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The Elements of Art for Rug Hookers, Part 1

How to have a winning rug every time

By: Linda Pietz / Photography by Nola A. Heidbreder
Updated December 20, 2017

Color Wheel Explosion, 22 1⁄2" x 17 1⁄2". #8-cut wool on linen. Designed by Linda Pietz and hooked by Nola A. Heidbreder, St. Louis, Missouri, 2011.

There she stood in the middle of a small group of fellow hookers holding up a just completed rug. Pleadingly, she asked the ladies gathered around to tell her what was wrong with her rug. She knew it wasn’t working but had no idea where things had gone wrong—and neither did her companions, although they tried to help. I witnessed this scene from the back of the pack, debating as to whether I should interject a comment as it was obvious to me what had gone wrong.

I have witnessed this scene played out over and over again and this article’s intention is to give rug hookers food for thought before tackling that next piece you’ve been dying to hook. As the saying goes, knowledge is power. With just a little bit of background information, you can avoid some of the pitfalls that lead to a rug that just plain does not work.

So why the elements of art? What does that have to do with rug hooking?

I have taught art history for a number of years and I often have students challenge me when looking at modern art, such as work by Pablo Picasso. Whether one appreciates his more famous paintings or not, one important thing he had going was that he knew the rules—that is, the elements of art. I tell students that you can’t break the rules until you have a working knowledge of them. What people often miss with Picasso is his less-well-known work. Sometime look up a painting he did of his mother early in his career. It is positively beautiful. 

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