Yarmouth Heights’ resident Mary Anne Mehaffey completed a spectacular rug hooking piece over about seven months this year. The piece features Yarmouth Heights and many incredible details surrounding the Yarmouth harbor.
Mary Anne explains, “Out of the windows of my apartment I see the very view on the rug. As a matter of fact, I grew up just yards from where I am now, and I played in those meadows by the harbour throughout my childhood. Our building is an ell of Yarmouth Regional Hospital. After I finished hooking our backyard, I created the Veterans’ Wing complete with the Canadian flag. A tiny bit of hospital is shown near the helicopter pad and the ambulance is meeting the helicopter.
“Fields and houses hide the water from Lake Milo running into the harbour. On the other side of that water is our town. Telescoped because of lack of space, the town is depicted by Yarmouth North Baptist Church, Tim Horton’s, Town Hall, Pier 1, Rudder’s restaurant, Murray Manor, and the CAT in port. ‘Bug Light’ is a bit toward the ocean, and Yarmouth Light at the entrance to the harbour. If you look closely you wiII see in a front window a grey haired old lady waving goodbye to departing family members. My children kept saying, ‘Mom, you have to be there somewhere!’”
The piece started with the support of Joy Sison, the Administrator at Yarmouth Heights. Mary Anne told her, “Yeah, sure. At 88 I am far too old to start a big project like that!” Her friend Elaine Howatt gave her the final push and drew out Yarmouth Heights on a piece of linen. “The rest just grew from my own hand,” says Mary Anne. “I got all my ideas first hand from my view. As I went along, the island appeared and the town appeared. It’s really amazing to have people so excited about it.”
Mary Anne has lived across Canada, but started her career in Darmouth, Nova Scotia as a teacher with a shop in her home where she sold supplies for rug hookers. Over the years Mary Anne has made many rugs, some of which were commissions for collectors and even for the Province of Nova Scotia. She recalls that the piece, depicting the Bluenose, was used as an ad in The New Yorker alongside the caption, “Get hooked on Nova Scotia.”
When asked what advice she had for new rug hookers, Mary Anne suggested getting involved with the Rug Hooking Guild of Nova Scotia. The guild has over 1500 members in Atlantic Canada, 45 of which are in Yarmouth. You can learn more about becoming a member at rhgns.com.