Techniques for rugmaking, under the guidance of tutor Miriam Miller.
Techniques for rugmaking, under the guidance of tutor Miriam Miller.

Something old is new again

By EMMA CORNFORD

JANET Thornton's husband John was scouring Grafton op shops on Wednesday, searching for clothing in particular colours. But he wasn't looking for clothes for himself.

Instead he was tracking down materials Janet could use as she creates rugs and other artworks during her 'techniques for rug making' workshop at Artsfest this week.

"He even managed to get exactly the right colours," she said, as she picked up a pair of royal blue tracksuit pants.

Under the guidance of tutor Miriam Miller, those pants will soon be cut up and transformed into an artwork by using progging ? one of the more unusual workshops on offer this year.

"Basically it's about making things out of recycled clothes and material," Ms Miller said.

"It went out of fashion for a long time because people really looked down on it. It was seen as a poor person's craft, but now that people are keener to reuse things it's become more popular again."

Ms Miller, originally from a town near Newcastle in the north of England, is now based in Milton on the NSW south coast.

She has been using the craft to create rugs, wall hangings, cushion covers and even hats, for more than 30 years.

"When people didn't have much money they'd use all the rags ? nothing was ever wasted, which is where it comes from," she said.

"But it's considered a real art form now ? more so overseas than here. In England there are works hanging in art galleries."



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