The Scarborough News
Rag rug techniques
The Friends of Scarborough Art Gallery were entertained by Louisa and Lewis Creed, celebrated rag rug makers, at the first of their winter meetings.
As Louisa gave a short history of the craft of rag rug making, most members of the audience could recall the familiar rugs of their childhood, generally of speckled dark colour, made from strips of wornout clothing.
In times of hardship nothing was wasted. Old sacking provided the structure into which loops of the strips of rag were prodded or pulled with hooks, to give a tight bulky mat. Woolly materials were preferred, but any material that would stretch a little was used. New home-made rugs were much admired and as they aged, were moved to less important floors, eventually ending on the compost heap.
The craft has been revived as an art form and Louisa has been making rugs for 40 years. Her rugs are meant for hanging on walls rather than for the floor. She has gathered rag of many colours and her rugs show great artistic talent. After 10 years, Lewis was inspired to join in and has developed a different style and technique. His rugs show a more primitive artistic style, many of comical and colourful animals. Together they demonstrate a rich variety of creative talent.
Lewis and Louisa are ‘hookies’ rather than ‘proggies’. Lewis showed a collection of rug making hooks, many home-made, that he has found at car boot sales, sold by people who had no idea of their original use. They demonstrated their techniques, showed their rugs and inspired their audience. Their rugs are now in many museums and art galleries.
The Creeds’ engaging personalities made this meeting fun as well as instructive and was much appreciated.
The friends’ next meeting is on Monday November 9 at 2.30pm in the art gallery when Jeannie Swales will give a talk about the Scarborough Museums collection; admission is £3, refreshment included.