent Cambrai –Bistre

When I was a teenager I told my father I was bored.  “Well”, he said, “I will find you something to do.”  He made me a hook, and an old fashioned frame; found a piece of burlap and gave me his old shirts. Then he told me to draw a design on burlap, so I drew 5 stars. He showed me how to put up loops and hook. I left home and it wasn’t finished but he finished it.

 Years later we brought a farm and started sheep farming.  Well, what do you do with wool besides knitting it? You can hook it and make beautiful rugs/mats. I have been hooking for the last 25 years, from using re-cycling t-shirts, wool yarn to wool flannel cut in wide to fine cuts.

 The stamp mats were hooked in a fine # 3 cut and in monochrome colours which I hadn’t done before but I enjoyed hooking them.

The “Trail of the Caribou Issue” 24 Cambrai was hooked in memory of my Grandfather, Captain Patrick Austin who was in the 1 World War in the Vetinary  Corps of the British Army.  He wasn’t attached to any single battle but looked after the injured horses on all the battle fields of France. 

Hooked by Diana Dove on Linen with hand-dyed wool #3 cut


Publicity Issue
Heart’s Content

The 1928 and 1929-31 Publicity Issues are also known as the Newfoundland-Labrador Issues.  In 1927 the British Privy Council had finally established the boundary between Labrador and Quebec.  The following year when the Newfoundland government was in the midst of creating a new stamp to promote tourism, it was decided to include a map stamp that included Labrador and some of the more spectacular and noteworthy buildings and scenery across Newfoundland and Labrador.  These included Labrador’s most spectacular natural landmark, Grand Falls (not to be mistaken with the current city of Grand Falls); the ferry, Caribou; the Newfoundland Bullet; the Newfoundland Hotel; Cabot Tower; Lester’s Field; and Heart’s Content plus others.  These stamps were printed by Whitehead, Morris & Co. of London.


In 1929 the series was reissued and printed by Messrs John Dickenson & Co.  When Whitehead, Morris & Co. refused to hand over the plates, new engraving were made which resulted in some differences.  In the Hearts Content stamp, there was an extra-large “S” in Hearts and the shoreline reflections/ shadows are much more distinct.

Hooked by Diana Dove in hand-dyed wool yarn

1 Cent Resources Issue (Codfish) – Green

 The original resources issue of 1932 consisted of 12 stamps, some of these portrayed the colony’s natural resources:  minerals, fish, timber and wildlife. 

The stamps portraying resources were codfish (black and green), caribou, Corner Brook Mill, Salmon leaping falls, a Newfoundland Dog, a Seal Pup, Cape Race Beacon,  Bell Island, the Sealing Fleet, and the Sailing Fleet.

Glenda Meehan chose to hook the 1 Cent Green Codfish which was in the original release in 1932.


Hooked by Glenda Meehan on burlap with hand-dyed wool fabric in # 5 cut



1933 Labrador Air Mail

 In 1931 the first regular air mail stamps were issued for use on mail going to northern Newfoundland regions, Canada, and overseas.  A second issue of five denominations to meet increased volume of Air Mail going to Labrador and to sealing and fishing fleets off shore.

1933 5 Cent “Put to Flight” – Reddish Brown

I bought my first kit to hook in 1977, but never finished it until 1990.  Then I never hooked again until 2004.  Since then, I have hooked over 100 pieces, some floor mats, some wall hangings, and some smaller pieces, trivets, coasters, etc.  I prefer to hook for the floor, as they are very useful, and wear well.

Most of my work is done in wool, some wool yarn, like Briggs and Little 2-ply, but more are hooked with new hand-dyed wool fabric.  It gives me the most pleasing results.  Using protein dyes, I find I can get any colour needed to meet my requirements.

The Newfoundland stamp that I chose to hook is one from the airplane series.  Since I was born and raised in Gander, the airport and airplane traffic was really a large part of my early life.  It is natural for me to select any stamp from that group of designs.  This stamp is hooked with hand-dyed wool on a linen backing, matching the design and colours as near as possible to the original 1933 5₵ stamp.

