LARSON: Heritage Center hosts exhibition on art of hooked rugs

Some people do things with interest. Some people do things with passion. And some people just get totally hooked.

Such is the case with the Association of Traditional Hooking Artists, a national organization of women -- and men -- who express their creativity through hooked rugs.

The Atlanta Dogwood Chapter meets monthly in Buford where these artists hook up with each other to share their skills and keep their art form alive.

These hooking enthusiasts come from various backgrounds and pursue various forms of the craft. And it's just as much about friendship as it is about fabric.

President Deste Arthurton said, "I wanted to teach myself, then saw a rug shop in Roswell where I took lessons. It opened up a world of wonderful women and men. I've made wonderful friends through it."

Hooked rugs spring from beginners kits to adaptations from calendars, children's books and photographs to original designs. Some hooking artists use pre-cut wool, while others cut and dye their own. Some add unconventional touches, like velvet or taffeta.

Buford resident Suzanne Holtkamp, whose work is featured in "Hooked Rugs of the Deep South" by Jessie Turbayne, views rug hooking as a way to connect with history. An avid collector of antique hooked rugs with stories to go with them, Holtkamp artfully weaves her own family history in her rugs. One rug she designed for her parents' 50th anniversary commemorates their wedding with two roses accented with traces of taffeta and bits of her father's Air Force uniform. She depicts herself, her three siblings and all the grandchildren with little rosebuds interwoven with details of their lives.

Susan Di Puma of Duluth created a rug adapted from a three-by-three-inch black and white photograph taken on Easter Sunday in 1942.

"It's a picture of my mother and my three aunts," Di Puma said of her masterpiece. She had no idea what color their clothes were, but after enlarging the photo, she designed her own palette, showcasing her mother in teal, which she remembered was her favorite color. The rug has taken years to complete. Di Puma hooked the entire picture in the traditional wool, except for a bit of black velvet to highlight the lapel of her mother's suit.

To introduce their art to the public, The Atlanta Dogwood ATHA Chapter is featuring an exhibit "Off the Hook: Exploring Our Rug Hooking Heritage" at the Gwinnett Environmental and Heritage Center in Buford from April 7 through June 30. The big kickoff event on April 14 will feature special guest speaker Gail Dufresne who will give an audio visual talk on "Our Rug Hooking Heritage."

Demonstrations, hands-on activities, beginners classes and advanced workshops fill the schedule. Hundreds of historic rugs dating as far back as the 19th century along with the works of world-renouned and local artists will be on display. There's something for everyone to get hooked on, including the opportunity to make some new friends.

For more information visit www.gwinnettehc.org or call 770-904-3500.

Susan Larson is a writer from Lilburn. Email her at susanlarson79@gmail.com.


sarahldavis 3 years, 1 month ago

This sounds like a good opportunity to make my first visit to the Gwinnett Environmental and Heritage Center.


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