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One Rug, Two Rugs, Three Rugs

A Series is More Than the Sum of Its Parts

By: Sharon A. Smith

In the art world, two pieces make a couple; but three works or more become a series. What makes a series a series? A similarity in design or a theme makes a group of rugs a series: a topic, a group of similar colors, or even rugs of the same size.
Here is the question: why one would think in terms of three instead of one simple rug? Let’s consider a few reasons:

  • Planning a series helps you and the viewer explore and compare variations on a theme. This is a more complete way of expressing yourself. You can create an idea from scratch. Or take one pattern and add two or more to expand on one idea.
  • Related rugs, especially as wall hangings, make a stronger statement on a theme than one image; it’s like seeing one idea through different eyes or from different angles.
  • A series is more striking than a single work. The whole is more profound than each part alone.
  • It allows the viewer to examine different aspects of a subject.
  • A series creates a cumulative experience, as though you are on a more meaningful journey. While you become immersed in an idea, you become increasingly emotionally engaged and perhaps enlightened or informed.

A recent series I created involves three designs. Seeing them hung altogether, a viewer might wonder “Why? What makes this a series?” Stop and think, you may be able to figure it out. Comparing one to the other, determine their similarities and differences. Eventually, you will realize the theme is a study of famous iconic structures, instantly recognized as representing a particular country. The Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor, the Eiffel Tower in Paris, and the famous Leaning Tower of Pisa are each here. Each structure has a complex story. This sparks interest. I’ve heard viewers suggest what they would add to the collection. It lends more intrigue and draws the viewer in.


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I adore this rug... Paris, vibrant colours and movement... it's magical.


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