A few of my mats have received recognition:

  • Wind and Waves: Honourable Mention in the NL Arts and Letters competition
  • Northern Flicker: Finalist in the 2014 “Celebration of Hand-Hooked Rugs”
  • Hudson Bomber: Camper’s Choice Award – RHGNL
  • Fetching Cod – A Story Mat: Viewer’s Choice Award – RHGNS (Nova Scotia)


Hooked by Diane Warren on Linen with hand-dyed wool flannel in #3 cut


1933 10 Cent “Land of Heart’s Delight” – Yellow Orange

For Bio see 4 Cent  “Trail of the Caribou 1919”

I hooked the Stamp, Land of Heart’s Delight from 1933 since I now live in Heart’s Delight although the stamp itself is one of the five denominations issued to meet the increased volume of Air Mail going to Labrador and to sealing and fishing fleets off short.

Hooked by Marilyn Moore on burlap with hand-dyed wool yarn


1933 Sir Humphrey Gilbert Issue

5 Cent Token – Violet

1933 marked the 350th Anniversary of the annexation of Newfoundland for England by Sir Humphrey Gilbert.  In 1593 Gilbert had, in a ceremony in St. John’s, officially claimed England’s first overseas territory.  Unfortunately the ceremonial sod never reached England because Gilbert’s ship went down on the return voyage.

This 5 cent stamp portrays an Anchor token given to Gilbert by Elizabeth 1.  Doreen Newhook chose this stamp because her son works on boats and this will be a gift for him.


Hooked by Doreen Newhook on burlap with hand-dyed wool yarn


1941-1949 Second Resources Issue

24 Cent Bell Island – Blue

Reprinting of the First Resources Issue (1 cent-48cents) continued throughout the war years and beyond, but after the Perkins, Bacon & Co. facility in London was damaged by bombing, printing had to be subcontracting. Waterlow & Sons continued to provide the necessary stamps. For some of the Second Resources stamps the original dies were used. For others Nenew dies were created or original dies re-engraved.

Hooked by Eileen Kavanagh on rug warp with multi-fibres


1947 John Cabot Anniversary

5 Cent Cabot on the Matthew – Rose Violet

The last stamp issued by Newfoundland before the colony became a province of Canada in 1949 was issued on June 24, 1947 to commemorate the 450th Anniversary of John Cabot’s discovery in 1497.  John Cabot on the Matthew looking toward Cape Bonavista.

Jennifer chose this stamp for her husband who is looking forward to putting it on the wall.

Hooked by Jennifer Archer on linen with hand-dyed wool

Lighthouses of Newfoundland and Labrador

FLighthouses – guardians of our coastline – over 180 of these towering structures along with more than 300 other navigational lights have been put into service in the province during the last two centuries. They have given immeasurable service to our fishermen and other mariners and are a part of our culture, especially for the vast majority of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians who have lived within sight of the ocean.

Lighthouses were traditionally manned by at least two lightkeepers who worked long hours to maintain the lights. Technology has greatly changed the operations and today many are remotely controlled and fully automated reducing the need not only for the lightkeepers but for many of the lighthouses as we know them. Several have already disappeared. The Department of Fisheries & Oceans, Canada is looking to divest itself of many lighthouses (although the Canadian Coast Guard will continue to maintain navigational components of the properties.) 69 in the province are eligible under the Heritage Lighthouse Protection Act of the Federal Government; however, by the May 29, 2012 deadline very few petitions with plans for suggested viable use of the lighthouses had been received by Parks Canada. This means that many of those lighthouses are facing removal and a part of our heritage will disappear.

In 2011, Joan Foster a member of The Rug Hooking Guild of Newfoundland and Labrador, suggested a project to pay tribute to these well-loved landmarks through the art of rug hooking. The Executive agreed and a call for submissions, to be ready by Rug Camp 2012, went out to members. A total of 41 hooked pieces were brought to Camp in August, varying in style from realistic to folk art and in size from quite small to a large 22″ x 46″ piece. Another four pieces were added over the year for a total of 45 lighthouse rugs. An accompanying binder documented each piece with a picture of the original lighthouse, information on the piece as well as an artist’s statement by the matmaker. From comments in the guestbook, many of the people who viewed the display were amazed by the ingenuity and the quality of work done by members of our Guild. Comments included “Unbelievable work!”, “Fabulous!”, “Fantastic!” “This is painting with fabric and yarn.”

