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Rag rug; Ross, Mary (Mrs J K); [?]; CT78.937d

Rag rug, CT78.937
Rag rug
About this object
A rag rug, handmade from strips of tweed and coloured fabric on sacking backing, by the donor’s mother at Purakauiti in the Catlins.

For Catlins' pioneers, the main concern was getting a roof over their heads. Once that was attended to, working from the floors up, creative and practical energy could be directed to home-making. For many settlers, life began on earth floors or bare boards. Rag rugs were a way of enabling a household to afford floor coverings.

Reflecting the maker’s circumstances, the rag rug was made from recycled materials. Worn-out garments were not thrown away but given a new lease on life as a floor covering providing warmth and colour.

The home-maker industriously cut cloth into strips about thirty centimetres long, and into various widths depending on the weight of the fabric. These were then painstakingly pushed, prodded and or knotted through sacking (often a re-used sugar bag) to form a thick patterned pile.

Handmade rugs have traditionally employed a range of basic designs and patterns, often simple geometric shapes. Simple shapes, bold colours and textured fabrics gave the rag rug a place as significant domestic art.

Maker Role
Date Made
Medium and Materials
processed material, textiles.
w 660mm

Subject and Association Keywords
technology, handicrafts, homecrafts
Credit Line
From the collection of Owaka Museum Wahi Kahuika The Meeting Place "a rest on your journey"
Object Type
Object number

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