Rug of the Month: October 2022

For this month’s rug of the month, Ania is chatting about one of her newer rugs, an original design entitled “Polish Folk Art from the Łowicz Region,” or Wycinanka Łowicka. It was featured in Hooked on Handwork: Design a Rug Inspired by Fibers, Textiles, and Handcrafts by Kathleen Eckhaus. The dimensions of the rug are 41″ X 35″, and it was hooked in #6 and #4 strips of wool.

Read on below to learn more about this rug and the inspirations behind it:

Ania’s completed “Polish Folk Art from the Łowicz Region” rug

What inspired this pattern?

I am the daughter of Polish immigrants, and I have always lived my life surrounded by Polish culture and heritage, which has included traditional Polish folk art. My family is from the Łowicz region of Poland, and so that is most of the folk art I have seen. Some of the folk art was from the Tatry region of the Carpathian Mountains too.

Polish folk art motifs often originated from cut paper patterns. From the time I first started hooking rugs, I’ve wanted to create a pattern in this tradition. I was inspired by a pillow a friend of mine gifted to me – it is decorated with a Łowicz folk art image.

I worked on the design to ensure that it represented the regional culture. Several elements of this pattern are very traditional – the presence of flowers, the saw tooth pattern in the border, the two-fold symmetry.

Detail of the flowers included in the rug.

How did you color plan this project?

The color design was taken directly from the traditions of Łowicz’s folk art. The central motif is always very bright colors like reds, blues, greens, and yellows. The background is almost always white with a black saw tooth border. Occasionally, the background is black with a white border.

Since this pattern features five flowers in total – one central flower and two sets of two that are mirrored, I wanted to establish three set color schemes. The flowers have layers, so the decisions on how to color plan each flower flowed from how I initially decided to color the back layer. With the central flower, I decided on the red first, then the orange, and then the dark blue. You can also see the cut paper effect in the pattern with the colors – the orange of the middle layer peaks through the blue layer in the front.

The border and background were two of the most challenges parts of this rug to complete.

What was the biggest challenge with this rug?

The background and the border were both challenging. The background is white, but I wanted it to have visual interest and to look like felted wool, which is a traditional material used in folk art from the Tatry region. I hand dyed the background wool a light yellow to ensure it was reminiscent of felted wool, and then applied specific hooking techniques to continue the illusion. I used meandering hooking, avoided echoing my patterns through most of the background, and applied directional hooking techniques to combine everything to achieve the desired appearance.

Creating a saw tooth border that was crisp was very difficult. It required very deliberate technique, and I think we’ll likely create a blog post just to review that technique on its own.

If you have any questions about this project, feel free to leave them in the comments below.


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