I’ve been waiting for Election Day to share this rug with you. In a recent blog post I came up with the term “spirit rug” for those special projects when we just seem to transfer our deepest feelings, faith or courage into its loops. And Ivi Collier, of Nottingham, Maryland, sent me the photo above, and the story of her Lincoln Rug.
I will let Ivi tell her own story:
“I knew I’d make a Lincoln rug from the day I began hooking. The approach of the 200th anniversary of his birth (2009) prompted me to get started. My extensive research into Lincoln led me to choose to feature the well-loved statement from his second Inaugural Address. The US was once again sending troops to war and the words remained compelling. Having learned how shattered the nation was when Lincoln died, I wanted to incorporate Victorian symbols of mourning into a border. I found a William Morris border containing many of these elements and adapted it to the proportions I needed. A simple rug, words with a fairly complex border, was drawn on white linen.
There was surprisingly little angst involved in any of this. I was making a rug just for me and I had it ready to go. I worked back and forth between the border and lettering and pretty soon realized I had far too much white space surrounding the statement. Uh oh. This was the point where I’d normally start hyper-ventilating but instead it felt like an opportunity to include more symbols that have kept Lincoln connected to us. I drew new inside borders and went to work free-hand on 3 new inside margins. An American landscape developed, complete with a log cabin and split-rail fence. Extra space at the bottom was filled a replica of Lincoln’s signature and the years of his birth and death.
I was happily working on a rug just for me and it was a joyous experience. I showed it only to my dear friend Sandra Brown who nailed the central background shade for me and gave me tremendous encouragement. As completion neared, another opportunity presented itself. Lincoln’s image is so well known to us that I wanted to include it. But where? Suddenly inspired, I began pulling out lettering and background from the center and drew in his face as it appears on the $5 bill. Thank goodness I used white linen!”
Here is a close-up of the center of Ivi’s rug, where Lincoln’s face emerges subtlely from the background:
“The final stage began. I hooked the face in closely matched shades of different colors as it enabled me to get the glow I wanted while keeping it very subtle. The reward for reading the words was the discovery of Lincoln “standing” behind them.
I consider this a spirit rug because of the unique experience. Each time a potential problem appeared, I saw a wonderful opportunity to enrich the rug. My love of Lincoln guided each loop I pulled. While I wasn’t trying to please anybody but myself, it’s been very gratifying that other viewers also have a very emotional response to this rug. They look at it casually and then a smile appears as they discover Lincoln’s face. This was truly a once in a lifetime rug for me and I am grateful for the experience.”
With all the stress of this very, very long election, it is finally the day that we get to use our free and precious votes. Go vote. And thank you, Ivi, for sharing the story of this rug with us, and reminding all of us of the strength and history of our country.
This rug is, of course, Ivi’s own, and so is protected by copyright.