“Janet West, Experienced Hooker.”

March 27, 2014 | Categories: news
Janet West, a longtime friend of Stock, is not only one of New York City’s premiere antique dealers. but also a visionary artist.
The daughter of a cartoonist father, her chosen medium is the hook rug (or ragrug), a uniquely rural American craft dating back to the Great Depression, when people relied on whatever they had at hand to survive. And what a hooker she is. Janet would’ve done fine back then.
Ragrugs are woven by using a hook to pull torn slivers of fabric though sheets of burlap. Everything that can be shredded is incorporated into the mix; from discarded dresses, to ties, to denim, to flannel, to towels, to lace panties, to handkerchiefs, to soiled bedsheets. A folk medium, there’s no set template for what a ragrug should look like, and they vary wildly. Some of our favorites have featured Sunday funnies characters, patriotic images, Pennsylvania Dutch geometrics, and pure schizophrenic abstraction. Basically, everything is left to the whims and skill level of the hooker in question. The results are often profound and shocking.
Our friend Janet has piloted the ragrug to unchartered heights, combining a natural sense of dynamic composition with a detail level that borders on obsessive. Never before has a hooker applied such love, ingenuity, and intelligence so harmoniously to her craft.
In her own words:
“I started rug hooking in in the winter of 1987 (you just can’t hook in the summer) after my mother had seen an exhibition of contemporary hooked rugs and told me about it. Before that, i was just aware of rugs in the antiques world. I kept a scrapbook of rugs I really loved cut from various antiques newspapers, which is still a good reference tool for me.
I recycle the wool from old woolen clothes and blankets. Then I hand-cut all the material into wide strips, lay the backing over a frame, and use a tool like a large croquet hook with a wood handle to draw the wool strips thru.
Visually, I’m totally influenced by folk art and outsider artists. Subject-wise, I generally portray people who inspire or fascinate me.
I insist that all my rugs actually be used and walked on. They’re rugs!”
Enough talking. Let the images speak for themselves!
“Janet West, Experienced Hooker.”

Additional Images

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vintage stock product image
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