The Broad Mountain Ruggers: Give But A Glimpse

Meredith Williams

Arts and Entertainment Editor

From September 2-30 in Stirling’s Coffee House, The Broad Mountain Ruggers’s Give But A Glimpse exhibition can be observed. The Broad Mountain Ruggers have created life, landscapes, and whimsy in only an eight-inch square. Give But A Glimpse truly gives us a small, eight-inch glimpse into the intricacy of rug-hooking and the effect landscape has on us. These unique displays pay homage to an age-old craft while demonstrating its enduring relevance and artistic possibilities. 

Photo courtesy of Beylie Ivanhoe

Cass Gannaway, the founder of the Broad Mountain Ruggers, discovered her love for rug-hooking in 1970. After years of rug-hooking for fun, Gannaway realized her passion for teaching rug-hooking when her son-in-law asked to be taught. Gannaway explained that after two more family members asked to be taught how to rug-hook,  “…one person invited another person, and one thing led to another,” ultimately creating the Broad Mountain Ruggers.

When asked about naming their group, Gannaway explained, “I wanted it to have a Sewanee connection. And so we threw around a lot of things. But when the Broad Mountain, which, as I understand, is an older term for the plateau that we are on, came up, I thought, okay, that’s it. I loved that one.” Since 2008, the Broad Mountain Ruggers have spread throughout the South and began accepting quilters, knitters, punch embroiderers, and other forms of artistry under the “rugging” umbrella. 

Photo courtesy of Beylie Ivanhoe

Give But A Glimpse, a quarterly challenge from The Broad Mountain Ruggers, challenges members to any textile interpretation of an eight-inch landscape. The materials of pieces in Give But A Glimpse range from hand-dyed wool cloth to recycled plastic bags. Even a piece from Christi Teasley in Monteagle, TN, called “Pods Blossom” is made from recycled and vintage scraps of t-shirts, stockings, pajamas, a Rancho Gordon tote bag, a Tyvec envelope, and silk scarves. 

“It’s amazing that you can put as much time as you can into an eight-inch square piece… they’re extremely detailed, several days worth of work and dedication for sure,” Gannaway explained. “[…]the word landscape means something different to everybody, so we let it grow.” Each piece is individualized to give us a glimpse of the artist’s perspective of the landscape around them.

Photo courtesy of Beylie Ivanhoe

Whether you are a rug-hooking aficionado or someone seeking to explore the world of textile artistry, the Broad Mountain Ruggers, nonetheless, are accepting of new members. To those of you who are already ruggers, Give But A Glimpse is an inspiration for the hard work and creativity of the Broad Mountain Ruggers. And to those who are either new to rug-hooking or just like to look at pretty art, then Give But A Glimpse will open your eyes to a whole new form of artistic expression and talent. 

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