When Grenfell arrived in Newfoundland he met hardworking people who were fighting terrible odds against chronic disease, hunger, poverty and exploitation. From his determination to alleviate their distress, Grenfell's medical mission began. His conviction that outright gifts of money, food and clothing would offer no long term help led to the development of a cottage industry known as "the Industrial," which produced distinctive handicrafts including hooked mats. The mat industry rose to peak production in the late 1920s and early 1930s. Hooking was first introduced by the English and Scottish settlers and all girls learnt to hook. The quiet months of February and March were the "matting season".
This rug depicts the pelt of a ringed seal - these pelts curing on racks would have been a common sight since Mission people were very dependent on hunting seal to provide food and raw materials for a vast array of life's necessities.
There is a wonderful book: Silk Stocking Mats: Hooked Mats Of The Grenfell Mission by Paula Laverty documenting the history and designs of many of the mat designs. The cover shows detail from an anemone and starfish rug.