Hookers and prodders to descend on Reeth for rugmaking conference

Children prepare for rugmaking conference and exhibition.

More than a hundred professional and semi-professional hookers and prodders from around the world will descend on Reeth this October.

The international group of rug makers are meeting for a four-day celebration of the ancient craft, as part of The International Guild of Handhooking Rugmakers’ (TIGHR) three-year conference.

Previously held in places as far afield as Vancouver Island and Australia, 2018 marks the UK’s turn to host the rug making elite.

Visitors from Japan and the USA are among the many who will travel hundreds of thousands of miles to attend the event.

During the festivities, guests will have the opportunity to learn new skills in a variety of pre-booked workshops, visit local places of interest, and exchange technical know-how. 

Running alongside the ticket-only event will be a free public exhibition at St Andrew’s Church, Grinton.

The imposing and beautiful Norman building will be home to a free rag rug exhibition for three days, from October 9 to 11, 10am to 4pm.

Local school children, from Reeth and Gunnerside Primary Schools and Arkengarthdale Church of England School, have taken part in rug making lessons in school in the run up to the exhibition.

Their work will go on show at Reeth Museu for three days after the Church exhibition.

TIGHR president, Heather Ritchie, from Reeth, said: “This event will showcase the best the rug-making world has to offer. Not only does it provide us with the rare opportunity to see how the craft translates across the globe, but it also inspires both the young and the young at heart to try their hand at the age-old craft.

“The exhibition is one not to be missed.”

Refreshments will be served by volunteers each day, with proceeds donated to the not-for-profit company, Rug Aid, to support the work of blind rugmakers in The Gambia.“  

There will be sales tables by local textile artists and Rug Aid.

Entry to the exhibition is free but a small donation to St Andrew’s Church will be gratefully received.

There is disabled access to the church and free parking available in a field over the river from the church, thanks to the generosity of a local famer.

Visitors to the exhibition will also find a whole host of other craft related businesses and galleries to visit in Reeth – Swaledale Museum, Scenic View Gallery and Fleece to name but a few.