Past Exhibitions

Hooked Rugs

The Oysterponds Historical Society has a small, but vibrant, collection of hooked rugs, many donated by George Latham. Hooked rugs have been called America’s one indigenous folk art and they take pride of place, along with quilts, as hallmarks of American textile art.

Hooked rugs first became popular in America in the 1840s. They were practical items of household furnishings and were perfect examples of recycling – utilizing old burlap grain sacks and scraps of wool or rags. By their very nature (they were walked on) hooked rugs are frequently found in poor condition.

A hooked rug is made by pulling strips of fabric up through a woven foundation. Perhaps even more than quilts, hooked rugs allowed women to be highly creative in their designs and choice of colors. Not everyone was equally inventive, however, and by the 1860s hooked rug patterns became widely available. Most likely at least two of the hooked rugs in this exhibition – the Peacock and the Spinning Wheel – are examples made from patterns.

Three centuries of hooking are displayed in this exhibition. The Oysterponds Historical Society is grateful to Gail Horton for a splendid gift of twenty-first century hooked rugs that she created based on recollections of her late husband’s childhood in Orient.

Exhibit Items

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