I'll give my personal thoughts on the subject but more than likely if 10 people were asked there would be varied answers. My explanation of a primitive rug is, as she said....lack of detail and with a bit of naiveté.
The rug above is a primitive and naive style and most likely hooked in at least a #8 strip or larger. Can't remember where I borrowed this photo, probably Pinterest. Notice the dark and quiet colors but there is contrast and some color.
The scrappy cat hooked mat also qualifies as a primitive design, you can tell it is a cat even tho it lacks the realistic features.
The original antique known as Boyerstown Dogs pictured above may be a little more elaborate than the scrappy cat, but this (IMHO) still qualifies as primitive. In primitives there is no artistic perspective as you can see the owl is equally as large as the cow and the mother dog is larger than the two buildings. I don't know what strip sizes were used to hook this rug but even with the use of light background and color, it still shouts primitive to me.
My girl Shadow was hooked using #8 cuts but I don't consider this primitive since it is too realistic looking. So a wide cut doesn't necessarily determine a primitive design.
The rug above, if I had to put it in just one category I'd classify the hooked people as folk art. But sometimes folk art and primitive may be synonymous.
The two roosters above I feel fall into the joint category of primitive and folk art. I'm thinking out loud (har har, typing) now and maybe I feel that way because of the color factor. Both the people and the colors in the roosters add to the folk art part.
I would love to hear everyone's thoughts on this subject and Carolyn, you really made me put on my thinking cap, thanks for that. Now I'm definitely looking forward to that issue of ATHA magazine so I can read others thoughts on this very subject.
Would love everyone's feedback and thoughts. And hope everyone has a great evening.