For some weeks now, much of my time away from the computer has gone into making a rag rug for my son. He’s very fond of the awen symbol, and of the squishy beneath the toes quality of rag rugs. This is the second rug I’ve made this way, and there’s been a lot to learn about textures, fine tuning methods and techniques, and working out the colours (not perfectly captured in this image but you get the gist). I still have a lot to learn on how best to handle colour. It’s a bit like pointillist painting only the colours are fixed by the fabric you have, and they go down in rows so you have to be thinking ahead. You can’t do fine detail, that’s clear, but I think I could do far more than I’ve done here…
For scale, those are Tom’s toes at the bottom of the image!
The backing was a peanut sack, my local pet store otherwise throws them out, but is happy to give them to me instead! I opened it out and hemmed the edge before starting. Every strand of fabric in there was cut by hand, worked into the hessian by hand – it’s very labour intensive, very rhythmic work that creates a lot of thinking time. All of the fabric in this rug is stuff that could very easily have otherwise gone into the bin – small scraps, off-cuts, faded, damaged, stained, worn-thin materials from clothes and bed linen. None of it could be re-used in anything like its original form, but a rag rug transforms what is otherwise rubbish into a cheerful and snuggely addition to your home.
I put down the awen first. That meant most of the time I was working in the space an awen creates, which has given me many hours of pondering the space created by an awen, and seeing things about the nature of that space that I had not seen before. The shape of where an awen is not, is also really interesting. So much New Age thinking talks about being free from edges and boundaries, defying limitations and so forth. An awen is only itself because of its edges, and only makes sense because there are places it is not.
There’s a trancelike quality to any rhythmic and repetitive crafting. There is space to think – and that too is an interesting absence created by the shape of the thing in your hands.