Gerald Gloade takes a look at a hooked rug, made from his design on the Canadian nickel. Submitted photo

MILLBROOK – There are still a few more days to see pieces from a variety of First Nations artists transformed into hooked rugs.

Tanya McNutt said the idea spurred from a news article a couple of years ago about Gerald Gloade having a submission selected for a series through the Canadian Mint. Gloade’s rendition of a beaver was chosen to grace the Canadian nickel.

“I really like to hook and when I saw his artwork, I thought it would make a beautiful rug,” said McNutt.

Knowing Gloade’s wife, McNutt asked if there might be a possibility the image could be transformed into a hooked rug. When she called him, Gloade said yes to McNutt’s idea.

“It just grew from there,” she said.

Rug hookers from Colchester and Cumberland counties were presented with the idea, and McNutt said they were all on board. Gloade made a presentation to the group about his artwork.

Ursula Gulliver was one of those hookers at Gloade’s two-hour presentation.
“He was just so eloquent and humble,” she said. “When he gave us a blanket statement to use his art, he inspired you to rush out and pick one. I did mine right away.”

But it’s not just Gloade’s artwork the group was interested in.

“We thought, ‘why would we limit it to just Gerald?’” said McNutt.

From there, the hookers received permission from Alan Syliboy and Lorne Julien for one-time usage of their artwork.

“They all have different styles,” said McNutt, saying all three artists were supportive of the hookers’ idea to host an exhibit.

The Millbrook Cultural and Heritage Centre was approached to host the exhibit, and quickly came on board.

“What an opportunity this is to promote and honour of local aboriginal community,” said McNutt. “We hope to bring attention to First Nations art and culture, and bring people to the centre. This community has been here, and many of us take it for granted. We hope this exhibit will help bring understanding and respect to the community.”

“We also hope this exhibit will inspire other hookers to look around their own community for inspiration,” added Gulliver.

The exhibit features about 40 hooked rugs done by 31 hookers. It will run until Oct. 19 at the Millbrook Cultural and Heritage Centre.