Hooking With Heart – (Copied from the OTMJ newspaper article.)
January 26, 2016
Heart of Dixie Rug Bees Will Display Handmade Rugs at Southern Voices Festival
Journal Photo by Sarah Kuper.
A group of hookers meets every Wednesday at the Episcopal Church of St. Francis of Assisi.
It isn’t what it sounds like; these women are rug hookers.
Rug hooking is a craft and an art form in which rugs are made by pulling yarn or other fabrics through a stiff woven base such as burlap or linen. The term “hooking” comes from the crochet-type hook used.
The Heart of Dixie Rug Bees is a group of 17 women who share their love of and dedication to the art form. Their work will be featured during the Hoover Library’s 2016 Southern Voices Festival.
Meeting for 25 years, the group’s oldest member is 93, and many of the members drive more than an hour to participate. Two members live in log cabins.
Jan Henger has been a part of the group for 13 years. She said she learned to hook from her sister. A natural artist, Henger has worked with calligraphy and stained glass, and she taught art for several years. She and her husband are docents at the Birmingham Museum of Art.
Henger said rug hooking is more than just a hobby for her.
“Whenever you design a rug, part of the process is choosing colors and I even dye my own wool. It’s like watercolor or any painting – if you don’t use the right colors the result won’t be what you hope.”
Just as clay is the medium for making pots; wool is the medium for rug hooking. And just as there are many styles of painting, hooking has many different looks.
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