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Variations on Klimt

A famous artist inspires a group of rug hookers during a snowy winter workshop.

By: Tamara Pavich

Grand Dame, 26" x 37", various cuts of wool from #4 to torn and hand-cut strips on linen.  Designed and hooked by Pris Buttler, Gainesville, Georgia, 2009.

During the three coldest days of January 2010, 10 rug hookers gathered at The Rug Hooking Store in Valley, Nebraska, because of a man long dead. Some of us had only admired him, others had loved him for years, but we all knew The Kiss. At the invitation of visual artist Pris Buttler and proprietor of The Rug Hooking Store Janice Lee, we joined a three-day seminar to study and adapt the distinctive features and techniques of Austrian artist Gustav Klimt. The Klimt workshop was the third that Pris had taught at The Rug Hooking Store.

"Klimt is a good choice," Pris said, "because he is both provocative and playful, giving these students a lot of latitude. His style is meant to be liberating. We want to keep the focus on being creative and using these elements to stimulate the imagination."

Klimt, also known as "the painter of women," was a Modernist pioneer during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. His rebellion against tradition, bold and fantastical images, and overtly erotic content made him highly controversial in Europe, but today his original portraits and landscapes bring prices in the tens of millions, and his most famous painting, The Kiss, is said to be one of the most widely reproduced images in art history.

This article is from the November/December 2011 issue. For more information on our issues, check out our issues page.

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