Beautiful Collection of Antique American Hooked Rugs
American Hooked Rugs – Among the textile floor coverings produced in the United States or North America, the most distinctive and well known is the Hooked Rug. Indigenous to the Northeast of the United States and Maritime Canada, their production began in the 1840’s, gradually spreading all across North America as a cottage industry by 1900.
The hooked rugs design ranges from irregular free form multi-colored patterns, to stripes, concentric spirals, reciprocal designs of squares, and even folk art pictorial representations. Materials consisted of linen, flax, hemp, and eventually imported Indian jute.
Today, hooked rugs are a popular hobby using a latch hook (a tool with similarities to a crochet hook, with the addition of a hinged pin on the open side of the hook) that holds the yarn as it is pulled through a piece of canvas. This is a far different process than the way the antique rugs used to be made. The method of hooking rugs came about by necessity.
Made first in the Northeastern States and some Eastern provinces of Canada in the 19th century, the rugs were made from any scrap material available and burlap feed sacks. These rugs were needed to keep floors warm and they also provided some decoration. The first rugs hooked had little by way of shading, but many interesting designs started to come about when women found they could put an image into their rugs.
The most common design found in the earliest rugs was floral, expanding to include scenes and even an images of peoples’ pets. As the process was refined, yarn made of wool or other fibers, was cut into uniform lengths and finer canvases were used. Hooked rugs have a variable pile, depending upon the lengths of yarn used, and the designs are increasingly complex. These rugs are flat on the bottom and not reversible.
As the popularity of Americana folk art surges, this type of rug has become more sought-after. Antique hooked rugs lend themselves well to décor and wall hangings.
Hand made by housewives and local craft makers, American hooked rugs are folksy works of art that are functional too. Hand hooked rugs feature a beautiful variety of local motifs, patriotic patterns and simple geometric figures that have a whimsical new world style. This original handcrafting technique produces lovely textures and stylized patterns that are delicate and charming. The nubby shoe-peg loops and marbled variegation emphasizes the unique style and rich textures of these important handcrafts.
Surprisingly direct in their execution and free-form composition, antique hooked rugs pushed artistic boundaries and became part of the American folk art legacy. These iconic pieces have graced the nation’s floors from the White House to the rustic estates of New England. Hooked rugs are pure American style at its best.
Born out of America’s soulful folk art traditions, hand hooked rugs feature inspired freehand designs that immortalize icons of rural life. These exuberant and expressive handcrafts feature formal bouquet medallions and daring designs that range from dazzling to delicate. This unique construction technique and the improvisational design method give antique hooked rugs a rustic simplicity.
Horses, chickens, roosters, cats and domestic animals are commonly featured in these American folk art rugs. Delicate bouquets, classical botanical motifs and state symbols are commonly depicted along with simplified acanthus leaves and geometric tile motifs that have a graphic simplicity. Hand hooked rugs carry on America’s independent spirit from yesteryear and today.
View our current selection of American antique Hooked rugs below: