Sunday, 29 August 2010

Rags and Riches

Not a lot has been happening creatively here for most of the last year... The only thing I have done is paint a scarf a pale purple as it's lightest colour. I got ill and everything stopped, and I do mean everything. It all seemed too much. I needed to sleep and to recoup. I had other stuff going on to... redundancies and then a continuing set of work place issues...

But recently I have felt the creative juices starting to flow again. I do not intend too make much jewellery for presents this year, I am a little fed up with jewellery but I have started a piece of jewellery for my niece.

It will be a spiders web. Not a full 360 degrees. Somewhere between 200 and 270 degrees to give a nice v necked sort of a choker. It is slow going though. I finally figured out how to make the radial bits so that I can thread the cross parts so they hang consistently. They are being made using ladder stitch so they are growing pretty slowly. For several hours of work I have only two radials at maybe 5 inches of beading!

While on holiday I visited a number of crafty shops and gained some ideas of slightly easier things to make for different family members with one or two requests. My Mum saw a pretty cube necklace she liked and admired a herringbone bracelet I had. My sister wants more earrings in different colours. None of these things would really take too long. I also saw a beautiful crystal necklace I covet.

The most important thing though is rag rugs. Cumbria is full of them and I remember falling in love with one as a child. I always wanted one. My Mum started making one but fell out of love with it quickly as she started with little knowledge or support.

On the first day of the holiday we met a lady who made them. She told us to use any materials we liked, not just wool as advised by more traditional makers. She even said you could use plastic bags. She also told us what sort of materials to use as the medium and gave us ideas of tools. She showed us how to prod and hook.

Everywhere we went there was rag rugs that my Mother and I eagerly examined. Then at Dove Cottage we found a lady doing a drop in workshop to have a go. It seems they have decided to try and save money by making their own. We think a couple of things were a bit wrong in how they were doing it. The prodding tool was blunt rather than coned so as you pushed it through to make a hole it didn't ease the threads apart completely and actually snapped some. This would make the rug prone to falling apart I think. They also did not poke the next rag through the second hole of the previous rag. This, we were told, would help secure them all together.

So now I am itching to find some hessian and a nice conical bottle opener or some such to use as a prodder. I have lots of old clothes I can chop up...

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