In August 2022, LET HER GO made a surprising & rare public appearance at Rug Hooking Week at Sauder Village.
RHW attendees were glad to see this 80+ year old hooked rug had been well taken care of, as they closely examined the primitive textures & colors of her background materials, the cute little hooked nose of the jockey & so many other details - that are only seen from up close & in person.
Another thing RHW attendees saw, when they looked at this wonderful rug, was... SPEED! Can you see it? You can almost hear Roger Huston – “The Voice” of harness racing, announce... "the mare is coming down to the wire." You can see the strength hooked into her legs & hooves, she could trample you! Great care was also taken to hook movement in the background too. Together they built a sense of quickness & urgency! It took skill & talent for the fiber artist to achieve this!
(While the Museum of Folk Art may have changed it's name & location over the years, it has had 2 significant hooked rug exhibits. The second was the Great Cover-Up: American Rugs on Beds, Tables & Floors in 2007.)
Please do not copy... Let Her Go...
she is an ORIGINAL... a James & Mercedes Hutchinson design.
James & Mercedes Hutchinson
Sailor's Bride Rug - Joys of a sailor's comings & goings. Depicts him & his bride, among canaries & flowers. He wraps his arm protectively around her. Over his shoulder is a parrot, over her shoulder is a nesting songbird. The words are carefully hooked.
Hutchinson style - The sailor is a typically dapper & handsome gent, with a moustache. The bride is petite & modest/demure. Their clothing is stylish, down to her earrings. The unique Hutchinson inscription is perfectly expressed with trademark Hutchinson facial expressions!
RHW 2022 Feature Exhibit: MAINE: HOOKED RUGS & FIBER ARTS acknowledged Barbara Merry (1923-2000) of Swanville, Maine, for she holds the title “Maine’s most collected hooked rugs!” In 2022, she passed away at the age of 100, but her hooked rugs were often mistaken for ones hooked in the 1800s. She fooled many, with her use of old materials & color removal techniques, as well as her primitive pictorial designs from childhood memories.
Cat & Dog
A charming cat & dog are the focal point in the center oval, with a subtle floral border, surrounded by a mottled background & hearts in the corner. Barbara's initials "BEM" are inside the oval. Typical of Barbara's folky style and colors.
Log Cabin with Bear
A rugged Maine scene, a log cabin with smoke rising out of chimney, & a pond surrounded by pine trees. Typical of Barbara, & her folky style, the bear is almost as big as the cabin. Other cabins off in the distance. Her initials "BEM" are hooked into the rug, as her signature.
Lucy Barnard Trask
RHW 2022 Feature Exhibit: MAINE: HOOKED RUGS & FIBER ARTS shared the fiber art, stories, & contributions of world-renowned Lucy Trask Barnard (1800-1898) of Dixfield, Maine – her hooked pictorials can be found in both the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC & the Farnsworth Museum, Rockland, Maine. Since her work can be documented back to her hometown & buildings (many still standing), along with her outstanding fiber art talents (color/design/technique) – Lucy’s MOMA works have said to be the most valuable hooked rugs in the United States.
Circa 1850 - 1898
Lucy Barnard Trask
An original hooked chair pad by Lucy Trask
Barnard (1800-1898) - a branch from a Cherry tree. One of the last pieces still in Lucy's
family collection - passed down to her great-great-great-granddaughter Karen,
family genealogist. Karen donated several of Lucy's pieces to the Farnsworth
Museum, Rockland, Maine.
Marguerite Zorach & Dahlov Ipcar
RHW 2022 Feature Exhibit: MAINE: HOOKED RUGS & FIBER ARTS – shared the fiber art, stories, & contributions of notable Georgetown Island, Maine artists as Marguerite Zorach (1887-1968) & her daughter Dahlov Ipcar (1917-2017). Both were artists of many mediums, of which they both designed & created hooked rugs.
Still Life & Compote
A rare original hooked rug designed & hooked by Marguerite Zorach. A still life & compote in the style that appears in so many of her other textiles/embroideries & paintings. A rare opportunity for attendees to see fiber art as this, on loan from a private collector.
An artist of many mediums, within and outside of fiber art. Marguerite was a master at applying her skills in each of those mediums. Her ease of using fiber versus paint to create a modern perspective on a still life is simply remarkable.
A stunning example of early & rare Yarmouth area Maine work done with extremely fine bias shirring, wool on linen. Its dark brown background with red and blue highlighting is reminiscent of the period color schemes. The piece is in wonderful condition.
Rug Hooking Week’s Exhibits, such as the 2022 Feature Exhibit: MAINE: HOOKED RUGS & FIBER ARTS, provide rare opportunities for attendees to see extraordinary & historic examples of fiber art, such as this – which are amazing learning tools! The shirred rug was on loan from a private collector.
Maker - Unknown
Renard is the French word for Fox. So, this hooked rug is most likely a Canadian hooked piece. It’s a wonderful primitive design with a fox, birds, & flowers. There is an interesting fringed edge made from the brin (Canadian burlap) foundation, much of which has worn away. The most unique feature is the glass BEAD for the EYE!
Folk Art Horses
Maker - Unknown
Two Horses meet at the fence, surrounded by other animal pairs, like birds, butterflies, rabbits, owls, & other critters. A hooked - simulated penny/wool applique style border gives it a wonderful finish.
Archbold, Ohio, USA
August 14 - 19, 2023
--- Exhibit ---
Rug Hooking Week (RHW) at Sauder Village in Archbold, Ohio, USA is well-known for it’s annual & extensive contemporary exhibit of 600-800 pieces of fiber art each year.
While we may learn so, so very much from fellow contemporary fiber artists. Take a moment, now & then, to look back. There is a wealth of knowledge in the history well. Take a Dip!
That is why RHW includes antique or historic fiber art in the RHW Exhibit. Often times, at least here in the USA, we do not see these types of fiber art in our museums or in public. If we do, there is little or “no” information about them or their makers.
Is it easy to find them? NO! Most of the RHW Exhibit’s antique hooked rugs are loaned from descendants, private collectors & dealers. However, they are also borrowed from institutions & museums. We greatly appreciate their generosity.
A lot of work goes into it… Before we bring these pieces to our exhibit we gather information, authorities, teachers, & speakers. We offer gallery talks, classes & other opportunities to take full advantage of learning & teaching opportunities – from history & provenance, as well as much about the artist as we can discover, as well as, the significance of their designs, colors, materials, tools, & techniques. For anyone not participating in relevant classes, amply signage accompanies the piece & folks are on hand to answer questions.
While you might not be familiar with the American antique hooked/shirred rugs in this Blog. They are there as an inspiration, an incentive. Take the opportunity to include vintage & historic fiber art in your exhibits, whatever part of the world you live in! Or encourage your museums to pull an exhibit out of the archives!