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Nancy Edell: Narrative Threads
Come and discover the beauty of the hand hooked rug by experiencing Nancy Edell: Narrative Threads.

Nancy Edell (1942-2005) was a multi-talented artist who worked in the media of animation, drawing, printmaking, and painting. It was, however, her use of the traditional media of rug-hooking that moved her work into a new and influential direction. She began hooking rugs when she moved to Nova Scotia in the early 1980's, and this medium, with its sculptural qualities and its imagistic possibilities of the graphic arts, seemed made for her.

When Edell arrived in Nova Scotia hooked mats were an established part of the folk culture of the region, though one that had not been turned to the purposes of visual art. Of course, by 1980, when Edell first encountered hooked mats, the use of traditional domestic crafts in the so-called "high" arts, was established. Joyce Wieland, for instance, had used quilting in her work since the mid-1960s, and in Great Britain, Kate Walker had used embroidery since the early 1970s. With her hooked art of the early 80s Edell joined these pioneers as someone central to the introduction of so-called "women's work" to the conversation of contemporary art.

Nancy Edell was born in Omaha, Nebraska in 1942. She moved to Nova Scotia in 1980 and was a part-time teacher for many years at NSCAD University. She became a Canadian citizen in 1981. Edell's work has been included in numerous national and international exhibitions, including the nationally touring exhibition Art Nuns organized by the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia in 1991. In 2004, the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia mounted a retrospective exhibition, Nancy Edell - Selected Works: 1980 - 2004. She has numerous works in public collections, including those of the National Gallery of Canada, the Winnipeg Art Gallery, the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, and the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia. and died in Halifax in 2005.

Image: Nancy Edell, Waiting, 1986, hooked rug, found wool rags, acrylic and polyester, fabrics on linen, felt, 92.0 x 121.0 cm, purchase, 1987, 1987.4