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Happy International Rughooking Day!

image  Fairfield Porter

I’m taking a coffee break from putting up our Christmas tree. And stopped to think about all the rughookers I have met, made friends with, and made rugs with. What a blessing this rug community is, for me and so many of us.

This 1963 painting is Mildred Lamar Hooking A Rug, by Fairfield Porter (American, 1907-1975). It’s acrylic on canvas, and categorized as “American Contemporary Realism”. It is part of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC, online here.

This woman is so absorbed in her rughooking, but to me, there is an isolated, almost sad look to this scene. Maybe this comes from the muted furnishings, and a lack of the creative mess I associate with rughooking.

Yes, we all spend most of our hooking time at home, working by ourselves – if we didn’t, we’d never finish many rugs. But so much of the richness of our craft, and our ability to learn more about it, is tied to the companionship, mentoring, friendship and fun of getting together with other rughookers. I will never forget the first International Rughooking Day event I went to, at Allison’s museum-like house in Glasgow, Scotland. I walked in as a complete stranger that day, not knowing anyone who was there, and left as fast friends with everyone there.

I am so grateful to have a wonderful Tuesday morning rug group, close to home. I’ve learned so much from the wonderful classes I’ve taken with Pam Bartlett, Jen Lavoie, Ann Winterling, Jackye Hansen…and many others. And I adore the regional get-togethers that re-unite us with old friends, expose us to the work of others, and let us relax into rughooking for long periods.

Near or far, it is wonderful to sit and hook with others who share a love of our craft. For me, it has been a passport to friendships as well as to creativity.

So Happy International Rughooking Day, and three cheers for all of us!


  • Betsy Boltik says:

    I thought the picture was sad, maybe it was the color but you hit the nail on the head, she’s lonely. I am so thankful for my weekly hooking ladies , we share so much .

  • Jane Sittnick says:

    Enjoyed thinking and studying this work by Porter. The setting and her dress are a bit formal and there aren’t any worms to be seen. I think the other side of the room might be where life gets more casual, cloth ( is that a Pendleton skirt and an old blanket ?) thrown on the chair for consideration in her rug. That room’s going to look a lot more lived in with her rug on the floor!

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