Thursday, September 3, 2009

The rag rug dilemma: old lady artefact

So, there's this little handcrafted rag rug in my bathroom. Made by my own fair hands, about 16 years ago. I was doing some housework this morning. (Alarm! Alarm! Subject exhibits unusual behaviour!) So I took the rug upstairs to the deck and gave it a good thrashing in the morning sunshine.

Many cultures thrash their duvets and their rugs. This adds percussion to the morning music of neighbourhoods all over the world. So I don't blame myself for what happened next.

Namely, bits of the rug fell off and fell out and blew into the garden next door, and the street, and probably the CBD. It had reached stage 5 of the rag rug cycle: not only had the pieces of rag worked loose, the very backing had begun to rot.

A tear came to my eye. (Not.) No truly, I felt a bit nostalgic. The rug depicts Lowry Bay, a tiny elite Wellington neighbourhood where I had a nice calm few years between turbulent decades.

So calm, indeed, that I made quite a few rag rugs. That's a soothing hobby, and laudably economical. All you need is a canvas backing, a few old woollen coats from the op shop, a rug hook and a pair of scissors. And time.

Oh yes, and space. Those bags of ripped up strips of cloth take space. In fact once I lived in a house with another rug maker: her bags of fabric occupied a room the size of a scout hall. That's why I no longer make rag rugs.

So now comes the dilemma. Do I:
1. throw the rug away? (one day)
2. spray clean it, and hang on a few more months? (probably)
3. get it professionally cleaned and mended? (naa)
4. build a museum to preserve this precious artefact?

But the irony amuses me. For this rug is quite a sweet little artefact in its own right, quite apart from my nostalgia.

It's an old lady artefact, the kind of rug my mother-in-law-number-two used to make and give to the privileged few. I'll be an old lady in February. Maybe I should build up to that by making another rag rug.

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