Hooked on Nature: Hook & Sewn Art


Leaves are Green, Nuts are Brown, Liz Alpert Fay, $2, 150; Wool, pearl cotton thread, hand stitched

The Reeves-Reed Arboretum’s latest exhibit features fiber art

To pull on a loose string at Reeves-Reed Arboretum’s latest exhibition is to unravel a long history of hooked and sewn art textiles. The exhibit, on display now until May 7, features hand hooked and sewn art from four east coast textile artists: Liz Alpert Fay, Marilyn Bottjer, Tracy Jamar, and Alice Rudell. Although each artist uses their own techniques and media, they all share a deep appreciation for their craft.

The exhibit explores the roots of all fiber art, but rug hooking in particular. According to Reeves-Reed, rug hooking began on the eastern seaboard of North America in the 1800s. To protect the ship’s rigging, seafaring men would make chafing wraps using a bent nail and canvas foundation. This prompted their wives to adopt the technique to create intricate floor coverings out of old clothing.

Featuring materials ranging from hand-dyed wools and sari silks to wood and plastic, “Hooked on Nature” provides a diverse look at the evolution of rug hooking and textile art. The exhibit is on display at the Wisner House at the Reeves-Reed Arboretum, 165 Hobart Avenue in Summit, NJ until May 7. All art is for sale, with 30% of all purchases going to the Arboretum.

For more information, visit reeves-reedarboretum.org.

Country Lane Winter, Marilyn Bottjer, $150; Hand dyed wool on linen

Through the Window (#4 in Fly Over Land Series), Tracy Jamar, $1,100; Wool, cotton, silk, mixed fabric, yarn, hand hooked, appliqued, knit and prodded on Monk’s cloth

House of Gold, Aice Rudell, $6,000; Wool, silk, polyester, brin hooked and shirred on linen