The display of lighthouse mats then toured the province for a year. It went first to the Twillingate Museum, each of the Arts & Culture Centres in the province as follows: Grand FallsWindsor, Gander, Labrador City, Stephenville, Corner Brook, and St. John’s. It was at the House of Diamonds in Glovertown, the Lester Garland House in Trinity, and at the Art Gallery, Seldom on Fogo Island during the summer of 2013. Special openings, demonstrations and hookins were held at each of these sites. A final display was held at the Twin Ponds Rug Camp in August, 2013 after which pieces were returned to their owners. A DVD of the exhibit was produced and sold throughout the year. As well, an article will appear in the November/ December 2013 issue of Rug Hooking magazine and pictures of all the fantastic lighthouse mats will be posted on the magazine’s website as well as at this location at that time. Be sure to check back for another look at that time.

For more Lighthouse Rugs, please click here

I Dream

“Many wonderful things can happen when a simple thought is expressed”

Winnie Glavine

The arrival of RMHNL was a long time coming. The whole province was excited when the reality of a House being built in St. John’s was finally announced.

To support Our House and the children and families who use it, we chose to produce a tapestry based on the theme ‘I Dream’ and called on children of the Janeway Children’s Hospital to help create the visuals.

Twenty-four drawings of dreams that had helped carry kids and their families through difficult times were received from current and former partients from all parts of the province.

With support from our Guild and my employer, McInnes Cooper, an Atlantic based law firm with an office in St. John’s, and the promise of wall space at the House for at least one medium size piece we were on our way.

Children dream of the ‘simple’ things of life, things we often take for granted: a home, a family, friends, sunshine, growing up, being healthy, and free to play.

Members of the Guild turned those drawings into hooked pieces, which together made a beautiful tapestry, clearly reflecting our mission:  To create a beautiful and colourful reflection of the optimism
in a child’s mind while spending time away from home and family.

On April 15, 2014, the I Dream Hooked Rug Project came to a completion when 45 little rugs were placed in collage fashion on a wall at Ronald McDonald House in St. John’s, NL.

After nearly three years, the hooked tapestry was presented by Doug Skinner, Regional Lead Partner of McInnes Cooper to Gerry Beresford, President of the Board of Trustees for RMH.

Thirty-five Guild members volunteered to hook the primary pieces of the tapestry, but we also wanted to involve the general public. Amber’s picture of sliding down the rainbow to the pot of gold was broken into pieces, which were taken all over the province so people could have an opportunity to hook. Many local celebrities hooked, including Buddy Wasisname and the Other Fellows, Allan Hawco of Republic of Doyle, Artist Gerry Squires and none other than Mr. Gordon Pinsent himself.

Also trying their hand were 23 of the 24 young people who submitted drawings, together with their families and friends. Heads of major corporations, mayors, members from all levels of government, medical personnel, church leaders, Canadian Ambassador to Ireland Loyola Hearn, RNC Detective Paula Walsh, Members of HMCS Cabot of the Royal Canadian Navy, and lawyers and staff of McInnes Cooper all took part. In total, approximately 1000 people, from the very young to the young at heart, hooked on the project and signed our book of greetings for the kids at RMHNL.

Once the mats were complete, an on-line auction gave individuals and corporations the opportunity to ‘sponsor’ the placement of a Dream on the wall at RMHNL. The minimum bid for each Dream was $500.00, with the exception of Amber’s Rainbow, which opened at $1,000.00

In total, the project raised $25,000.00 for Ronald McDonald House NL.

While our Guild members played a very important role, this project could not have been a success without the amazing support of McInnes Cooper.

From its inception, the project was blessed to be served by committee members Jackie Alcock, Artist, of Corner Brook; Margaret Angel, Photographer, and Marilyn Melvin, Retired Nurse, of St. John’s; Dorothy Fewer, Retired Social Worker of Grand Falls-Windsor; Karen Brake, Retired Teacher of Pasadena; Perry Kielly, Artist, of Gander; Ruth Chaffey, Retired LPN of Lewisporte; Lenny, Margaret’s corgie; and yours truly.

Our Guild set out to create art for Ronald McDonald House because we wanted to do something nice for the kids and their families. We soon realized that it was not the Guild nor McInnes Cooper that was doing something special. Rather it was the 24 young artists who’d sent their dreams who were giving us a gift. We were just the vehicles to share their message of hope.

While the $25,000 was a tremendous gift for Ronald McDonald House, we hope the tapestry will serve positive distraction and comfort for families staying at the House – even if for only a few moments.

