Earl and Pat O’Rourke from Fulton, MO, will be the guest artists at the Alliance Art Gallery for the month of August featuring their original, hooked wool rugs, painstakingly created in a time honored, traditional handcrafted method rarely found today.
The couple began making their one of a kind rugs in 1990, after taking classes with nationally renowned rug maker Emma Lou Hayes. Inspired by traditional rug patterns, Earl designs many of their creations often from his own drawings. When asked if he had a favorite pattern O'Rourke said he takes inspiration from many traditional styles and patterns but that the Tree of Life was probably his favorite. Using only 100% wool which they acquire from Europe, Pat prepares and often dyes and over dyes the wool. Earl then cuts strips of wool into two different sizes using a special cutter. Using a mounting frame O'Rourke begins hooking the primitive pieces, selecting various colored strips for each portion of the rug. He says it takes approximately 15 to 20 hours to complete a square foot of a rug. O'Rourke says the time is well spent and he hopes people that buy one of his rugs will love and use it.
Prior to their rug making, Pat was a teacher at the Missouri School for the Deaf while Earl worked as general Sales Manager for Danuser Machine Company and was also on the staff of Westminster College all in Fulton, MO.
An exhibit of the O'Rourke's work will open on August 8, at 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. and will continue through September 11. The opening coincides with the Second Saturday Gallery Night, a monthly gathering to meet local Gallery members and see their new work. A piece of art work by Ann Miller Titus will be given away at a 6 p.m. drawing.