Tim Boyd, left, and Mike Elvidge, members of the Wallace District Fire Department, talk about the incredible detail in the wall hanging the Remsheg Rug Hookers created for their hall. The firefighters were blown away by the detail in the piece, no matter where they looked. Raissa Tetanish photo

Members of the Wallace District Fire Department couldn’t believe what they were seeing.

Everywhere they looked, there was minute detail, and they had no trouble finding something new each and every time their eyes passed over it.

It was a hooked rug, made and donated to the brigade by the Remsheg Rug Hookers.

“I love it,” said firefighter Mike Elvidge.

“It’s beautiful,” added Tim Boyd, captain. “There’s so much history in this.”

The idea for the hooked rug came about this last year when group member Sonia Collis visited the fire hall.

“It was my first time in the hall during their open house and I noticed the sound was echoing,” she said. “I decided then and there to hook something.”

Joining the Remsheg Rug Hookers six years ago, Collis took her idea to the group and received support. Then, she approached the firefighters, who gave her a maximum size for a wall hanging. They also gave her content instructions – only buildings were to be included, and nothing else.

“So back I go to the hookers and we discussed if this should be attempted as one piece of fabric or multiple pieces, but the idea that it would be ‘only buildings’ was considered to be outrageous,” Collis said.

Collis started with a design concept and took it to her fellow hookers. She got thumbs up from them, and returned to the fire brigade. The firefighters’ request was to remove one item. Upon final approval, they got to work on the piece.

The first yarn was pulled on the piece in June 2016.

“It was most fascinating to see all the different styles of hooking coming together and gelling,” said Collis.

It’s hard to say how many hours were spent on the rug, which measures 63×54 inches. There are more than 50 members in the group, many of whom had a hand in the creation.

Seeing the rug for the first time, the firefighters were in awe.

“We didn’t think it would be anything that elaborate,” said Glenn Jamieson.

“It started with a few pictures. I lived next door to the fire hall and had a few pictures to use,” said Boyd.

“This shows community spirit, not just for us, but for the community,” added Elvidge. “It shows dedication to us, but we as firefighters as well. I bet there’s thousands of hours of work in this.”

The rug features numerous items – the Wallace lighthouse, Canada and Nova Scotia flags, water hose, and three trucks. The original building is pictured, which was originally an ice house for a lobster company.

The cenotaph is hooked into the piece, as well as the fire department’s own badge, and a truck’s dashboard.

It’s hard to estimate the amount of fabric used in the piece – each 12 inch square takes roughly 100 grams of fabric, however if wool is used it can take up to four times the amount of wool. Other textiles were used as well, such as rope.

Just moments before Collis and founding member Betty Brown, now 92, untied the ribbon and unrolled the rug, Collis addressed the firefighters.

“With our gratitude for your courage and commitment to our community, the one and only Remsheg Fire Hall Rug.”

Betty Brown, left, one of the founding members of the Remsheg Rug Hookers, and Sonia Collis unveil the Remsheg Fire Hall Rug that was made for the Wallace fire brigade. Collis wanted to make something to help soften the echoing from the walls in the hall.
Raissa Tetanish photo
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Raissa Tetanish
Raissa Tetanish is the editor of the Tatamagouche Light. She has more than 12 years experience as a reporter, with a background in both photography and photojournalism. She can be reached at 902-305-6177, or raissatetanish@tatamagouchelight.com.