Christine Crofts keeps it Close to Home with her remarkable rug art paintings at Brantwood

By Richard Moss | 03 August 2012
a wool work landscape of muted browns and greens with large hills beyond
Christine Croft, Autumn Landscape
Exhibition: Close to Home, an exhibition of recent work by Christine Crofts, Brantwood until September 2 2012

The contemporary version of rug art is not something you drop across frequently in contemporary art galleries, but in the Severn Studio gallery at Brantwood, John Ruskin’s former home in the Lake District, works by one of the masters of this rarefied form are getting a welcome airing.

The tufted rugs and wall hangings of Christine Crofts were created using local Herdwick and Swaledale wool to create landscape, flower and plant inspired pieces that reflect the dramatic surroundings of her Lakeland home.

Using a tufting gun, a tool developed for the carpet making industry, Crofts stitches the wool through a tightly stretched canvas and augments her wall mounted works with felt and delicate yarns, which are then carved in relief and brushed to produce a range of different textures.

The results, which seem to combine the folk art quality of the church kneeler with a fine art, painterly style recalling mid-20th century English painting, are strangely alluring.

Views of Ullswater, Mell Fell and Blencathra capture the variation of light on the colour of the changing seasons thanks to an array of beautifully muted colours, which she dyes herself into the hushed natural grey of the wool.

  • Close to Home is on display in the Severn Studio at Brantwood, daily from 10.30am until 5.00pm. Admission included in the house or garden ticket.

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