Grenfell Hooked Mat Appraisal

Hooked on mats - Grenfell started a whole new craft industry



Thank you for bringing your Grenfell hooked mat into our shop for an evaluation.

I am regularly sent pictures of items, which are always welcomed, but it is always a pleasure to see a piece in person.

Grenfell mats tell an interesting story. In the late 1800s, Dr. Wilfred Grenfell took it upon himself to travel from England to help people in need of health care. When he came upon Newfoundland and the Labrador region in Canada, he did much more than just assist with medical relief. At the time, Newfoundland's economy was primarily based on the fishing industry and was economically dependent on its catch. Business was not good in the area at the time and Dr. Grenfell was inspired to give economic help by creating an industry that was not solely centered on fishing. He created a craft industry that enabled women to not only to participate in generating income, but also have more independence.

Using basic looms and knitting material, the art form of the Grenfell mat began. Weaving kits were created with pictorial patterns and there was much experimentation with color and dyes to achieve the desired effect. Dr. Grenfell marketed these mats well, particularly to the United States, and thus helped to establish more of a sense of economic well-being in the coastal Newfoundland area.

This craft industry flourished for around 30 years until the Great Depression. As the market and supplies dwindled, so did the mat hooking industry. Today the tradition continues, but the desirability of the first period pictorial mats with their mellow colors has made a stamp in the folk art marketplace.

Your Grenfell mat is probably from the 1920s and I would value it at $1,200.

 

 

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