Heritage Rug Registry

About the Registry

We are so very proud to bring this amazing piece of our Province’s history to you.  We could never have done this without the tenacity of Joan Foster, a Charter Guild Member and the Champion for this project.   Take a minute to read through the preface here and at the bottom you will see more than 1000 images of mats hooked or poked around our province, previous to 1995.  Enjoy every minute as you explore what Joan has accomplished here.

Since 1997, the Rug Hooking Guild of Newfoundland and Labrador has collected information on more than one thousand mats and has recorded hundreds of oral histories.  The Heritage Hooked Mat Registry project was co-sponsored for the summer of 1998 by the Craft Division of the Dept. of Development and Rural Renewal and RHGNL.  It started the process of photographing and recording information which will serve as a permanent record of any mats or other items hand-hooked in the traditional style in the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador at least twenty-five years ago. 

That first summer, the project which was coordinated by Joan Foster, registered 281 mats.  With the assistance of Guild members, several registration sessions were held at various locations across the province.  Since then, RHGNL has assumed all financial responsibility for the project and succeeding Guild Archivists have been responsible for the registration of qualifying mats.  The Guild has also provided a copy of all information collected to The Rooms where it can be accessed by anyone researching the tradition.

How to Register a Mat

The process of registering a mat involves an interview with the current owner and completion of a questionnaire regarding the mat’s history and the mat maker (if known).  Each mat is measured, the type of backing and materials used are noted and it is evaluated as to the present condition.  Photos are taken of front and back.  Each registered mat is assigned a number and a tag is attached.  The owner is asked to sign the form giving permission to use the photos and information for research and educational purposes.      

As a result of the Rug Registry, RHGNL worked with DRC Publishing to publish “Hooked Mats of Newfoundland and Labrador:  Beauty Born of Necessity” in 2006.  The book features over one hundred of the registered mats as well as stories of some of the women who made them.  (Purchase book here.) 

Please remember that the majority of these photos have been taken by various members of the Guild over the years – not by professional photographers so we apologize for the quality of some of the photos.  They are arranged by Rug Registry number, the name of the mat maker when known, the name of the town or location where the mat was hooked when known, and the approximate year made (if known).  The information is as was provided to us by the current owners. 

The Guild continues to register older mats.  If you own or know of a traditional hooked mat hooked in this province before 1995, regardless of its current condition, please contact archives@rhgnl.ca

Browse Rug Registry Gallery

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