Influenced by the hooked rugs of early American folk art, Brenda has for a number of years explored color combinations through this unique medium. A labor intensive craft, she describes the repetitive process of stitching rugs as calming and prayerful, no doubt a much needed respite. With six children at home, painting wasn’t an option, and during this time rug hooking provided a creative outlet without the mess of paint. Projects could be stopped and started as various domestic or other needs arose.
Traditionally a “use-what-you-have” craft, the artist’s palette was determined by the wool fabrics at hand. This “make-do” approach often produced surprising color choices. That said, wool dying is an important step in the process. Birds, hearts, leaves and flowers are common motifs in Brenda’s rugs, often appearing alongside inspiring texts.
The children now a bit older, Brenda has since 2012 been focusing on a series of small, non-representational works (on plywood). These works showcase Brenda’s love of, and eye for, color, texture, pattern and movement. Beginning with random paint swaths, she then sands and builds layer after layer, with unique patterns brought into focus through the process.
Related to the rugs, Brenda sees these paintings as being similar to textile art, more specifically, the weaving of layered threads. Her paintings are nevertheless distinct from the rugs. They’re abstract, with a mid-century modern sensibility.