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Straying Off the Color Wheel

Achromatic Rug Hooking

By: Tamara Pavich/Photography by the Artists
Updated April 27, 2016

Trotters, 21" x 56". #8- through 9-cut wool on linen. Designed and hooked by Cathy Stephan, Athens, Wisconsin, 2014.

Think black-and-white photography, line drawings and charcoal sketches, or modern abstract paintings. Achromatic art—art without color—has been around for centuries, allowing artists to explore and depict their subject matter, its form, texture, and visual detail without the distraction of color.

At first blush, we might think that without color a rug could become either too stark or too drab to be appealing. But color sometimes steals the show, drawing our attention and obscuring the other elements of our rugs. The rugs in this article demonstrate a surprising variety of effects that more than make up for a lack of color. By employing only black, white, and shades of grays and other neutrals, we can achieve crisp, bold, graphic designs with high contrast, or we can achieve a muted, soothing, mellow impression with low contrast, such as we often see in primitive schemes.

This article is from the September/October 2015 issue. For more information on our issue, check out our issue page.

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