© Memorial Hall Museum, Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association
This predominantly black and russet wool rug has an overall harmonious composition with an equal number of relatively narrow bands symmetrically arranged along a wide, darkly-hued center. While rhythmically-arranged, harmonious compositions, often with a symmetrical focus are hallmarks of the American Arts and Crafts style, individual designs are held together by less-prominent but ever-present areas of contrast. Arts and Crafts theorist and artisan Ernest Batchelder advised artists to strive for harmonious compositions. "But," he warned, "uniformity is assuredly not the most pleasing manifestation of harmony. The eye craves contrast, variety; how far to go, where to stop, is the problem of the designer."1 Eleanor Arms had a very good sense for when and where contrasts of color and texture would give a spark of life to her work.