rughookingmagazine.com

Honoring Marilyn Bottjer

An ordinary/extraordinary woman

By: Story by Tracy Jamar/Photography by John Bottjer
Updated August 19, 2019

Birth of a Universe, 20" square, hand-dyed wool fabric, hand-spun and dyed yarn, roving; button, beads, and needle felting on linen. Designed and hooked by Marilyn Bottjer, Eastchester, New York, 2014.

Lint does not linger long on Marilyn Bottjer. Her enthusiasm for all things fiber, especially rug hooking, is contagious, enduring, and inexhaustible.

A fourth-grade teacher told Marilyn that she would never be an artist but she would pass her anyway, as she tried so hard. Years later, when her youngest child was in school, Marilyn found herself with some free hours to fill. As she waited for her children after school one day, she noticed a woman carrying a hooked rug on a frame. She found the rug-hooking class and the teacher but was daunted at first, feeling there was no way she could do anything as beautiful as the work she saw (likely she saw some Pearl McGown pattern). However, with encouragement from that rug-hooking teacher, Marilyn fully embraced this new-to-her fiber art and has not slowed down since. In her 53 years of rug hooking (teaching for 50 years), she has created an abundance of beautiful works using a plethora of techniques and materials.

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