Our finished piece:

Click on the image to see a larger version of the image (10 MB large file). This photo by Duncan de Young (see more at:

The Rug Hooking Guild of Newfoundland and Labrador together with McInnes Cooper sincerely appreciate that so many took the opportunity to help us with this project.

For the children staying at Ronald McDonald House, St. John’s, NL and all over the world, we quote Ronan Keating’s song, Somewhere over the Rainbow:

“We truly wish that tomorrow’s skies will be blue, the clouds will be far behind, troubles will have melted like lemon drops and the dreams that you dare to dream have really all come true”.

Hooked History of Cuper’s Cove – Cupids 1610-2010


Molly White has always enjoyed creating with textiles. Her love of rug hooking began in 2003 when she took Joan Foster’s course at Woody Point and she’d rug hook as a hobby while she and her husband raised three daughters.

Since then, Molly has exhibited her mats from one end of the province to the other including during the “Writers at Woody Point” annual event and at The Rooms in St. John’s.  She’s also been fortunate enough to sell some of her beautiful pieces to locals and tourists alike.

With many courses to her credit and her daughters raised and out the door, her hobby became a full time career in creating textile art when in 2006 she opened Molly Made Fibre Art Studio at Woody Point. 

Molly’s piece, ‘Cupids 1610-2010’ explains that the name of the island portion of our province became one word and Labrador was eventually included. Blueberries reflect our various forms of nature.  The shape behind the berries reminds us that Cupids is situated on the island portion of our province. The rust color may depict our vast quantity of mineral resources, in particular, iron ore on both the island and Labrador.  You’ll notice how the sea meets the horizon,

Hooked with yarn the piece is reflective of the Grenfell style of rug hooking. Her half-moon shaped mat depicts the founding and present dates, the first flag and the original name of Cupids – “Cuper’s Cove” and forms the banner for this Cupid’s celebration piece.

Born and raised in Port de Grave, Audrey Burke, a retired teacher, has lived all over our Province including coastal and eastern Labrador.  For the past 35 years, she has made her home in Grand Falls-Windsor where she raised three children.

Audrey remembers hearing the stories of her grandmothers ‘matting’ and recalls the mat rags bag in the cabinet under the stairs of her childhood home. In 1997, Audrey learned to rug hook when she took a class being offered by the Guild’s first president, Linda Peckford. 

 Audrey draws on stories from her childhood in her rug hooking and recalls hearing the local lore of how John Guy, on a stop at Port de Grave, was advised to cross Bay de Grave to the eventual site of his colony, Cuper’s  Cove, now Cupids.  John Guy is believed to have met up with the Beothuk Indians in 1612 somewhere on the North side of Trinity Bay.

Her mat entitled “Guy’s Beothuk Encounter” is hooked using Briggs and Little 100% wool yarn in primitive fashion and depicts Guy’s first experience with the reclusive Red Indians with whom he shared a meal and traded trinkets for a wolf skin. 

Most of us Newfoundlanders, of a certain age, can say we remember our mother hooking a mat when the day’s work was done.  Ruth Chaffey, a retired License Practical Nurse, who has served four years as President of our Guild, was an experienced rug hooker long before her mother finally picked up a hook in 2002. 

Having taken her first rug hooking class from Linda Peckford in Lewisporte in 1995, Ruth is now working on #64.  

Born and raised in Millertown, Ruth settled with her husband and two sons in Lewisporte, where she’s lived for 29 years.  

Ruth particularly enjoys researching older traditional Newfoundland and Labrador rugs and reproducing them in hopes of keeping the designs fresh. She has exhibited her mats at various venues and has been fortunate enough to sell some of her pieces.  An honorary life-time member of our Guild, Ruth has had her work commissioned to reflect the buildings of Battle Harbour’s historic site in Labrador.

For “Water Boy” Ruth has used new and recycled wool fabric to depict one of the many chores of the early settlers to Cupids.  Hooked using a #3 cut, this mat is one of three in this piece which directly relates to the human side of the settling of Cuper’s Cove and shows some of the hardships endured as the settlers strived to stay in the New Founde Land.

Joan Foster, an adult educator in Springdale where she makes her home, first learned to hook mats from her mother in 1979.  Since that time, Joan has taken numerous rug hooking courses with her first official class in Nova Scotia with Doris Wentzell in 1993.  At Change Islands in 1995, Joan participated in her first official Newfoundland class with Edie Cole, an instructor from Nova Scotia who was invited here to help establish a Guild in this province.

