A Tribute to Ruth Cotton

Yesterday was the first Tuesday of the month, and our tribute day at Sunshine Rug Hookers. This month we paid tribute to the rugs of Ruth Cotton.  Ruth began hooking in the early 1970’s, and created a wealth of finely crafted pieces. She was an inspiration to many of the local hookers, and held meetings in her home for a time. She passed away in 2007, and Jean Wallace, Ruth’s sister, (also a Sunshine Rug Hooker),  presented a small sampling of her work.


This crewel style piece is delicately shaded.


Apparently this is a rare piece in that she used no blue…..a colour she was known for.


This rug is from Trent School of Rug Hooking. Each year there is a community rug, which everyone attending can hook on. At the end of the week a draw is made and the winner gets the partially finished rug to complete, and own. Ruth won the rug in 2005, and completed it. The bird is a sculpture which stands on the University grounds. Her sister Jean particularly treasures it because the names of everyone who hooked on it, are written on the binding.


This is a portrait of her beloved spaniel Danny….how life-like is that!!


She was well known for her exquisite orientals. …a little personal story…Shortly after getting back into rug hooking…I decided I wanted to hook an oriental. My friend and mentor June Baker called Ruth (whom I had never met), and asked if she would show me hers. She had us over for tea and cookies, and spent several hours with us. I remember this rug from that one time visit….the hooking was breathtaking…such even loops…that I’m still aspiring to remotely emulate!


She hooked this piece, then sewed the bag for it. I love the colours of the grasses. They show up perfectly against the green leaves behind them.


These two samples of specialty techniques were of great interest to many of the newer hookers, who hadn’t seen them before.  We often forget the wonderful options available to be created with just a strip of wool and a hook!

Jean also showed an entire binder of pictures of her sister’s amazing quilts, (all hand sewn) as well as paintings, basketwork, dolls, and sewing. What a talented woman!

These Tuesday Tributes are great for the newer members in particular, giving us a glimpse into the creativity and skill so abundant in this, and I’m sure every rug hooking group.

4 thoughts on “A Tribute to Ruth Cotton

  1. I had the privilege to be in a couple of Trent rug hooking classes with Ruth. She was a wonderful person, quiet but knew what she wanted. In Jon Ciemewitz’s class she hooked not only one piece but two pieces in the one week! I always admired the fox she hooked and wished I could hook as finely as she could. Thank you for sharing some of Ruth’s collection. And, the Trent piece she won I was also there and it was designed by Pat Bonn from Ottawa Olde Forge. The symbol in the middle is a replica of an ironwork statue at Trent.

  2. Thanks so much for the additional information Susan. Although I only met her the once…that is exactly how she has been described to me….quiet , determined, and a prodigious hooker.

  3. Today’s tribute is soooo inspiring. Have printed out the "stitches" because I want to use them as a reference and because,YES, I forgot what we can do with our wool in rug hooking. THANK YOU.

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