The craft of Rag Rugging is an old one. It developed out of the need to make cottagers’ homes more comfortable, as the floors were frequently beaten earth and warm insulation was needed.
Our current need to recycle and re-use resources is not new, as rag rugging utilised potato sacks and old clothing to make serviceable rugs for the home....
My interest in textiles originates from an early age and from my family with parents and grandparents all participating in a craft. My grandmother made many rugs during the war years. During the 1980’s I worked as Handicraft Instructor, in a day centre for the elderly, for Southwark Social Services as part of their rehabilitation team.
My inspiration for many of my designs comes from the landscape and skies in Devon but I also enjoy contrasting textures and colours which my medium offers endless possibilities. I like to mix media so include embroidery and patchwork within my work. As a garden designer I use my understanding of shape, colour and texture to guide my designs and some folk have often commented that my designs are like gardens and flowers. Colour has always been very important to me and I love the way colours react to each other and blend.
I demonstrate rag rugging, throughout the peak holiday periods, at the famous cobbled street village Clovelly near Bideford. The Fisherman’s Cottage is set out as a typical fisherman’s cottage during the 1920’s. I have created most of the rugs in the cottage including the one in the adults bedroom which led to me working at Clovelly. I have now worked there providing demonstrations and workshops in rag rugging for 13 years during the holiday periods and looking forward to my 14th year this year 2017. I originally worked in the cottage but can now be found at the Visitors Centre.
I teach rag rugging at many museums throughout Devon and Somerset providing workshops for adults and children. I also teach for the Workers Educational Association [W.E.A.] - rag rugging, dressmaking & teacher training - throughout Devon, Cornwall and Somerset. I deliver rag rugging and embroidery courses for the WI college, Denman's, Oxford.
I am also a tutor for Open University Tutor for their Access Courses, a Fellow for the Institute for Learning and Associate member of the College of Occupational Therapists.
The ‘drop-in’ rag rugging workshops are very popular and throughout Easter, Whitsun and the Summer Holidays and I can be found in many National Trust properties: The Old Post Office, Tintagel; Buckland Abbey, Finch Foundry, Okehampton; Arlington Court, Near Barnstaple. I am also travelling to Upton House in Oxford.
I run an Embroidery and Rag Rugging Group in Barnstaple at the Roundswell Centre, Near Sainsbury's. A Variety of Embroidery skills can be learnt here: Goldwork, Ribbon Embroidery, Di Van Neikerk Silk Ribbon Embroidery, stumpwork, Needleweaving and Rowandean Embroidery. At Each session there is the opportunity to watch a demostration and then make a small sample. View here for dates
I stock and Teach Di van Niekerk Silk Ribbon designs and her ribbons and panel can be purchased from this web site.
Meeting HRH Pricess Royal at Clovelly with Hon John Rous, Owner of Clovelly. May 2014