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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Trendy?

Looks like Rag Rugs are showing up in a trendy West Hollywood hotel -- The Farmer's Daughter -- with the description "LA modern meets country kitsch."
The Farmer's Suite (look bottom left)

Rug Hooker Profle: Maureen Ellis

Maureen Ellis, July 2011
Liv and I visited artist Maureen Ellis at her home for a coffee and chat about her experience with rug hooking, one of many different art forms she's explored over the years. "Rug hooking was .... a way to make art [that was] focused on women's work," says Maureen, who has deep respect for and interest in traditional women's art forms and all the work that goes into them.

At the time she started, Maureen was home with a small daughter, now grown, and didn't want to expose her to the chemicals used in painting.  Since Maureen was anchored to the domestic environment, using it as a studio, she made use of it for inspiration, taking pictures around her house and yard to use for hooking projects. She would study the photos close up and represent pieces of them; for example, piece #1 here shows the bottom leg of a weathered old bench with interesting colour and pattern for her beautiful rug. The piece almost appears to be pixelated, and is made entirely of recycled wool.  Image #2 shows a detail of the rug where you can see just how many colours, wool types, and variations of thickness went into it.
image #1: rug that Maureen hooked based on a photograph of a bench leg



image #2 detail of bench leg
#3 proddy rug that Maureen picked up second-hand


#4 detail from proddy rug

image #5: mid-process locker hooking project in beautiful colours
image #6: rug hooked from image Maureen's daughter painted when very young.

Only using the library and experimentation to learn how to rug-hook, Maureen is entirely self-taught. She says, "I'm not a rule person," and didn't enjoy fussing with the dyeing process.  She really liked the idea of recycling and was interested in colour and fabric.

While we visited, Maureen showed us examples of proddy (a rug she had purchased, image #3), locker hooking (which she hangs on the wall, frozen in mid-process for a long time now, she jokes, image #5), and an endearing hooked rug from a picture her daughter painted as a young child (image #6).

Maureen is a former member of the Heritage Rug Hookers of Saskatoon, but is now moving with her husband and daughter to Kitchener-Waterloo, ON: our loss and their gain!