Doris Eaton may no longer be with us, but her brightly colored nature-inspired hooked rugs continue to be recognized throughout the world. The well-known local artist, rug hooker, teacher, painter and writer passed away in 2019, but is being remembered by the community and members of the Nova Scotia Rug Hooking Guild with a special exhibit of her work Bridgewater's DesBrisay Museum.
The exhibit runs from October 12 to November 13.
An official opening reception for the exhibit was to be held at the museum on October 14 featuring several guest speakers and singer/songwriter, Alex Hickey, who wrote a song especially for the talented artist. The exhibit consists of more than 20 of Eaton's rug hooking masterpieces, many of which depict the natural beauty of the South Shore.
"Doris did a wide variety of rug hookings, but she did a lot of nature. She took pictures and then she hooked the rugs," Debbie Smith, director for the South Shore Rug Hooking Guild of Nova Scotia, told LighthouseNOW. She always put her name in her rug and she had such an artistic flair for writing on rug hooking. I've never seen it done so well,'' added Smith, who was a long-time friend of Eaton and a fellow rug hooker.
Her colorful creations were made of yarn, wool strips and sometimes silk. She had a sky-is-the-limit rationale when it came to rug hooking, noted Smith, and always encouraged fellow rug hookers to use whatever materials they felt comfortable using.
The contents of the exhibit came primarily from Eaton's daughter, but a half dozen or so items came from members of different rug hooking groups in various other areas. A selection of her water color paintings and personal memorabilia are also on display.
Eaton lived in Petite Riviere for most of her life before moving to the Annapolis Valley to live with her daughter. She was one of the founding members of the Nova Scotia Rug Hooking Guild, which was established in the 1970s. Eaton once even traveled to Japan to show her rugs which have become known throughout the world.
Although her death was a huge blow for the Nova Scotia Rug Hooking Guild, the organization continues to thrive. It's now more than 700 members strong, and according to Smith the numbers keep growing every year as more and more people take up the craft. "People have been doing it for so long and passing it along from one generation to the next. There are a lot of young people, even just coming to the rug hooking groups to have a look and see if they would like to do it,'' she told LighthouseNOW.
The exhibit will be on display at the museum during regular operating hours, Tuesday through Saturday, from 9 a.m.- 1 p.m. Admission is free.