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The Hunterdon County Rug Artisans Guild (HCRAG)

The Hunterdon County Rug Artisans Guild was founded in April 1977. We currently have over 100 members from many states. The mission of the Guild is to perpetuate the tradition and art of rug hooking, to encourage creativity, to provide the means for an exchange of ideas and information and to promote educational activities to enhance the interest in rug hooking.

HCRAG holds monthly meetings on the second Friday of each month September thru June from 10am to 2pm at the Route 12 County Complex. Meetings normally consist of a short business meeting, a “show & tell” portion and a program on some aspect of rug hooking. Anyone new to rug hooking as well as the seasoned artisan can benefit from the programs offered. Members have opportunities to participate in hooking demonstrations, rug exhibits, rug camps and “hook-ins”. A supportive environment is provided for those new to the craft and for those looking to refine their technique.

We have always invited guests to our meetings, so if you are interested in attending, info@hcrag.com and we will send you an invitation. New members are always welcome!

Origins of HCRAG & Craft Guilds in Hunterdon County

In 1976 a cooperative effort between Hunterdon County Adult Education and the Office of the Aging was started under the Older Americans Act. Under this project, art and craft courses were taught throughout the municipalities of Hunterdon County with the guidance of Josephine “Jo” Knobloch. The success of the classes led to establishing a Rug Artisans Guild with the purpose of preserving the cultural heritage of traditional rug hooking. It was self-sustaining, requiring annual payment of minimal dues, which were used to pay guest instructors. Members, in turn, gave exhibits and demonstrations within the community to continually educate and keep the public aware of their existence and gain new members. The Adult Education Office advertised the Guild’s programs and provided meeting space.

With the success of this project called “Project Arts and Crafts for Hunterdon Aging” (PACHA), “Jo” Knobloch was offered a full time position as Special Projects Coordinator for Adult Education. She soon used the rug hooking guild model and organized the patchwork & quilting, needlework, and knitting and crocheting guilds.

The guilds originally established by Jo Knobloch still exist and continue to meet and support Hunterdon County. Items created by their members are exhibited each year at the Hunterdon County 4-H and Agricultural Fair at the County Fairgrounds in Ringos, NJ.

Jo Knobloch’s guidance to “her guilds” stressed working cooperatively with the community as one of the finest ways possible to show appreciation for their past and continued support.

Copyright 2023 Hunterdon County Rug Artisans Guild