Sir John at OMAH

A week ago, the exhibit to celebrate Sir John A. MacDonald’s 200th birthday opened at the Orillia Museum of Art and History.DSCF7064

You might well ask…what has this to do with rug hooking? Well here is the background. About a year ago, the various organizations in town were notified of this upcoming celebration, and were invited to participate. The Sunshine rug hookers decided to see if this was an event we could contribute to, and Mary Anne Grant volunteered to attend the committee meeting. Indeed it was, and for the past year we have been hooking pieces to celebrate Canada’s first prime minister. With Mary Anne’s guidance, enthusiasm, and information, our group contributed not only hooked pieces but other fiber work of the day including tatting, embroidery, quilting, cross stitch and crochet. And so the exhibition not only features the political events and social scene of the times, but also a fine display of the handwork being done by women in Canada in the 1800’s as well.

Sir John himself, (who visited the annual last spring), is lounging in his parlour (newspaper cast aside)……(hooked by Luise Bishop)DSCF7047…….with his wife looking on.DSCF7051


Of course the building of the railway connecting this vast country from coast to coast was perhaps Sir John’s finest achievement. DSCF7076

Gail Mueller’s wonderful rug celebrates its importance, and other exhibits and articles told the story.DSCF7061

There were many surveying instruments used in the building on display, but I seem to have missed taking a photo of them.

A painting by M. Van Halen…DSCF7056

…and my contribution….. this hooked caricature based on a cartoon by Peterson….DSCF7049

As you can see by the caricature, Sir John wasn’t averse to a wee tipple, and there was even a display of books and bottles related to the whiskey industry.DSCF7079

This was Sir John’s home “Earnscliff” in Ottawa. DSCF7083

…and the parlour of his home….DSCF7084

… very “Victorian” with its abundance of decorative articles….so many of them fibre related. There were many examples in the exhibit. Rugs and chair pads…DSCF7050 DSCF7067….pillow cases, quilts and table cloths and blankets…DSCF7072 DSCF7058 DSCF7074….cross stitch…DSCF7068

….embroidered pictures…DSCF7085….and of course that essential Victorian decorative item….the doily.DSCF7070 DSCF7073

DSCF7069….examples of First Nation handwork of the times..DSCF7075

…even a warm (and well used) buffalo coat…DSCF7066….all looked over with appreciation by Victoria herself….wonderfully interpreted by Cynthia Young.DSCF7088DSCF7062Perhaps the most touching article for me was this…..common in an era where many children failed to live to maturity…..a photo of the child with a lock of hair….a precious keepsake of a lost child.DSCF7081

Happy Birthday Sir John. Thank you for helping to create this wonderful country I call home.




4 thoughts on “Sir John at OMAH

  1. Magnificent exhibition of superb work by one and all artists. I also love the hooked portrait of our Queen and of course your most wonderful characature of the man himself. X

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