Textiles – “Traditional Rug Hooking” part one

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Primitive Hooked carpet

In the past textiles could not be readily available to our colonists. The ocean voyages were tedious, long and dangerous. Sailors setting out over ocean became easily bored and took to the hook. textile8They would cut up burlap feed sacks, bend nails, whittle crochet shaped hooks out of wood, tear up old clothing into strips and hook carpets. During turbulent weather, carpets were wrapped around the masts of ships and clinging to it saved many a life. The sailors were also artists and produced primitive designs of mermaids, seashells, whales and exotic animals. Today the primitive rugs are found at museums. Most of our first settlers were faced with not being able to afford luxurious items such as fine china, furniture or carpets. It also took a great deal of time to wait for ships to port. So they too also produced fine hooked carpets using plates as templates to create designs. A family pet, tales of family history, a lost love were also subjects incorporated into the design of a rug. Their treasured carpets decorated the dirt floors at daytime while at night, tossed onto the bed to be used as a warming blanket.  My first introduction to this craft was by a neighbor during the 80’s. I attended a Saturday workshop at a rug hooking gurus farm located at the State of Maryland. It was the perfect environment to learn Traditional Rug Hooking because the Mary Burton studio was a thirty room antique log cabin! There I was inspired to do onion skin dying and over-dying white woolen fabric with Cushing dyes. I designed patterns for Mary, displayed my work at a rug hooking show at Old Sturbridge Village, produced a design for her lecture presentation at the historical society of Portsmouth and had the opportunity to meet Joan Moshimer, owner of W. Cushing & Company, Kennebunkport, Maine. I treasured being able to be an overnight guest, having that personalized tour of the store and the Moshimers shared professional highlights about their magazine!  With time and in-between freelance jobs, I gave private instruction and held my own workshop at the Muscoot Farm, Katonah, NY. My experiences working in this craft will never be forgotten. As an artist the people and professionals within its circles have complimented my lifes journey to explore not only our rich history but the uses of color and materials. I posted a few of my many used carpets. The tiny animal rugs are applied to pillow fronts and can be interchanged. If you have any question about this craft, please feel free to post below. (The oriental carpet is a pattern and the cow with geese carpet – I dyed the wool) (The rest are my originals designs)

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