From curiosity to hobby
How this youth began exploring the world of rug hooking
Meet Jason, who also goes by the name Coolface Jase, a 23 year old TCHC tenant from the east end.
His rug hooking journey started in 2021 when he was bored during a COVID-19 lockdown and scrolling through social media. Jason found himself several videos deep on TikTok, where a rug hooking video caught his interest.
Rug hooking is an art where you pull loops of yarn or fabric through a stiff woven base. Designs for the rugs can be as difficult as flowers or animals, or as simple as shapes. Although this form of art is not practiced by many people, it has been popular in North America for the past 200 years.
Jason thought rug hooking was pretty cool, but put the idea aside. This April, he saw more rug hooking videos on his social media feeds. He decided to get serious and try his hand at it. Jason started with research and learned what materials he needed to pursue this new interest. He watched countless hours of YouTube videos to learn how the basics of rug booking, plus different strategies and techniques involved.
"As someone who is not very artistic, I thought I would try it out, and see how it goes. I’ve seen people make some really cool designs like cartoon characters or logos. That’s what really sparked my interest."
Jason wants to display his art in the new Youth community room at his building and share his passion for rug hooking with more people. He also wants to teach other tenants how to rug hook, but he buys all of his supplies and equipment out of his own pocket. Jason is working with his Engagement Community Services Coordinator, Charmaine Beard, to apply for funding through Tenant Action Funds. This will help cover the cost of materials for any programs he will hold.
What started as a hobby is now giving Jason other opportunities. Charmaine is also helping him register as a vendor to teach other Toronto Community Housing tenants how to rug hook. In addition, Jason is also looking to take his talents further by looking for opportunities to teach others how to rug hook outside of TCHC.
"Rug hooking makes me feel at peace. I put my headphones in, play music, and I get to work. For me, it’s an escape from the world and everything that’s happening around me."