My family and I were having dinner last night at a colleague's home. The topic of my rugs came up and my colleague, who has no connection to rug hooking at all although he has seen some of my rugs in my home, said, "April those aren't rugs you make. Rugs are something you put on the floor and walk on." In his comment, I was hearing our ongoing debate between 'craft' or 'art' from an outsider's perspective.
It was an interesting perspective. I have never thought of rug hooking as anything but rug hooking, even as an art form. And I doubt with its long history that it can be anything other than rug hooking although this may be why it has never become an art form, but remains a craft, and not even a 'fine' craft at that.
Yet putting it all in a long perspective, the rugs I make are a long way away from the rugs that the workers made in the early 1900s and sold as floor coverings. I am not crafting utilitarian pieces for my floors out of cast off materials. I am creating fiber paintings that function as art work in my home or unique accessories.
So what are we doing with rug hooking when we aren't creating 'real' rugs anymore? What do we call what we are doing?