Dogs exist as a species because of their relationship with humans, so I think it's fitting to use a domestic craft in depicting creatures who are undergoing a never-ending process of domestication.
Old school animal skin rugs reduce the ferocious to passive novelty. Lions, tigers, and bears become literal doormats.
My hooked rugs are shaped like dogs and are installed on the floor so that they are viewed from above. Because they are life-sized and because I hook them in a sort of three dimensional low relief, the dog rugs have a visual and tactile relationship with animal skin rugs.But instead of taking flesh and taming it, my dog rugs take the homespun technique of rug hooking and use it to create likenesses that, while tender and vulnerable, are also a little unnerving. The rug dogs are sleeping, but, because of their resemblance to animal skin rugs, they could also appear to be dead.
Even in places where they don’t commonly live as pets in peoples’ homes, dogs live out their lives in close contact with humans and depend on human activity for their own subsistence. They’re too close to us for us to really see them clearly, and so they’ve become barely more than mental shortcuts to ideas about love and family. My rugs depict them in ways that emphasize their actual physical lives and bodies rather than their status as pets or avatars of cuteness.
I want to harness our habit of anthropomorphizing animals in order to scrutinize ourselves in a different way. Dogs’ relationship to humans has formed them, but of course that’s not a one way street– humans are also formed by their relationship with the rest of nature. My work is always hunting for the edges of the animal and the human: trying to find both the overlap and the difference. What exactly is person-like about dogs? What exactly is dog-like about people?