5 March 2014

An arty hooked rug

Designed by Ben Nicholson, "Slinky" was hooked by Joan Bravington about 1933. It measures 45" (115cm) square.

In a letter dated Sept 1 that "refers to the wool rug 'slinky ' that Joan Bravington made from a design by Ben Nicholson circa 1933 (lot 167 [of a sale at Christies in 2001] )", Nicholson writes -

"Dear Joan/Thanks for the blue/pattern. Don't know without seeing/the design & all the colours together I/can not tell. I am not coming back/for another week - why not take/them altogether along to Barbara/& shown them to her? if y ou're in any /hurry or if not I shall be back/about the 11th -/About the cost of material - I've/written EQ to ask if she'd work out/the length of time it's taken to work/her .. against the price to be asked/& cost of the materials./I've got several rugs being/made I don't want to fork out a pound/on materials for each. But we must/work it out so that it's fair to/the worker & the designer. I think/if I have to find a pound on each rug/it would pay me much better to/sell the designs outright(that's what/I've done in one case). It means I get/4 pounds or 5 pounds down instead of paying/out a pound & getting 5 pounds or 6 pounds eventually -/But EQ having worked her rug ought/to be able to tell fairly exactly what/proportion the weaver needs of her time./This place has a rather/dinky little port./I hope the new house is/getting on/from Ben"
"Ben and Slinky" by Winifred Nicholson, 1927 (via)
Slinky was the name of the dog Ben and Winifred Nicholson had in Cumbria. The rug is signed on the reverse - and sold in 2001 for £1,410. It was exhibited in a show at Pallant House, Chichester, in 1994 entitled "Artists and rugmakers" ... wonder what else was in that show?

The rug is part of the "Artist Textiles: Picasso to Warhol" show at the Fashion and Textile Museum, Bermondsey, London, till 17 May. The show includes about 200 pieces, and this is the only hooked one. I was surprised to see anything hooked at all.


  1. Hi, I am trying to find someone who can help point me in the right direction. My boyfriend's mother started making a rug in the 80's and has recently indicated that she would like to finish it but she can not remember the technique. She knows it involves wrapping wool around a dowel and then cutting it. Basically I am looking if I can contact someone who may be able to look at the rug as it currently is and teach her the technique again. Thank you in advance for any help. My email is astralcard(at)aol(dot)com.

  2. I love the arty hooked rug and its looks crazy shapes of Ingrid's rugs - something new to explore. I have been following the Re Rag Rug project with interest - so many creative ideas for recycling 'waste' fabrics!

    Rugs designed by Jan Kath are created exclusively from materials of the highest quality, such as Tibetan highland wool, finest Chinese silk, cashmere, and nettle fibres. All rugs are hand made by highly skilled weavers in Nepal, using a traditional high density knotting technique – from 100 to 450 knots per square inch. No two rugs are the same, as clients can choose the size, material and colour spectrum of the heirloom rug that will last for generations!