Anna Martin - rug maker

Rug Maker

To tuft is to learn……

By anna November 21, 2012

It is easy to forget how you work, and finding my way back to practiced techniques appears to be a recurring theme in my MA.

So for 5 or more years I have had my own studio and worked to commission, but it shocks me how every time that I start a new project I appear to be re-learning how to be a rug maker. Sometimes I think my head is a sieve and information and knowledge just falls out.  Now I have been working with this recurring forgetfulness for years now and aided by a half translated manual for my Hoffman Tufting gun I struggle to over come the same problems over and over again…it is a very boring version of Groundhog Day.

So today I decided that I would challenge this pattern and re write my “How to Tuft” manual as part of the undercurrent of my Masters. It will be written as if for an idiot (myself in the morning for example) and every time I do something successfully or quicker I will document it in simple language. At the end of next year I will hopefully have a MA but also a fool proof document to help others and myself to Tuft!

Now this sounds like I am distracting myself from my project but don’t worry it’s a by-product from spending time in my filthy wool strewn studio.

The last two days I have decided to challenge myself by looking at both the technicalities of tufting, but also my professional development.

I wanted to approach this project in a dedicated and professional manner, the aim is that the project will be a success, but also that I will have a smart and professional craft portfolio that expresses the pattern a project/ commission would follows:

Discussion and initial ideas> information and image gathering> drawing> design ideas> ruglets ( samples)> Formal designs> Final piece> presentation

So for the Felbrigg project I had started to develop some designs that reflected and grew out of the visual research I had done. After lots of multi media drawing I decided to progress into tufting; a technique that I have always said is “painting with wool”.

The pictures below are of the back and the front of a “ruglet” (or a sampler if you would prefer). I have explored pile height and colour blending and this is where I found myself relearning past techniques which I feel have been very successful. But to maintain this confidence in my technical ability I think documenting my process again, would be hugely beneficial to my professional development ( and will stop me tearing my hair out).

Take care

Anna x


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Jo Clarke says

I think it's a great idea to rewrite the manual! This could become the definitive guide for how to.