This rug was hooked by our mother, Lucina (Daly) Hearn, when she was 20 years old – about 90 years ago. At that time, it won second prize in a rug-hooking contest in the Avalon area.
Lucinda Daly was born in 1913 in Mall Bay, St. Mary’s Bay, NL. There her family raised a few sheep, kept cows and grew vegetables to support their needs. Her father, my grandfather, had his own sawmill on his land, and he owned a lobster factory. He lost his eyesight in a mill accident when he was in his 40s.
Lucy was unmarried and living at home when she made this award-winning rug. She hooked the rug on burlap, using yarn that she sheared from the family sheep, then washed, carded and spun herself. The different colours of blue, green, brown and yellow for the wool came from natural dyes made by Lucy from wild berries, flowers and leaves. Using the old Newfoundland Sea Dog matchbox for inspiration, she hooked the image of seals on an ice pan. The border around the edge of the rug certainly displayed her artistic skill.
Eventually, Lucy married Joseph Hearn of nearby Admiral’s Cove. They had six children: four boys and two girls. Lucy was known as an artistic person who could turn her hand to anything with needle and thread. She made her own clothes, quilts, curtains etc. At one point, she took a six-week sewing course at the Anna Templeton Centre in downtown St. John’s.
Lucy lived out her final years in the Agnes Pratt Home in St. John’s. She was in her 80s when she passed away in 1998.
The rug was never used as a floor rug, but was carefully packed away for safekeeping. It was eventually passed down to me. Someday I hope to pass it on to one of my nieces.
We consider this rug a family heirloom. It’s a reminder to us of the hard work and talents of our parents and grandparents in days gone by.