Hooked rugs, a typically American craft, were invented out of necessity. In the 1600’s supplies available to early settlers were limited, so first rugs were created using whatever textiles were at hand. At that difficult time rugs were used not as a decoration, but as means to keep warmth in the house. Designs started off as fairy simple, consisting mostly of geometric and floral patterns, but eventually evolved into something more complex. As the first American society was composed of different nationalities, their artistic traditions and techniques mixed freely resulting in original creations.
Braided rugs were a result of utilizing scraps of textiles so they didn’t go to waste. Their simplistic forms have a homely feel, transforming any kind of interior into a charming colonial dwelling.
Of course carpets were not only made by European settlers. Native Americans have their own form of carpet making. Beautiful Navajo rugs are a mystery to scholars, as their origins are difficult to trace. While wool used to make them was introduced to Native Americans by Spaniards in the 16th century, there are proofs that Navajo Indians were weaving rugs long time before colonization.
Before carpet production was popularized in the United States, the majority of textiles were imported from Europe. Ingrain rugs made in England were extremely popular among Americans due to their beautiful designs and high quality of weave. As they were made on a simplified jacquard loom invented by Joseph Marie Jacquard, they were more available for middle class citizens than expensive English and French goods.