Threads and fi­bres

Wangaratta Chronicle - North East Regional Extra - - Front Page - By KYLIE WIL­SON

NO mat­ter where you look be­hind the cre­ations show­cased at Wan­garatta’s Stitched Up Tex­tile Fes­ti­val, there is a story be­hind ev­ery stitch and fi­bre.

One such story be­longs to Glen­rowan woman Bobby Ge­orge, who will be in­volved along­side Mag­gie Whyte in The Story of Rug Hook­ing demon­stra­tion on Sun­day, July 9 at Stitchy Central (Gallery 2 at Wan­garatta Art Gallery).

Orig­i­nally from South Wales, Bobby said she has been at­tracted to rug hook­ing ever since child­hood, as she saw col­lier fam­i­lies around her mak­ing rugs out of re­cy­cled ma­te­ri­als.

“Blan­kets and gar­ments were torn or cut into short strips and prod­ded through old hes­sian sacks with mod­i­fied dolly pegs to make floor cov­er­ings,” she said.

“Un­for­tu­nately for me, my mother de­cided that we weren’t so poor as to need rag rugs on the floor.”

Bobby got into the craft with a pas­sion in adult­hood, in­spired by a book on the sub­ject by Miriam Miller, an English woman who has made her home on the central coast of NSW.

In the past few years, she has made sev­eral works us­ing rug hook­ing, rang­ing from a sturdy rug for her floor to artis­tic pieces, and most are made from re­cy­cled ma­te­ri­als.

“I am not ar­tis­ti­cally en­dowed, so my rugs tend to be based on geo­met­ric de­signs, or pat­terns and forms that can be ob­tained us­ing any­thing at hand,” she said.

“I re­ally like the idea of giv­ing some­thing a new life, so mostly use old clothes, woollen blan­kets and op shop bar­gains.

“My cur­rent project is a de­par­ture - I am us­ing car­pet yarn which I have dyed.”

Bobby praised those in­volved in the Stitched Up Fes­ti­val, say­ing it is “a fan­tas­tic thing for Wan­garatta”, and said she loved meeting new peo­ple at the event.

“The peo­ple that are at­tracted to tex­tile groups are peo­ple that have a gen­eros­ity of heart,” she said.

Else­where in the North East, mem­bers of the Woor­agee Fel­ters have been busy cre­at­ing a sub­mis­sion for the Stitch­ing A Story com­mu­nity ex­hi­bi­tion at Stitchy Central.

They have cre­ated an im­pos­ing felted piece telling the story of pi­o­neer woman El­iza For­longe, who drove Saxon Merino fine wool sheep across Europe, brought them to Aus­tralia and set­tled at Euroa’s Seven Creeks Run.

Group mem­ber Mar­ion Ste­wart said 10 mem­bers of the group, which has mem­bers from across the North East, have been work­ing on the piece, which is three me­tres across and one me­tre high, over many hours and sev­eral months.

The wet felted piece, which fea­tures scenes from El­iza’s life, has nee­dle felted and em­broi­dered de­tails.

She said the group chose the story of El­iza For­longe as it show­cased the achieve­ments of “a pi­o­neer­ing woman of great strength and char­ac­ter” which had strong ties with the North East.

Mar­ion is an ar­dent felt­ing en­thu­si­ast of many years’ stand­ing and loves be­ing in­volved with the Woor­agee Fel­ters.

“You’re ac­tu­ally cre­at­ing a fab­ric, but it gives you con­trol over the colours,” she said. “It’s al­most like draw­ing with wool. “I pre­fer to use it in an artis­tic way.” Mar­ion said the Stitched Up Tex­tile Fes­ti­val “is of huge sig­nif­i­cance to not only the tex­tile groups, but any­one in­ter­ested in tex­tiles”.

For more in­for­ma­tion on the Stitched Up Tex­tile Fes­ti­val, see: www.stitchedupfes­ti­

PHOTO: Kylie Wil­son

FUN WITH FI­BRES: Whether they are for art or prac­ti­cal use, many of Glen­rowan woman Bobby Ge­orge’s rug hook­ing works fea­ture re­pur­posed fi­bres, from car seat cov­ers to old clothes and more.

PHOTO: Kylie Wil­son

PAINSTAK­ING: Bobby Ge­orge at work on one of her lat­est rug hook­ing projects.

TELLING A STORY: Jane Tra­bant from the Woor­agee Fel­ters work­ing on the group’s sub­mis­sion to Wan­garatta’s Stitched Up Tex­tile Fes­ti­val, the story of pi­o­neer woman El­iza For­longe. This panel por­trays the wed­ding of El­iza to hus­band John in 1804.

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