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I Make My Own Rugs: Case Study

By: Mary Williams BA (hons) - Updated: 1 Apr 2011 | comments*Discuss
 
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Cilla Cameron works from her Nottinghamshire base The Rug Studio, where she makes rugs, teaches workshops and runs her mail order business selling rugs, and a full range of rug making equipment (e.g. rug hooks, hessian, frames, kits, patterns etc). These are all suitable for beginners to experienced rug makers. She also teaches rug making throughout the UK, Canada, America and Australia. Some of the groups she works include people with special needs, school children and mental health patients. She writes and edits The Rugmaker magazine and is a member of the editorial board of Rug Hooking Magazine.

Cilla said:

“It all started when my friend and I were invited to a one day workshop over 20 years ago, I had no idea how rugs were made and the thought of using Recycled Material to create a rug for the floor seemed worth trying. At the workshop I drew out some big primitive flowers and soon got to work I just loved the technique and within a few weeks my first rug was on the floor!

The first rugs I made were hooked rugs made with recycled woollen sweaters, coats, skirts and any woollen material I could find - then I moved on to making proddy mats. Their designs are more primitive than hooked rugs. Over the years my style has developed. Having studied in America and Canada, my mind had been opened up to new ideas.

Rug Materials

I use recycled and new woollen material and redundant nylon hose. I am a dyer too so the material usually hits the dye pot to open up a wider palette to work from. Hooked rugs are made on hessian foundation the material is cut into long strips and pulled through the backing with a special hook. Proddy mats are also made on a hessian foundation using short pieces of material that are either poked through the backing or pulled this gives a shaggy pile.

Flooring for the Home

I do make a few commissions for customers. The last one I made was a pretty old fashioned-style proddy mat, made with a range of greens, golds and cream materials. But I also have lots of rugs around my own home - in every room, in fact! I have an 8ft 6ins long, by 2ft 62 wide runner in the dining room that is very colourful. The pattern I designed has many star shapes over the rug in all sizes. The stars range from purple, blue and pink to lime green, on a turquoise background.

Different Rooms

All rooms (even the smallest rooms) make great settings for these traditional rugs, whether they are pictorial, geometric, floral or fun designs. The techniques are suitable for every room and the colours and design can blend in with any theme. For example, a kitchen with a lovely old range looks fabulous with a proddy mat with a sheep or rooster pattern and a bathroom with boats, mermaid or fish design. Modern, minimalist rooms lend themselves to modern geometric patterns.

Can Anyone do it?

Rug Making techniques are really quite easy (years ago before the fitted carpet most families made rugs for their bare floors). The most difficult thing for anyone who wants to start making rugs is finding the equipment, the hooks, hessian and frames. I get calls from people who have been looking for years and are relieved to find I stock the equipment. Anyone can make rugs if the interest is there. Tips would be to always use a good quality hessian backing and to draw a pattern on to your hessian. This is much more exciting than having a blank canvas. If you can’t draw, then use templates, and wash all material before working it into your rug."

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