Friday, 20 September 2019

Carrying Materials

Carrying Materials

Rug makers are a carrying breed we love to carry  a massive stash of wool and other material to workshops and Rug School just in case we need a bit of this colour or a bit of that texture. We fill bags, boxes and more bags packing and re-packing the car boot, backseat and even the passenger seat. Having reached our destination the stash is  unloaded with several trips back and forth. ( I know I was that person)

The easiest way I have found for carrying material is a suitcase on wheels or Holdall on wheels for many years I have transported equipment and materials in these when I have been going to shows and to teach workshops. Oh it is so much easier than carry! 

For smaller occasions I use a small or medium case/holdall again on wheels it carries my frame, cutter, hooks, rug and materials. All materials are keep together it makes life much easier than hauling those bags and boxes. 

Space at workshop venues can sometimes be limited with health and safety issues so carrying several boxes and bags can be a waste of time and energy.



Just packing our rubbish into different containers and sending it off, we know not where, is not to me very satisfactory recycling. Actually making our waste into other things, using our leftovers as raw materials is what I call recycling. Instead of transporting our waste hundreds, sometimes thousands of miles to be recycled (if indeed it actually is) adding huge pollution costs to the planet we should recycle in the local community. I have seen wonderful recycling of metal, plastics and textiles in African and Arabic countries which have really inspired me to try to do it too.

Rag rug making is a great technique to use in recycling as you can use just about anything. I have made ragrugs entirely from plastic bags, using huge heaps of them. I have made rugs from old clothes- T-shirts, tracksuits, coats even knickers! I met one lady who had made a ragrug entirely from odd socks. I have used denim and cotton and silks. In the old days stockings dyed in bright colours were popular for hooked rugs.

My wallhanging "Recycle it"  was intended as a sort of sampler to show how many different materials can be used in ragrug making. It incorporates T-shirts, old sofa covering, bin bags, carrier bags, ring pulls, old toys, felt tip pens, Christmas lights, and much more. I have tried to convey the message that we can look upon everything with a creative eye to see what we can make out of it.

Prodding can use huge quantities of materials making anything from a beautiful and valuable piece of art to a practical and useful mat from a pile of "rubbish". This is what I call real recycling ; adding value to the materials with the minimum use of extra energy( as in transport, petrol and machinery) except of course your own!

Sue Clow 

Student Tips

Jean Schroderus wrote this article for The Rug Maker back in 2007 and it is well worth a read and note how important preparation for a class is for both Student and Teacher. I recently taught a class when one student clearly hadn't read about the class and was a tad bit disgruntled and was quite rude to me.

Student Tips
Over the past few years, there seems to be an ever increasing interest in rug making.  It is no longer fuelled by necessity and has become a popular hobby and art form unto itself. Recycling still looms large within the craft, but individuals have become more interested in learning technique, design, drawing inspiration, utilizing different materials and dyeing to realize their own personal visions. Hence, there is more demand for workshops for new and advanced rug makers.

I have had the great opportunity to study with many well known American and Canadian teachers at rug camps and workshops in many areas of the US. In 2001, I earned my teachers accreditation through the Western McGown Teachers Workshop in Oregon.  Since moving to England over 3 years ago, I have attended whatever retreats and workshops I can.  As this is a new experience for many, I find it interesting to listen to the feedback of other participants.  I offer the following tips and hints to get the most out of your classes.
Workshops are an investment in both time and money. Make sure you understand what the class you have chosen is offering.  Talk with others if you are unfamiliar with the teacher’s work.  Most workshops cater to all abilities, however, those who have no experience at all may benefit from a beginners class.  Conversely, if you know how to hook/prod a beginners class may be redundant.  Read the details of the class carefully so you know the subject matter or theme and the materials you need to bring. Will there be materials available for use or purchase? Do you need to have a pattern drawn beforehand or is design part of the class?  Take along enough fabric to cover your needs or contact the teacher if you need something specific. Communication with your teacher can make all the difference in your satisfaction with the class.  

With several students in a class, it is hard as a teacher to plan for all eventualities. It is better to ask beforehand than to be disappointed on the day. At the workshop, don’t be afraid to ask questions.  Bring problems with accommodation to your facilitator’s attention as soon as possible. No use moaning about things later that could have been rectified on the spot.  When you are in class, remember common courtesy.  While there is a social side as well, use the limited class time to get the most out of the teacher. When the teacher is addressing the class, be respectful. You may know what she/he is talking about, but others may not. A quiet question to the teacher by one student can be a benefit to the entire class. I have never been to a class where I haven’t learned something new by just listening.  

Save the idle chitchat, singing and jokes for after the class. It wastes time if a teacher has to explain the same thing 3 times because she/he couldn’t be heard. Class time is a valuable commodity not to be wasted.  Everyone in the class deserves equal attention from the teacher.  Try not to monopolize the teacher’s time so she can get around to help everyone. 

The best workshops are those where both the teacher and the student comes prepared. Attending rug schools and workshops expands your horizons giving you new ways to look at the craft, new social networks and increased knowledge in enhancing your skills as a rug maker. 

Jean Schroderous