Skip to content Skip to footer
TitleRoad to UluruDesigned byNancy Thun (Madonnas of Hoboken)Hooked byNancy ThunDimensions28" x 41"MaterialsHand-dyed Yarn on Rug WarpShare

As usual, the idea to do Road came from around the corner and bit me in the butt! Since finishing Lady with Baby  in August 2018, I had been thinking of doing a self portrait but there was only time to think since I needed to plan an unwanted business trip to Australia. I had been there several times before and did not want to go over the Christmas and New Year’s holidays.

As a way to perk interest in the trip, I started scanning pictures of my earlier OZ journeys into the computer when suddenly….there it was…the inspiration for my next rug.

The picture I’d found was taken in 1996 when I began my first journey to Oz with a camping trip in the Outback. The picture was taken on the road from Alice Springs to Uluru. The image I’d captured was soooo Australian Outback! The spectacular sky! The solid, colorful and somewhat mysterious landscape with my favorite….a road….leading to……? At first I was going to keep that a mystery.

While working on developing the design, I thought that for the border it might be interesting to incorporate the curvilinear, dotted motif of many Aboriginal paintings. This made me start thinking about the design itself. Could I bring  Aboriginal painting styles into the body of the rug. Many Aboriginal paintings are painted flat with outlines and dotted detail. It is easy to see how this design could go in that direction.

Research into Aboriginal Art, however, made it clear that only an Aboriginal Artist can make Aboriginal Art. Styles and symbols are closely tied to the artist’s tribe and its considered disrespectful and a sacrilege for someone not from the tribe to use them. My border of Aboriginal dots and symbols was not to be and any thoughts of incorporating Aboriginal styles into the body of the rug was also unacceptable.

So I hooked this rug in my own bold, high-contrast style. The curvy line of the rug edge is my homage to  the Aboriginal Art that I find so inspiring.


Watercolor I found after doing the rug!

About the Artist:

In the summer of 2007 or 2008 I saw an exhibition of rug hooking at the NY State Fair. I knew nothing of this craft but I was fascinated. This remained a percolating thought until the summer of 2009 when I walked into a camp store in Acadia National Forest and saw the owner hooking with yarn….yarn!! A bell went off in my head. I love yarn. I have knitted all my life.

I had already been drawn to the look of the tree tops circling above my campsite. I left the camp store, went back to the site and took pictures. I started working on my first design once I returned home, taught my self to hook from the internet—thank you Gene Shepherd, Diane Fitzpatrick and Rachelle Leblanc!—purchased yarn at the Rhinebeck Sheep and Wool Festival and by Christmas had finished my first rug…a half round 36” x 18”…..executed on a 9” embroidery hoop!

It has been non-stop ever since.

Nancy wrote that she’d really been looking forward to Hooked in the Mountains 2020 where she could see her two Uluru rugs displayed side by side. In the virtual world, we can fulfill her wish!”