Monday, June 16, 2008
Why make it easy?
I am not a Luddite...but I started wondering as I hand-cut the many wool strips I'll need to fill in the background of my current hooked rug.
I always cut my strips by hand and I feel a greater connection with my ancestors who cut family garments into strips when there was no further wear in them. The strips would be cut by hand into 1/4 inch strips - a job that was often done by the children. Today, there are a variety of strip-cutters which will turn out uniform strips with lovely straight sides. I try to keep them all uniform but I kind of like the eccentricities that are inevitable. Because I was cutting such a pile of strips yesterday, it occurred to me that a machine would be faster. However, I quickly dismissed that idea as I'm all about the process. It's nice to finish a project but the joy is in the making.
I also hook with a older style hook rather than the newer ergonomic models which are easy on the hands. And I prefer burlap to linen as a backing. It's not the cost; although it is much more expensive. But burlap was the original backing material and again it just feels right. Linen will last much longer than burlap but in the great scheme of things, do I care about that? Antique burlap rugs of 100 years old are not unheard of: the world would be littered with these rugs if all mine (and the many others) all lasted for eternity.
Like my ancestors, I make my rugs to be used. Feet, both bare and shod, should tread on them. So, perfection is not my aim nor is timeless art. It somehow seems wrong to me that rugs are hung on walls. How can you feel the softness of an old sweater on your toes if it's on a wall?
I am not a Luddite...