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Wednesday, May 31 • 3:30pm - 4:00pm
068. (Textiles) Hey Jute: A New Approach to Visual Compensation for Hooked Rugs

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This paper describes a new approach to visual compensation for hooked rugs, developed during the treatment of Molly Nye Tobey’s 1942 Victory Garden rug. Now in the collection of the Shelburne Museum, this 40” x 147” hooked rug was exhibited at the 1942 Women’s International Exposition of Arts and Industries, where it was awarded first prize and the Grand Award for its design. The enthusiastic response to the rug’s design prompted Tobey to begin her Statehood series of fifty hooked rugs, also in the collection of the Shelburne Museum. Like many hooked rugs in the collection of the Shelburne Museum, the jute ground of this seminal large scale rug is brittle with losses of both pile and ground throughout. Previous repairs of these losses, including flat patches and hooked inserts, were failing and posed two major conservation challenges: First, they were visually distracting, often making use of textures and colors foreign to the initial composition. More importantly, these repairs were structurally damaging, exacerbating existing weakness in the jute ground and accelerating the loss of pile. Building on previously published techniques using polyester felt fills, a method for visual compensation was developed that utilized cut and sculpted densely needled felt, colored with textile paints, to mimic the worn shapes and varying tonalities of the pile elements adjacent to the losses. This paper will include a discussion of Tobey’s chosen materials, review alternative methods of visual compensation for hooked rugs, and conclude with an evaluation of the efficacy of this treatment.

avatar for Kirsten Schoonmaker

Kirsten Schoonmaker

Assistant Conservator, Shelburne Museum
Kirsten Schoonmaker is currently the assistant textile conservator at the Shelburne Museum. She received her training through the MA program in Fashion and Textile Studies: History, Theory and Museum Practice at the Fashion Institute of Technology and completed a Samuel H. Kress Conservation... Read More →

Wednesday May 31, 2017 3:30pm - 4:00pm CDT
Riverside West Exhibit Hall Exhibit Level, East Tower
  9. Poster, Textiles