September 3, 2009


The materials of rug hooking lend themselves well to shapes other than square or rectangular. Although some artists have made paintings that explode the rectangular format––Elizabeth Murray comes to mind with her shaped works––most of us stick with it. Because of its ubiquity it doesn't call attention to itself, but allows whatever is on that picture plane to take precedence over its boundaries. With rugs, though, we're used to seeing round rugs and oval rugs, rugs going up stairs and running down hallways.

It's been fun to play with the possibilities of odd shapes in art making. This work, a triptych, was inspired by candy: the jellied fruit slices of our childhood. It's called Fruit Slices and each part is 6 1/5 by 10 inches.

Here's another ruglet made up of 4 parts that change slightly from one to the next till we get to the perfect circle.

Shifting Shapes, 11 x 11 inches to 5 inches

In this piece, which looked to Richard Tuttle for it's shape, I sewed two arched forms together. They are placed at a jaunty angle on the wall, giving them a humorous, almost quizzical air.
Two Arches (for Tuttle), 7 x 23 inches

And finally, last fall while walking in the woods I found myself noticing the graceful outlines of the leaves on the ground, each tree having a different expression. So I did this triptych:
Three Points, approximately 8 x 10 inches each


  1. Altoon, great post on the ruglets, and I love the concept and colors in "Fruit Slices". When you do shows, do you display your rugs and ruglets along with your egg tempera paintings, and if so, how do you display them---on the wall, on a pedestal, etc.?

  2. I would love to show them together, in a conversation, but no one has offered to do so; galleries seem to be able to take only one medium at a time.

    The ruglets are all shown hung on the wall.

  3. I wish it would get honored together in this way too, for the sake of your body of work as a whole, as I see the overall continuity in your fascination with shape and color between the two mediums.

    Maybe just showing these together on your blog might help this happen. A self-published book that encompasses all of it---egg tempera, hooked rugs, and garden photography, might also be fun to try. I enjoy how you are weaving it all together on your blog.