A founding member of the Rug Hooking Guild of Newfoundland and Labrador Joan has served in many capacities on the Executive, including President.  During her term as President,  she was instrumental in having our book ‘Hooked Mats of Newfoundland and Labrador, Beauty Born of Necessity’ published, of which our Guild is very proud. 

This piece ‘Fish on the Flake’ represents the importance of the cod fish and the fishing industry as a whole from the time of  early settlement to the present.  It is hooked using wool flannel, hand dyed and as is, in #4 and #5 cuts, in an Impressionistic style. 

Lynn Palmer of South River fell in love with rug hooking in 1993 upon discovering ‘something’ rolled up in her mother’s linen closet.  That something turned out to be a hooked mat depicting the lighthouse at Point Amour in Labrador which was hooked in Grenfell style.

 Lynn remembers hearing the stories of how women would gather in her grandmother’s kitchen at the Wireless Station to hook mats and share stories.

 In 2001 Lynn learned to rug hook at a class, offered by Joan Foster, in Eastport.   Since then, she has taken courses in Fancy Stitches, Fine Shading, Portrait and Monochromatic. This mat is primarily hooked in Monochromatic style with Briggs & Little 100% wool yarn.

 Lynn is inspired by all things around her but she has a certain consideration for women and in their ‘getting through’. This mat entitled, ‘Please God!’ needs no explanation.

 Lynn has captured what many Newfoundlanders know all too well – watching and waiting to see their ‘man’s’ boat break the horizon, praying he’ll soon be off the water, safe and sound.

Betty Heath, of Lake Elmo, Minnesota, likes to place her initial love of rug hooking squarely in the hands of John Cabot.

On a cruising trip with her husband, Richard, from the far western end of Lake Superior to Newfoundland and Labrador to participate in the 1997 Cabot 500 Celebrations, Betty saw a hooked mat on the floor of another boat. 

Feeling their boat, the “P Gannet” needed a mat, she set out to learn more about rug hooking.  Her search first took her to the Rug Hooking Magazine which led her to our first Guild President, Linda Peckford.  Betty has been a member of our Guild ever since.

A self-taught rug hooker, Betty also enjoys smocking, weaving, carving wooden dolls and, of course, cruising around the lakes and oceans of North America.

Hooked with new and recycled wool fabric in #3 cut, this piece ‘Flags over Cupids’ represents the various forms of government over the community since it was first established in 1610. The background colors represent our tartan.  Forming a frame of the mat is a traditional Newfoundland border, of ‘hit and miss’, which has a nautical flair encompassing her love of the water and sailing.

Having raised 6 children Betty and her husband, grandparents to 8 grandchildren and 2 great-grandchildren, live to travel which brings her back to Newfoundland every year for the annual Rug School where she learns and teaches all in the same moment.

We are pleased to have our Guild’s very special friend from the States represented here in our celebration piece of 400 years of Cupids.

Marilyn Moore says “when I hook rugs, it is always the scenery that attracts me, then the evidence of human occupation”.

 As an Anglican Priest, Marilyn has lived in every province, except Prince Edward Island, and in every corner of Newfoundland though not yet in Labrador.

In this piece “Old Boat at Cupids” adapted from a photo, Marilyn has captured a way of life now practically lost.  The stage, with its faded paint, the overturned boat left to rot and decay with the flowers and weeds growing around it, and the no longer used make-and-break engine, are all symbols of days gone by.  But, Marilyn has also captured the landscape, the beautiful blue sky and the ever present sea in the background.

 Some 20 years ago, Marilyn saw samples of Grenfell hooking on the Lower North Shore of Quebec.  When she moved to Woody Point in 2005 she learned to hook when she took a class from Molly White.  She has enhanced her skills through classes in Creative Stitching, Fine Shading, Pictorial, Grenfell and Celtic styles, many of which she has worked in the piece which is hooked using strips of t-shirt fabric depicting an actual landmark of Cupids.

Jennifer (Archer) Abbott has travelled the world in her work as a successful architect.  Born and raised in Ontario, she is, in her words, married to her ‘bayman’ Newfoundlander and quite settled in her Maddox Cove home, near St. John’s. 

Jennifer first came to rug hooking when she visited a gallery in Tors Cove and was drawn to a hooked mat hanging on the wall.

