An enduring workhorse of American decor, the braided rug remains largely unexplored as a surface for artistic expression. I seek to challenge limited notions of what a braided rug can be through experimental designs that range from swirling galaxies to pastoral Vermont landscapes to staid ionic columns.
I was inspired by the complex artistry my Great-Grandmother, Annette “Nettie” Nelson, drew out of this simple craft over a century ago. Nettie’s unique, braided “pinwheel” was a major break with rug making conventions of her time, and the original rug is now in the collection of the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum at Colonial Williamsburg.
I never graph out my designs. For me, the colors, pattern and scale of new and recycled plaids, checks and tweeds suggest elements of a composition and provide depth and texture. Over time, I've developed new methods for changing and blending colors that exploit mathematical principles inherent in the braided coil. All of my rugs are intended for use on the floor; and I rely on the traditional construction techniques to assure the rugs' durability.
My rugs have been featured on television and in magazines and books including Mary Sheppard Burton’s “A Passion for the Creative Life” and Norma Sturgis’ “The Braided Rug Book”. I teach and demonstrate at craft schools, museums, and events across the country.
- Vermont Governor's Heritage Award
- "State of Craft: Exploring the Studio Craft Movement in Vermont 1960-2010" Bennington Museum
- "Always in Season: An Exhibition of Vermont's Folk & Traditional Arts" Vermont Folklife Center
- "Continuous Threads: Creative Legacies of the Northeast Kingdom" NEK Artisans Guild
- "Strands of a Legacy: Four Generations of Vermont Braided Rugs" Billings Farm & Museum