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HOW TO: RUG-HOOK

Sustainability in a world of market deception has plenty shades of green.  Some things inherently sustainable need to be deciphered from other aspects:  "It's made of recycled material, but will it last long in my closet?" and "It's made from vegan material but is the method of production also polluting?"  The most challenging and fun parts of creating a brand that promises thorough sustainability, is to figure out how to use discardable biproducts of the recycled products. 

 

Rug making has a long history and therefore brilliant inspiration sources.  CHINDI is a name for East Indian practice of using recycled garment industry biproducts processed through an assortment of techniques into a variety of products.  BOUCHEROUITE is a Moroccan rug tradition originally created by the Berber Tribe as a ceremonial object handed down in a traditional time.  Both processes provide perfect example of unique and beautiful products arising from the entropy and unpredictability of scraps.  

 

Rug creation can form in a number of ways all starting with thin strips of fabric, including crochet, looming, coiling, latchhook, lockerhook, and loop and pile tufting. In the process of researching these many techniques, I discovered the amazing "YE SUSAN BURR Hooked Rug Machine" a very simple hand held machine that is no longer made but can be found vintage via ebay and etsy.  

The poem on the box serves as an instruction for the simple tool to use tool.  In laymans terms, you enter the thread-filled needle into the back side of a porous fabric (commonly burlap or hessian) and switch the opposing sides back in forth.  When the opposite side enters the fabric a metal peice holds the thread in place while the needle draws the thread out creating "tufts."  The tool "walks" itself so that when you enter the next time it will be slightly to the left in order to create a new stitch.  Below you can see the slide action as the needle portion moves opposite a "placeholder" metal peice.  

The burlap must be stretched over a surface in order to remain taut under the pressure of the tool.  This must also be raised off of another surface, such as books on a table.  Below a painting stretcher is used for the sample and shows the backside of the item, where the writing must be done in reverse. The back side shows a different texture which is also very beautiful.  

Below is an initial sample using a favorite catch phrase.  As you see it is not a rug but the technique works beautifully for an embroidered effect.  It is likely too small for a rug if removed from the stretcher with finished edges so this will remain on the frame.  Rug making depending on your finished product size, requires a lot of margin, since the space taken up by the stretcher cannot be used for tufting.