Subbekasha Rugs — Made in Belchertown

Subbekasha2The Arts and Crafts Movement was exemplified in Belchertown by the many craft articles created for sale by women in their homes — early “cottage industries.”  There was an Arts and Crafts Society in Belchertown, begun in 1903 by Lucy Thomson and others.  They wove baskets, created needlework, and canned jellies, preserves and pickles.  The Society held annual exhibits, sent work to exhibits and craft shops in the East and Midwest, and in 1908, opened a permanent exhibit and store in the Jonathan Dwight house, on the corner of Maple and South Main streets.

???????????????????????????????One of the more interesting local crafts was rug-hooking.  Lucy Thomson designed the patterns for these rugs, which were crafted by Society members working at home.  An architectural draftsperson and M.I.T. graduate, Thomson was a natural choice for this task. These rugs went by the label of “Subbekasha” rugs.  For decades, it was thought that name “Subbekasha” was a made-up name, created to elicit an exotic image.  However, recent research indicates that it comes from the name of a spider in Longfellow’s “Song of Hiawatha.”

The Stone House Museum in Belchertown has several examples of Subbekasha rugs made by Mary Jackson.

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