National Gallery of Art - THE COLLECTION
image of Hooked Rug Hooked Rug
Rendered by Alice Cosgrove (artist), 1941
watercolor and graphite on paper
overall: 50.1 x 38.2 cm (19 3/4 x 15 1/16 in.)
Index of American Design
Not on View
From the Tour: Textiles from the Index of American Design
Object 10 of 17

American women displayed a brilliant sense of design not only in embroidery, but also in hooked rugs, which were produced by housewives everywhere. Hooked rugs testify also to the homemakers' thrift, for the women made them from worn-out clothing that was cut into long strips. These strips were pulled with a metal hook through a coarse foundation such as linen or burlap. Frequently, discarded feed bags were used as backing. Each strip was looped on the surface of the rug and pulled flat on the reverse side; the process was repeated again and again to create a nubby surface of innumerable loops. At times the loops were clipped to achieve textural variation. Designs were usually bold and simple; geometric forms were used frequently, although flowers, animals, houses, and ships were also popular. Motifs were often combined; here a strong geometric border frames a floral bouquet. Generally a lively effect is achieved through strong color contrasts, as in this rug, where tones of gold set off the vivid reds and greens of the flowers.

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