The Rug Hook Project was created in 1993 by a group of expatriates living in San Miguel de Allende Mexico. Their vision was to enhance the lives of rural women in two ways:
First: Find a way for women to earn money- The Rug Hook Project
Second: provide scholarships for girls- Mujeres en Cambio http://mujeresencambio.org/
Several articles have been written about the group.
There links are where you can read more.
Rug Hook Magazine 2004
ATHA Newsletter 2009
One master rug hooker MK Maudsley was instrumental in helping them perfect their skills. This is a quote from MK Maudsley” I didn’t actually start the rancheritas down the rug-hooking path. Other women pitched in to teach them when the expressed the desire to do something different from the embroidery that is the typical handiwork of the area. I was asked to go to SMA to help since I speak Spanish and am a rug hooker. I accepted her invitation right away and started canvassing other hookers in various groups in Nova Scotia for donation, primarily of wool, but also of cash so that I could buy backing, etc for the amigas. I continued to go each year for three years and was amazed at what the rancheritas were beginning to produce. I brought back pictures of their work, and that helped increase the donations (including one largish cash donation from a Public School teachers’ union!
The weaving master at the Instituto Allende offered them all the rug yarn left over from his courses, but I don’t think they liked working with it. I encouraged the rancheritas to use knitted fabric of whatever kind they could find, but their ability to access that is limited. I used to trot around to second-handshops looking for T shirts, etc. Such material CAN be used to good effect, especially since they don’t make many pieces for the floor. Folks up here used to use Grandpa’s old long johns, satin from coat/jacket linings, etc–pretty much whatever came to hand.”
Charlotte Bell became involved in 1999 when she visited the village to take photographs for the website she was constructing for Mujeres en Cambio. She became enchanted with the women and saw they had basically no marketing for their rugs. Charlotte has been an independent artist since 1973 so she began bringing the rugs back to the USA for shows and exhibits. She does this as a service project.