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Finnish American Rag Rugs: Art, Tradition, and Ethnic Continuity Hardcover – 12 Jan 2009

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 249 pages
  • Publisher: Michigan State University Press (12 Jan 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0870138642
  • ISBN-13: 978-0870138645
  • Product Dimensions: 21.6 x 3 x 27.9 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,069,007 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"In Finnish American Studies ... scholars have emphasized the study of institutions and movements. This is history outside of those institutions and movements. Finnish American Rag Rugs is unique because it writes Finnish American history that previously had been ignored in the rush to study institutions and events." -- K. Marianne Wargelin

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Amazon.com: 9 reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
FinnishAm rag rug review 18 Oct 2010
By Mauigirl - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This book is a wonderful addition to your collection if you are interested in the history of the art of Finnish Rag Rugs. It gave wonderful interesting stories about Upper Peninsula weavers and their craft. I had hoped it would have had a little more in regards to the mechanics of weaving this type of rug with more patterns, color choices; more like a pattern book. I still love the book and would purchase it again, but it wasn't what I expected.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
A simply fascinating read 9 April 2010
By Midwest Book Review - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Among their contributions to American popular culture, Finnish immigrants are especially noted for weaving ordinary rages into extraordinary rugs. "Finnish American Rag Rugs: Art, Tradition, and Ethnic Continuity" by Yvonne R. Lockwood (Curator of Folklife Emeritus, Michigan State University Museum) is a profusely illustrated, 256-page compendium of impeccable and original scholarship providing an informed and informative history of Finnish settlement in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, with a special focus on their tradition of rag weaving, a homespun craft that over the centuries in their homeland had reinforced their ethnic identity, attitudes, beliefs, and values. A simply fascinating read which will prove to be of immense interest to cultural anthropologists and needlecraft enthusiasts alike, "Finnish American Rag Rugs: Art, Tradition, and Ethnic Continuity" is highly recommended for both academic and community library collections.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Finnish folk art tradition in Michigan 11 May 2010
By Henry Berry - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
"Conservativism and dynamism are two powerful forces pulling at the traditions of [Finnish] rag rug weaving...Over time, Finnish American rag rugs have changed in size, content, appearance, and function from those made by the immigrant generation." Lockwood, a Michigan folklife museum curator and author of books on Michigan folklife, covers the origins, evolution, and present of this distinctive folk art tradition practiced mostly on Michigan's upper peninsula. The style of much of the book is like oral history as the content is based on interviews with rag rug weavers with nearby photographs of them holding a rug of theirs. Most of the weavers are women, though there are enough men so this is not unusual. Lockwood also goes into techniques and equipment for the rug-making, especially the all-important loom, with respective photographs.

The Finnish rugs have changed "in size, content, appearance, and function from those made by the immigrant generation" of the earlier 1800s. The larger rugs often made up of narrower rugs sewn together covering entire room floors have given way to scatter rugs. Rugs from the modern era also make use of modern fabrics such as polyesters, brightly-colored cottons, and subtly-colored pastels. Even plastic bread wrappers have been used by some weavers in the innovation constantly going on within the bounds of the tradition. Today, some rag rugs are made specifically as products for folk art collectors and mementos for visitors to Michigan.

Lockwood's book is comprehensive and learned. With its balance between academic-like historical and ethnic material and material for popular interest in a colorful tradition and its craft, it appeals to varied types of readers.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Memories of Nanny's Finn mats 6 Feb 2012
By Joanne - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This book provides historical overview of the ancient craft of Finnish rug weaving. It contains beautiful pictures and a poignant reminder of how cultures can be transported and sustained by immigrant communities. It reminds me of watching my Finnish-Canadian Nanny weave wonderful mats for us - and triggers memories of Nanny trying teaching we kids to make rugs ourselves. I highly recommend this book!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Helpful guide 21 April 2013
By ilma tikkanen - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Learning to weave rugs with this book as a guide will help me get the techniques and details right. As a beginner I feel I need as much information as I can get, and this book is helping me.
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