Contemporary artists passing along love of traditional rug hooking

A number of contemporary artist keep alive the tradition of hooked rug making and each is truly one-of-a-kind.

Even if the same pre-printed pattern is used, the materials and techniques used by contemporary rug hookers are as unique as the hookers themselves.

According to Jessie Turbayne, there are tens of thousands of people who hook rugs. The Association of Traditional Hooking Artists (ATHA) has chapters around the world. It’s a social activity. Typically, rug hookers don’t sell their work because they are very personal and they put so much effort into it. They give hooked rugs to family and friends, for whom they become treasured heirlooms. Some contemporary rug artists, however, will produce commissioned rugs, perhaps to commemorate a wedding or anniversary.

Each year, Sauder Village in Archbold, Ohio, hosts Rug Hooking Week. This year it was held Aug. 15-18, featuring an exhibition of hundreds of contemporary hooked rugs, workshops, retreats and more than a dozen vendor booths; some of the rugs are offered for sale by the artists. Depending on the artist, design, and size, contemporary rugs can cost several hundred to several thousand dollars.

Just a few of the contemporary rug-hooking artists with remarkable one-of-a-kind works for sale are Deanne Fitzpatrick, a third-generation rug hooker from Amherst, Nova Scotia, Canada. Fitzpatrick is the author of “Hook Me A Story: The History and Method of Rug Hooking in Atlantic Canada” (Nimbus Publishing, 1999).

Roslyn Logsdon of Laurel, Md., is currently featured in the exhibit “Architectural Elements: Hooked Rugs by Roslyn Logsdon,” on view through Sept. 29, 2012, at Maine Fiberarts museum in Topsham.

Artist Rosemary Levin of Corea, Maine, is in the middle of a 17-year project whereby she is creating hooked rugs based on each of the 17 stone bridges in Acadia National Park. After each rug’s completion, it is auctioned to raise money to support the Friends of Acadia, which preserves, protects and promotes stewardship of the park’s resources.

Learn more about the ATHA.

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