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The Patterned World

Abstraction

Hooked rug Zoomify

Artists, designers and other makers of textiles portray reality according to principles of design, though there is always some degree of abstraction. The maker envisions a scene or object and transforms it into a series of stitches, interlaced threads, or marks of wax or paint on cloth, sometimes losing much of the resemblance to the original idea in the process.

About the Object

Object name: Hooked rug
Maker: Grenfell Mission
Place made: Newfoundland
Date made: 1910-1920
Dimensions: 48 x 90 cm
Materials & Techniques: Wool, cotton, burlap, hooked
Credit line: Gift of J.P. Stanley
ID: T00.12.1

Hooked mats such as this one were made during the late 19th and early 20th centuries by women in rural Newfoundland and Labrador. These mats were originally made for family use, but many became well-known works of Dr. Wilfred Grenfell’s cottage industry project – Grenfell Mission – established to support impoverished communities.

Alternative Views

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Second Look

Macro

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Macro

Macro

Macro

Macro

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Touchpoint View

Animation

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Image

The Imagery

The hooked mats of Newfoundland and Labrador were originally completed according to patterns stamped on pieces of burlap and sold to local women as early as 1870. Hooked mats were the only floor coverings in coastal homes (men often used the rugs as targets for spitting). Artist Jessie Luther came to the Canadian Northeast in 1906 and was a key figure in the establishment of the crafts industry, though her designs were not as popular as those of Dr. Grenfell. Grenfell drew scenes of everyday life, where travel by dogsled was the only option in winter, and his designs were used almost exclusively in the early years of the cottage industry.

MP-0000.635.5 Snow hut at Nain, Labrador Coast, NF, about 1885

The Imagery

Image title: MP-0000.635.5 Snow hut at Nain, Labrador Coast, NF, about 1885
Credit: Image Courtesy of the McCord Museum

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Video

Designing for the Grid

Watch how a linear drawing of a flower is transformed into a textile design using a grid of squares. This type of grid can be used to build patterns on any textile whether knitted, woven, hooked or beaded.

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Artifact Narrative

Perspective in Textile Art

Perspective on a picture plane creates the illusion of depth, but most textiles (with the exception of a hooked mat such as this one) have patterns on their surfaces that do not use perspective at all. The maker of this mat used converging lines of colours that are brighter in the foreground, as well as overlapping elements, to convey the impression of a real-life scene. Every textile is a three-dimensional object made of interlaced elements, but its dimensionality is often overlooked since textiles present a flat surface to the viewer.

Hooked rug

Hooked rug

Place made: Quebec
Date made: 1941
Dimensions: 84 x 86 cm
Materials & Techniques: Burlap, wool, hooked
Credits: Gift of Miriam Waddington
ID: T91.0380

Collection Connections

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Chair cover

Chair cover

ID*: T02.46.1

Hooked rug

Hooked rug

ID*: T01.37.1

Hooked Rug

Hooked Rug

ID*: T78.0006a