Saturday, December 29, 2007

Archive -- May 2006

Icons of America Again
May 21st, 2006 / News / No comments
This is something I posted on Padula, a rug hooking message board on Topica. A woman named Tracy posted a link to an article written about the winner of the contest ( that explained why she chose to hook a Colt .45. I thought it would generate a lot of discussion, so I threw my 2 cents in. I t barely made a blip in anyone’s conciousness, much to my disappointment.
Tracy: Thanks for posting the article about the winner of the Icons
of America contest winner. I must have missed it the first time.
I didn’t enter the contest, but I’ve been following the aftermath,
and I was at the Museum the day the winners were announced. That was
an exciting day for rug hooking. The people who attended could
hardly wait for the announcement to take place and the lecture hall
was standing room only. The three judges spoke about their process
and the difficulty of making a decision. Afterwards, there were
hushed conversations everywhere, and complaints that not a single
judge was a rug hooker.
It was fabulous! A real debate about rug hooking — a conversation
that went beyond “What cut is that?” and “What kind of dye do you
use?” The American Folk Art Museum, Lee Kogan, Marilyn Bottjer and
the three judges (Kristina Johnson, Stacy Hollander and Thomas
Woodard, who are highly qualified even though they are not rug
hookers) deserve a lot of credit for the huge effort they made to
elevate rug hooking and take it beyond guild meetings and church
halls. For a tiny museum with a tiny budget and a tiny staff to
present this contest was a major feat. At the same time, because
they are a nationally known museum, the contest was a major boost for
rug hooking and for those rug makers interested in making art, not
just floor coverings.
I’ve read a lot of negative posts about the contest on this and other
message boards. Is the Colt a “pretty” rug? Maybe not, but neither
is Munch’s painting “The Scream” or any other number of famous,
priceless pieces of art. Are they “bummers?” Maybe, but they make
the viewer think and discuss and participate and that is what art is
about. Someone on another list complained that the artist statements
the finalists had to submit were taken into consideration by the
judges. Hearing the ideas behind these rugs was the most amazing
part of the whole day! I hope Linda Rae Coughlin, who is including
photos of the winning rugs in a book she is working on, includes the
artists statements as well.
Was this a perfect contest? No — there could have been more
publicity, more participants, more specific guideliines and the rugs
could have been displayed better and longer — but it was a great
start and I, for one, hope the Museum sponsors another one soon.
Sarah McNamara
Greenport, NY

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