I hadn’t checked my friend Austin Miller’s website lately, at Austin T. Miller American Antiques in Columbus, Ohio. When I did, I found three great and quite old hooked rugs of kittens, so I am declaring it National Kitten Day – at least here.
First, is this lovely rug, above. Austin describes is as:
Kitten Hooked Rug, American, circa 1900-1920. Made of mixed fabrics, 27 x 35 inches.
A charming hooked rug of two playful kittens centered in an oval spandrel representing a floor mat. Interesting and fun interpretation considering this rug is a floor mat. Superb condition and mounted for hanging.
I love those kittens with their little stripey tails, but the inner oval border is really terrific. And the echoing outer white stripes are nicely unsymmetrical – just like the stripes of a cat. I had to look up the word “spandrel”, since I always like learning new words about design. A spandrel is the space between two arches or between an arch and a rectangular enclosure, often almost-triangular.
Now this next antique rug might be familiar to you, but worth another look:
Hooked Rug with Kittens – Sold
Titled “Old Friends”, American, circa 1910-1920, Cottons hooked on Burlap, 28.5 x 39 inches
An icon in American hooked rugs; this rug is established as one of the most compelling folk art images and phrases in this medium. As the Kopps, authors of American Hooked and Sewn Rugs once stated, “The name of your rug says it all.”
This rug appears in the Joel and Kate Kopp book, American Hooked and Sewn Rugs: Folk Art Underfoot (1995), which is the best go-to book on American antique hooked rugs that I know of. Austin also mentions that the provenance of this rug is via the late Judy Lenett, of Woodstock, VT, and Kathy Schoemer, of Acworth, NH.
It’s so simple, and completely charming. It must have been a great pleasure for Austin to have it in his collection for a while. Here’s a close-up:
And one last rug in celebration of National Kitten Day:
This is Austin’s description: “Hooked Rug of a Kitten”, -SOLD
American, early 20th century, Mixed fabrics on burlap, 26 x 43 inches.
This charming hooked rug features a very appealing, naively executed kitten at the center, surrounded by a square, log-cabin type border. This rug is a very strong folk art image and retains its vibrant colors..
I think this is my favorite of the three – that wonderful border, the colors, especially the red outline of the kitten – and the fact that the cat is not hooked straight within the frame, but… uh, well, kitty-corner!
Many thanks to Austin Miller for letting me share these treasures of our craft with you here. The photos are his, and copyrighted – therefore protected, and used here with his kind permission. You can always find great things on his website at www.usfolkart.com. And the Kopp book is still readily available in rughooking stores and online here.