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New Canaan Library

Hand Work but Not Home Work

Artwork by Liz Albert Fay. On display February 16 – March 26, 2017

Curators' Statement

When we hear “hooked rugs,” we usually think of cozy floor coverings rooted in 19th-century New England. A women’s country craft in those days, hooking was a way for the poor to mimic the machine-made carpets of the rich (imagine?!). Nothing was wasted, as women sifted through scraps of fabric and burlap sacks to bring warmth and comfort to their homes.

The work of Liz Alpert Fay, while exactingly crafted, pushes the boundaries of hooking by making it fine art. There is a particular energy about these pieces that requires contemplation. The artist will sit for months with an idea before beginning a new piece, thinking and feeling it through so that it will convey a message. Alpert Fay’s messages are forceful, but also calm and quiet. She is a colorist, uniquely pairing colors with textures to achieve depth and greater dimensionality. Her work preserves something of the past as it also calls our attention to more contemporary concerns. There are stories here, ideas, also sensations, touch, warmth, something that feels alive and deeply grounded.

We hope that you enjoy the new perspectives in this show, and that you will join us on Saturday, March 11th, when Liz Alpert Fay demonstrates some of her hooking techniques to the public from 2:00 – 3:30 in the gallery.

Artist Statement

The beauty and simplicity found in nature has always inspired me.

My love of color, and textures, and telling stories also plays an important role in each piece that I create. I love the richness of hand-dyed colors and the varied textures of recycled fabrics.

Most of my hand hooked rugs can be used on the floor as well as hung on the wall. I aim to challenge conventional ideas of what a rug is and how it functions. I create pieces with unusual shapes, irregular edges, and sometimes cut into the body of the piece, to expose the floor beneath. Experimenting with unusual or unexpected materials is also something I enjoy.

This experimentation has led me to create hooked art pieces meant just for the wall. I find that these art pieces allow me to express contemporary concerns without thinking about their functionality. 

Exhibition curated by Mary Moross and Micaela Porta

Hand Work but Not Home Work