TAFA: The Textile and Fiber Art List | Decorating with Textiles: Hooked Rugs – Not Just For Floors

Decorating with Textiles: Hooked Rugs – Not Just For Floors

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Karen Miller of Marzipan Road

Karen Miller, Marzipan Road

I am a fibre artist living and working in Ottawa, Ontario Canada.  I love to blend alternative fibre techniques with traditional yarn hand-hooking to create fresh landscapes and abstract close-ups and to explore meaningful moments in childhood.   Every loop of yarn that I pull up with my hook brings me closer to capturing the essence of nature or of a special moment in the lives of my kids.  Anything can be a source of inspiration to me, from world travel to my own backyard. I am drawn to the earthy tones and moody skies of the North Atlantic and especially Iceland.

My pieces are available for purchase at several locations across Canada and my work has been shown in various exhibits in both Canada and the United States.  You can learn more about me and my work on my website and blog at www.marzipanroad.com.

When we talk about rugs, most people think of woven ones for the floors. But, rugs are not just for floors, nor are woven ones the only technique that is out there. Hooked rugs have been making a comeback, especially as art for the walls. I am happy to show some of the rugs I’ve made in this post and how I have displayed them in my home.

marzipan road girl in tree rug

“The Tree Climber”

Traditionally, hand-hooked rugs were made to keep bare feet warm and were also kept by the door to wipe muddy boots on.  More recently, however, the once humble rug has rightly come into its own as a form of contemporary art.  With this evolution came the migration of rugs from floor to wall, where they are now on display.  I still have a rug by my front door, but instead of it being on the floor it is hung on the wall; one of the first things that guests see when they enter my home. In fact, due to the specialty fibres and techniques that I tend to use in my work, I don’t make any rugs for the floor.  I make pieces that I want people to enjoy and engage with visually rather than functionally.

"Mer Bleue in Fall" Marzipan Road rug in hall

“Mer Bleue in Fall”

"Girl with a Yellow Bucket", Hooked Rug by Karen Miller, Marzipan Road

“Girl with a Yellow Bucket”

I think that because the living room is the space in the house where I spend the most time it has also become the area where I hang my favourite and most meaningful pieces.  Like photographs, these pieces act as reminders of adventures we have been on as a family and poignant moments in the lives of my young children.  They tell the story of our family.

Karen Miller's living room

Living Room

Marzipan Road Solitude Hooked Rug, living room setting

“Solitude” on the wall.

A large work hangs on the wall of our stairway:

"Beyond Swallowtail", Marzipan Road hooked rug

“Beyond Swallowtail”

Just like any other type of wall art, fibre art can be hung anywhere.  In the past year or so I have started to experiment with and explore different ways of displaying my pieces through the use of frames.  I love to adapt pieces to old window frames that I come across at antique stores.  My husband has also started making custom frames for many of my works.  Frames can add to a piece and both contain and contextualize the art.  For larger pieces, such as that shown above, a frame can help to showcase a piece in that perfect spot within your home.

Frames can also give a piece of fibre art stability, allowing you to pursue display options other than just as a wall hanging.  Clustering items with a similar theme or like colours can create an appealing vignette.  In my own home, I find that having pieces propped at a lower level invites people to engage them in a whole new way as they are able to better see and touch the many textures that I use in my work.

"Black Sand at Vik, Iceland", hooked rug by Marzipan Road

“Black Sand at Vik, Iceland”

A hooked rug can be hung anywhere.  The large rug below was one of my first pieces and I have hung it in our basement playroom.  It adds cheeriness to that area of the house and the bright colours appeal to children.  Even though I have young children in my home I don’t worry too much about them being around the rugs.  Hooked rugs are resilient and can handle a lot of touching.  Most fibre art is meant to be touched and enjoyed!

"Iceland Mosaic", Hooked Rug by Karen Miller of Marzipan Road

“Iceland Mosaic”

I hope that this has shown you how versatile hooked rugs can be.  There are no real rules to hanging them.  Like any other piece of fibre or textile art you should avoid hanging them in direct sunlight to prevent fading over time.  A little shake from time to time should remove any dust that may accumulate.

Hooked rugs are an excellent way to bring colour, texture and warmth into your home!

To see more of my pieces you can visit my website or my TAFA profile.  I have many hooked rugs for sale and I love to take commissions to capture the memories of others in fibre art!

Visit Karen D. Miller Studio on TAFA!


Decorating with Textiles Series

Many thanks to Karen for sharing her home with us for this series. Do leave a comment for her below! Karen joined TAFA in January of 2013 and has been a great joy to get to know. Her rugs have stimulated an interest of mine in learning how to hook and I have gotten far enough to buy the hook! 🙂 Some hookers only use wool strips in their rugs, but Karen comes from a contemporary approach where yarns and other threads are also used.

Would you like to participate in this series? The Decorating with Textiles Series is an ongoing project on this blog. This series is open to all of you out there who love textiles. Many of our TAFA members make beautiful decorative textiles and functional work as well and showcasing these homes can help stimulate new ideas of what to do with textiles. Seeing a photo online is much different from seeing how a textile will function in an environment. Many people appreciate textiles but have no idea how to display them or what to do with them. We’d like to have many people participate, each bringing in their own ideas and tastes.

Contact me if you are interested and would like to submit a post:

rayela [@] comcast.net (remove spaces and brackets)

Visit TAFA to see inspiring art quilts, weavings and accessories for the home. Maybe you will find the perfect accent for your home!

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on Decorating with Textiles: Hooked Rugs – Not Just For Floors.
  1. |

    salam .i am nusrat from PAKISTAN.i love your creative work. i want to learn and see all . thanks

  2. Christine Pensa

    Rugs are art whether they are on the floor or on the wall! Thanks for sharing your great space and lovely art!

    • |

      Christine- you are right they are art no matter where displayed! So much so that I don’t think I could actually bring myself to step on one!

  3. Trish Johnson

    Karen, seeing your work up on your walls made me feel happy.

  4. |

    I love your work, Karen, and am so happy to see it displayed on the walls of your home. I have loads of hooked mats on my walls, and a few on the floor. It is a growing art form, and great to see it promoted like this. Congratulations on the recognition and on the upcoming exhibit in Niagara on-the-Lake at the Niagara Pumphouse Gallery!

    • |

      Thanks for leaving a comment for Karen, Maureen! You are welcome to feature your home in this series, too. This is open to our community at large, not just for TAFA members and it would be great to give more visibility to rug hooking. If interested, check out the instructions at the bottom of the post and contact me.

    • |

      Thanks for your kind comments Maureen! Perhaps we can finally meet at the Niagara show! 🙂

  5. |

    Lovely article and wonderful pictures of your work Karen! Thank you for sharing and uplifting fiber art for the wall. 🙂

  6. |

    Great post, Karen! Your work is really interesting–thanks for sharing.

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