Work by more than 100 Artisans inside new Carmel more

Terre Haute
100 percent hand-dyed wool fabric, hand-dyed wool yarn, linen, burlap
Art shows, commission
Marilyn Oehler

“When I am researching some bit of history or local lore or reading about some long-forgotten event, the joy is in the imagery that comes to mind and how to translate those images from my mind onto a rug backing.”

Marilyn Oehler has been telling stories through her rugs for more than a dozen years. Rug hooking piqued her interest when she inherited several family rugs and remembered stories her mother told her of the twice great aunts who hooked them. She took an introductory class, and through that found rug hooking was her craft. “The colors, textures and comfort of the wool take me to a whole other place, as any love affair should!” Marilyn says. The simple rhythm of pulling loops of wool is soothing to her.

The challenge of organizing motifs, colors and designs to convey a story intrigues Marilyn. She chooses colors for their mellowness, textures for dimension and balance, and simple designs to maintain the folk art feel. She also uses hand-dyed wool to bring life and age to the rugs. ‘When my work is going well, the dye pot produces random, often unexpected results,” she says.

The rug-making process takes on a life of its own as Marilyn works. She finishes a piece when she sees unity and suitability in it, when motifs are in their proper place, and rich color befitting the design is incorporated. At this point, she says, the rug has its own spirit. She hopes purchasers find a message that speaks to them in the imagery and color.

Marilyn was thrilled to find an organization of Indiana Artisan’s caliber in her home state, and she hopes it will showcase the many fine artisans in Indiana. “I am overjoyed that my work is part of such a fine organization and so very proud to represent Indiana in my show travels,” Marilyn says. “Having this organization to unify Indiana’s many talented artists and craftsmen is a giant step.”