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A man, a cityscape, a rug

By: Donna Hrkman
Photography by Dan Hrkman

Nick@Night, 21" by 26", #3-cut hand-dyed wool on linen. Designed and hooked by Donna Hrkman, Dayton, Ohio, 2016.

I have many rug ideas—too many to hook. That’s just the way life goes. So as an artist, I want to make every rug count. I want the rugs I make to be a challenge to myself and to also resonate with other people. I consider my rugs to be art, and for me, art is an outreach and a statement.

My inspirations are many, and I try to select a theme that’s different in some way from rugs I’ve already made. At the same time, I do have themes and subjects for which I am known.

Portraits are one of my specialties. I hook realistic portraits because they are a challenge, and I enjoy exploring the possibilities in creating images that portray people in different ways. For example, I have two portraits of Victorian women in steampunk style. I have hooked a more formal portrait of a World War I veteran and an image of a young Native American boy. There’s an awareness rug of a woman with Alzheimer’s and a little girl reaching for a sunflower. Some of them have messages and others are a celebration of the subject.

I usually work from photographs and adapt the photos for my design. I may change the color or redesign the background to suit the image or the message I wish to convey. That’s the fun part for me: building an interesting setting around a person or creating a space of which they can be a part.

I had a few ideas rattling around in my head recently when my oldest son, Nick, showed me a photo that a photographer friend of his had taken of him. Nick said that if this guy calls you over to have your picture taken, you go! I was thrilled with the photo and it immediately sparked an idea for a rug.

Donna Hrkman, lifelong artist and designer, has embraced rug hooking as her primary source for expressing her dreams and causes. She teaches all over the country and loves sharing what she’s learned. She lives in Dayton, Ohio, with her ever-patient husband and pets.

This article is from the January/February 2017 issue. For more information on our issues, check out our issues page.


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