Fiber artist, Jerry Spears, Gives Lecture on Rug Hooking at Shelton House
|Museum of North Carolina Handicrafts at Historic Shelton House|
|49 Shelton Street, Waynesville, NC 28786|
|Jackie Stephens, Curator|
|Jul 27, 2012|
|7:00 PM - 8:00 PM|
Shelton House Event Features Rug Hooking Fiber Artist Jerry Spears
On Friday, July 27, from 7 – 8 p.m. Jerry Spears will introduce the audience at the Museum of North Carolina Handicrafts at historic Shelton House at 49 Shelton Street in Waynesville to a type of floor art that has consumed her interest for twelve years. Rather than distribute flowing streaks of color on a paint canvass, Spears chooses her palette of colors to be connected, pulled, and interwoven as strips of wool fabric into a background such as primitive linen, burlap, or rug warp that results in an art form known as rug hooking. Spears is noted for her artistically dyed wool as well as her original rug patterns.
The beginning of hooking of woolen loops through a fabric base as a craft and as an artistic endeavor dates possibly as far back as the Vikings who brought the art to Scotland. Artisans on coastal islands of France developed the art form simultaneously. Some rug historians link the craft’s prominence to Yorkshire, England, during the early 1800s when workers in weaving mills were allowed to collect yarn pieces that were useless to the mill that could be taken home and pulled through a backing. Rug hooking as it is known today can be traced to New England and Canadian artists who developed the skill out of poverty and necessity since wealthy families of the early 1800s could afford factory produced floor coverings. Poor women utilized whatever scrap materials they had available to make their own rugs. Fashionable magazines of the era did not mention rug hooking since it was considered a country craft. Originally, rugs were used on the floor in summer and on beds in the winter. Today, however, rug hooking’s humble beginnings belie its current development into a refined and much-sought-after form of art. Not only is the rug hooked piece a lovely floor covering, but it can also grace the walls of the most refined home.
Rug hooking today has developed into two types of art: fine hooking and primitive hooking, distinguished by the width of the wool strip. The artist is limited only by her own creativity of design of subject matter as well as dyeing techniques and variety of tools used to design each piece. Spears uses a variety of materials that will make any piece unique and create dimension and interest.
Upon her retirement from corporate life in Northern Virginia, Spears started a rug hooking business called Wool Junction. The fiber artist moved to Western North Carolina in 2011 as a welcome addition to the area with her original rug patterns that sell at regional and national fiber events. Spears’ artistry pieces will be featured at the Shelton House lecture. Merrie Mountain Hookers Guild, to which Spears belongs, promotes rug hooking in Western North Carolina and meets in Asheville twice a month at St. George’s Episcopal Church. For more information about Shelton House, the lecture series, and the rug hooking event contact Jackie Stephens, Curator, at 828-452-1551 or www.sheltonhouse.org.