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Special Beginner Class During 2022 Rug School!!

If you are a beginning hooker interested in a class on introductory hooking, please contact Aggie Harris at aappelharris@verizon.net for information. The beginners' class will be given on Wednesday morning, August 3, 2022 from 9 to 12 a.m.. The cost is $75.00. The instructor is nationally-recognized and anyone interested in learning this fiber art is invited. Participants should bring a sharp pair of scissors. All other materials will be provided. Participants are encouraged to bring a lunch and stay for the afternoon to hook & visit with guild members.

Important Announcement!!

Our normal meeting location at the Route 12 County Complex is still unavailable to us. Meetings are being held on the second Friday of each month from September to June from 10am to 2pm at the Raritan Township Police Department, 2 Municipal Drive, Flemington, NJ. Our meetings normally consist of a short business meeting, a “show & tell” portion and a program on some aspect of rug hooking. We have always invited guests to our meetings, so if you are interested in attending, email by clicking here and we will send you an invitation.

Guild Reunited with Long Lost Banner!

As of January 2020, the Guild's official rug has returned to our monthly meetings. It had gone into hiding in our storage unit. Given its size and weight, it can be a struggle sometimes to move the rug about. Below is an article from 2009 discussing the history of this beautiful rug:

The Hunterdon County Rug Artisans Guild (HCRAG) was recently reunited with its banner/rug that had been missing for many years. In 1982 a Guild member hooked a large rug with the Guild' s name in a central medallion. The rug served as the Guild's banner and was proudly displayed at meetings and community events. While long term members knew of the rug's existence, its whereabouts were unknown. The member who created the rug had relocated and the rug disappeared.

Earlier this year the rug was found in the trash on the sidewalk of a house in Stockton, NJ that had been sold and was being cleaned out. It was given to Judith Bebout from Sergeantsville, NJ who knew from local press coverage that the Guild was still in existence. When she saw in the papers that the Guild was demonstrating rug hooking at the Clinton North Branch Library, she drove to the library and returned the rug to Irene Pasternak, Guild V P, from Annandale, NJ who was coordinating the Guild's activities at the library. Judith subsequently attended the next Guild meeting to formally present the rug to Weezie Huntington, HCRAG President.

In an amazing coincidence, two days later the Guild member who had hooked the rug and had relocated to North Carolina contacted Guild member, Margaret Lutz from Flemington, NJ inquiring about a rug pattern she wished to obtain. This was the first contact with her for several years. "Skeet" Combs, the husband of Guild member Joyce Combs, from Lambertville, NJ designed and crafted a mahogany display stand for the rug. The size and weight of the rug required a special design and construction. The rug again hangs at the Guild's monthly meetings. It will also be on display when the Guild demonstrates traditional rug hooking at the Sheep & Fiber Festival at the Hunterdon County Fairgrounds in Ringoes, NJ on September 12 & 13, 2009.

Weezie Huntington observed that "The story of our rug's return is really a story of mutual community support. It starts with our Guild supporting local community organizations by demonstrating rug hooking at about 20 events such as the Hunterdon and Mercer County 4-H Fairs, Thanksgiving in the Country (Stockton/Sergeantsville, NJ), Colonial Market Day (Newtown, PA), the Holcombe-Jimison Farming Festival and the Howell Living Farm. The local press supports us by including our announcements in their papers so that alert neighbors like Judith Bebout are aware of the Guild even though she is not a rug hooker. Our rug would probably be in a landfill now if it was not for this circle of mutual support."

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The Hunterdon County Rug Artisans Guild was founded in April 1977. We currently have over 130 members from nine states. The mission of the Guild is to perpetuate the tradition and art of rug hooking, to encourage creativity, to provide the means for an exchange of ideas and information and to promote educational activities to enhance the interest in rug hooking. Monthly meetings in Flemington, New Jersey offer programs for someone new to rug hooking as well as the seasoned artisan. Members have opportunities to participate in hooking demonstrations, rug exhibits, rug camps and “hook-ins”. A supportive environment is provided for those new to the craft and for those looking to refine their technique. New members are always welcome!

Origins of HCRAG and the Development of Craft Guilds in Hunterdon County

In 1976 a cooperative effort between Hunterdon County Adult Education and the Office of the Aging was started under the Older Americans Act. Under this project, art and craft courses were taught throughout the municipalities of Hunterdon County with the guidance of Josephine “Jo” Knobloch. The success of the classes led to establishing a Rug Artisans Guild with the purpose of preserving the cultural heritage of traditional rug hooking. It was self-sustaining, requiring annual payment of minimal dues, which were used to pay guest instructors. Members, in turn, gave exhibits and demonstrations within the community to continually educate and keep the public aware of their existence and gain new members. The Adult Education Office advertised the Guild’s programs and provided meeting space.

With the success of this project called “Project Arts and Crafts for Hunterdon Aging” (PACHA), “Jo” Knobloch was offered a full time position as Special Projects Coordinator for Adult Education. She soon used the rug hooking guild model and organized the patchwork & quilting, needlework, and knitting and crocheting guilds.

Members of the various guilds and participants in other art and craft classes were creating so many quality handmade pieces that Jo Knobloch sought and gained approval for opening an outlet store where these creations could be sold. Thus was born “Golden Talents,” which was located in Liberty Village in Flemington, NJ. Golden Talents operated successfully as a self-sufficient business for 28 years.

The guilds originally established by Jo Knobloch still exist and continue to meet and support Hunterdon County. Items created by their members are exhibited each year at the Hunterdon County 4-H and Agricultural Fair at the County Fairgrounds in Ringos, NJ.

Jo Knobloch’s guidance to “her guilds” stressed working cooperatively with the community as one of the finest ways possible to show appreciation for their past and continued support.

Copyright 2022 Hunterdon County Rug Artisans Guild