J.J. Ruggers, a Paris, Ontario based traditional rug hooking group, was founded by Paris kindergarten teacher, Joyce Johnson in 1969. Joyce had been “hooking” since 1948, attracted by the craft that dates to pioneer times, and was largely self taught. She became a McGown accredited teacher (a United States hooking organization), was a founding member of the Ontario Hooking Craft Guild (OHCG), which started in 1966, and subsequently she became an OHCG accredited teacher and its president in 1972. Joyce hosted the 2nd Annual General Meeting of the OHCG in Paris at the Agricultural Hall.
After teaching hooking in the Paris/Brantford area for a number of years, there was enough interest to start a local branch of the O.H.C.G. and, in 1969, J.J. Ruggers came into being, named with the initials of its founder.
The Branch met monthly, often at the Paris Public Library, with breaks in the summer months. Over the years, meetings have also been held at various churches, clubs, and halls in the Paris area. Although meetings are held in Paris, membership also comes from the surrounding area: Brantford, Bethel, Simcoe, Burford, Ancaster, Lynden, St George, Cambridge, and Princeton etc.
Meetings involved Branch business but the focus was, and is, on promoting rug hooking, learning about new techniques and projects, and enjoying the fellowship of those who share a common interest. One and two-day classes have been held - some led by members and some by teachers from other areas. There were also trips to suppliers, workshops in other communities and day long “hook-ins.” Local rug hookers have also taken the classes required and become accredited rug hooking teachers, often holding classes in their homes as well as teaching at workshops.
J.J.'s first rug hooking show was held in 1972 in the Mill House, in Paris. There have been many other shows in halls, churches, the Paris library and demonstrations at fairs, the 1990 International Ploughing Match and craft shows. The intention is always to promote the art of rug hooking and encourage continued improvement. Members have won awards for their rug hooked pieces at the OHCG Annual Show and at the Paris and Ancaster Fairs.
In 1988, Nancy Beaton designed and hooked a shield for the group based on her study of Heraldry. The piece has been displayed at every J. J. Ruggers show and OHCG Annual Show since.
J.J. Ruggers displays the members' rugs at the OHCG Annual Show every year. The group hosted this event again in 1974 (at Brantford Collegiate) and 1998 (at the Brant Park Inn in Brantford).
The first Apps Mill/Kiwanis retreat and workshop was held in the fall of 1986. Participants come from across the province to the idyllic location just south of Paris, to spend two days learning new rug hooking skills and having fun. Fall of 2019 marks J.J. Ruggers' 26th Rug Hooking Weekend.
J.J. Ruggers have participated in many special projects in their 50 year history: friendship rugs, exchanges, group challenges, donations to local charities and Canadian groups. In 2014 members participated in a Fibre Art exchange with a group in Scotland with the work displayed in both countries.
-J.J. Ruggers Shield designed and hooked by Nancy Beaton
-Poppies on the Edge of Town (Deanne Fitzpatrick) hooked by Karla Stonham
-Poppies (Deanne Fitzpatrick) hooked by Christine Ford
-Home page banner by Brit Dowson