Mostly self taught, Jennifer has a passion for rug hooking that has garnered first prize in a challenge mat competition offered by the Guild.  She’s also placed her mats for exhibit and has been fortunate enough to sell some of the 60 mats she’s hooked since that first trip to the Southern Shore just a few short years ago.

In her rug hooking, Jennifer draws from anywhere and everywhere to create the designs for her mats.  Her work ranges from classical to whimsical while some are traditional or fairy-tale like.

For this piece “Spectacle (of fish) Head (s)”, Jennifer is inspired by the gratitude Newfoundland’s heritage holds for the fishery which allowed the first English settlers to survive here at Cupids.

If you look closely, you’ll see the cod fish which form the landscape of Spectacle Head at Cupids – a literal translation of the heritage and colony that was built on/of cod.  You will also see the teeming schools of fish in the water.

Hooked in a #3 cut of wool fabric dyed to reflect the various blues of the sky and fall of the year, when some say cod fish tastes the sweetest, Jennifer has captured what Newfoundland history is known for and coupled it with her talent to draw.

Jackie Alcock was born, raised and has lived her entire life in Corner Brook, the only one of nine children to remain near to their roots.

While she did work outside the home in her earlier years, her love and gift for the Arts enabled her to stay at home and, with support from her husband Gary, raise their three children.

Jackie obtained a Bachelor of Fine Arts in 2008 and has always looked for the female connection in her work. So, it wasn’t surprising when her research of Cupids history led to the “First Child”.

To be the first recorded in history of anything is always remarkable. But to be the first recorded European child of English Descent born in Cuper’s Cove in the New Founde Land was indeed an important event.

Record keeping of this time period was at a minimum. Such information as the sex of the child or the mother’s name was not considered important.  Known only as a child of the man claiming paternity, this birth also holds the distinction of being the first recorded European child of English descent born in Canada. 

In 1613, just three years after the initial arrival, the birth of this child must have been cause for great celebration.  As, surely, these early pioneers must have felt they’d finally arrived!

Only a rug hooker since late 2008 when she took a course by Beverly Neville in Corner Brook, Jackie has hooked this piece in primitive style using 100% wool yarn depicting the early pioneer woman holding her child with the rolling hills and sea in the background.

Soon after Confederation, there was a noticeable shift in Newfoundlanders and Labradoreans moving away from skilled crafts.  The province feared losing a generation of knowledgeable craftspeople. 

In the early 70’s, Anna Templeton of St. John’s was assigned the task of resourcing skilled craftspeople to teach others who would then go throughout the province re-introducing crafts such as weaving, knitting, rug hooking, etc.

Anna invited her niece, Margaret Angel (known to us simply as ‘Angel’) to attend the class. With her grandmother’s hook in hand, Angel set off to see what it was all about. 

Since this first class in 1975, Angel has studied under textile artists in Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, Ontario, British Columbia and Hawaii.  She has not only taught her mother to hook but Angel has been juried by the Craft Council of Newfoundland and Labrador, sold some of her pieces and won awards for others.

The youngest of five children and mother of two grown children, Angel hails from a long line of women interested in history, crafts and the Arts.  Able to draw from a background of photography, visual arts training, her love for the country, and her work at The Rooms, Angel uses a variety of fabrics to create her mats.  She’s even incorporated odd mittens, resulting in beautiful pieces for the wall, floor, benches and stools. 

Hooked with 100% wool, hand dyed and recycled, in the design of “Leaded Diamond Window” Angel shows the actual size of the pane fragments found at the Cupids archaeological site, reflective of the artefact believed to be the first window glass found in Newfoundland and dates to 1610.

The diamond design complements the medium of rug hooking as diamonds and geometrics are one of the traditional patterns used in rural Newfoundland, dating back to our earliest records of mat making.

The free flowing landscape through the window is indicative of her personal style of design and shows the Cupids headland with a rich bog and rock landscape in the foreground.  In contrast, the window pane ‘reflects’ the habitation of settlers.

We are pleased to have the Archivist of our Guild participate in this Cupids 400 Celebration piece.

Co-chairs:Jennifer Button and Winnie Glavine
Committee Members: Margaret Angel , Judy Brockie and Diana Dove



This project was supported by:
McInnes Cooper,an Atlantic based Law Firm with
an office in St. John’s NL
To view the slide show of the completed mats, click here