Hooked Rag Rug Workshops with Vita Cochran 12th & 13th November 2018

In this workshop you will learn the simple and satisfying technique of turning old woollen garments and fabrics into a beautiful and useful floor covering -- and future heirloom.

Rag rug making is a craft that developed out of necessity when fabric was a very precious commodity, and rugs for the floor an expensive outlay. Old, worn out or damaged garments are cut into small strips and hooked through a backing fabric to produce a new, strong, warm and useful item. The use of found and waste materials, rather than being a limitation on the rug maker's creativity, can be a spur to innovative design and an end product which is original, textured, imbued with history, and long-lasting. 

At this workshop you will learn an easy and satisfying technique for making beautiful hooked rugs from old woollen garments and fabric. You can furnish your home in a unique way and make something useful while recycling material which might otherwise go to waste. This craft, invented out of necessity in times past, is having a resurgence today as we look for ways to conserve resources and beautify our surroundings. By the end of the workshop you will have learnt about the history of rag rugs, discovered how to choose and prepare materials, learnt the technique of hooking and started making a small sample rug. You will leave brimming with ideas for future rug hooking projects.

Vita Cochran is a maker of unique textile objects --often handbags, accessories and embroideries--which draw on craft, art and fashion history. She is a enthusiast for making things by hand, getting inspiration from op shops and re-invigorating traditional craft practises. Her work has been collected by major museums in New Zealand and is sold at Anna Miles Gallery in Auckland. Vita has been making rag rugs, in the manner of many of the matriarchs of her family, for a couple of decades now and she has a rag rug in every room of her house!

See more of Vita's work here on Instagram

Over the course of the Necessary Traditions festival, Vita is running 2 workshops in the stunning old Gym building at the Arts Centre and 1 upstairs in the Boys High Building outside the Rekindle workshop on some stunning greenwood furniture:

  1. Monday 12 November 2018 10am-3pm $95 (Gym)
  2. Monday 12 November 2018 6pm - 9pm $75 (outside Rekindle)
  3. Tuesday 13 November 2018 10am - 3 pm $95 (Gym)

All materials and equipment will be provided, but if you wish to bring some of your own this is welcomed: look for woollen materials, or material with some wool content, for example old woollen blankets, jerseys, cardigans, coats, tweed, gaberdine, old wool dressing gowns, bush shirts and machine knits. It doesn't matter if the moths have got it, if it's in tatters or felted up by the washing machine or in small pieces - everything's useful. Wool is good because it is hard wearing, and doesn't fade or fray too much. Aim to find things that have a reasonably tight weave/knit (unless very finely knitted, handknits don't usually work in a rag rug). Also, if available, bring a sharp pair of scissors which are good for cutting fabric.

This is a workshop is suitable for all 8 years and over, with 1:1 parent supervision during the workshop. Bookings are essential and non-refundable.

Huge thanks to the Arts Centre for supporting the festival and this workshop.

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