90 year old Rug Maker Emma Webber in her Petaluma studio. She first learned to hook and braid rugs from her mother in 1948. 60 years later she is still working on her rugs. She makes her braided rugs out of whatever material she can find. Every surface in her house is covered by her braided rugs and every wall proudly wears her ornate hooked rugs. She says she just can’t stop making them. She says most old people sit around and read, but Emma says she has read all she wants to read, so she makes her rugs instead.
Emma sells her rugs from her Petaluma home on 4th street and at Knitterly in downtown Petaluma. As I was leaving her house she handed me one of her business cards and said she wasn’t sure if she should have another 500 cards printed, because she doesn’t know if she’ll live long enough to pass them all out.
If you live in Petaluma, or anywhere close to Petaluma, and you are looking for an authentic beautiful gift that comes from a wonderful creative soul, then please visit Emma’s house and see for yourself. Also, her daughter, Laura, teaches classes on rug hooking in the same house… so you can dive in to the art of rug hooking as deep as you want to go.
I photographed Emma for a story, for the Petaluma Magazine, on where to buy local art for the holidays.
About the author paige green
Paige Green is a documentary and portrait photographer, whose storytelling approach to photography frequently addresses issues involving agriculture, land use, and food. Her work is featured in nine books and has been published in Glamour, National Geographic Traveler, New York Times Magazine, Conde Nast Traveler, GQ, Country Living, House Beautiful, and Culture. Paige lives in Petaluma, CA with a house full of boys.
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