Rags to Riches 

textile upcycling podcast with Crispina ffrench

rags to riches textile upcycling podcast ~ episode 25

April 17, 2023

Rags to Riches Textile Upcycling Podcast Episode 25 Guest - Lu Mason

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Rags to Riches Textile Upcycling Podcast with Crispina ffrench
Rags to Riches Textile Upcycling Podcast with Crispina ffrench

The Warmth and Welcome of Lu Mason’s Rag Rugs

"Welcome" Rag Rug by Lu Mason

Wait, what was that URL again? We've got you covered:

  1. 1
    Lu Mason's Official Website: Made by Lu Mason
  2. 2
    Follow Lu on Instagram:  @lumasonbaker
  3. 3
    Mention: "dress rug" with all the dangly bits:  Dress Rug (Instagram)
  4. 4
    Mention: portrait of Ukrainian artist Maria Prymachenko:  Rag Rug Portrait (Instagram)
  5. 5
    Catch Lu at the Rags to Riches SUMMIT:  2023 Rags to Riches Summit

Elizabeth “Lu” Mason, owner and creator of Rag Rugs by Lu Mason (and presenter at our upcoming Rags to Riches Textile Upcycling Summit!) makes and sells the most creative, whimsical, and charming hooked-loop rug designs out of her hometown of York, UK. In her podcast interview, Lu’s enthusiasm for sharing her knowledge, stories, and creative insight is downright charming!

"By Hand" Rag Rug by Lu Mason

Right off the bat, Lu describes the life cycle of the traditional English rag rug, which were really quite environmentally sustainable in addition to practical! They were created out of necessity by wool workers living in stone-floored cottages in northern England. Given bags of industrial waste from the mills, these early textile alchemists would use the scrap material to create thick, warm shaggy rugs, or "clippy rugs" ...And the textile alchemy didn't stop with the crafting process!

"The story goes that they would start off on the top of the bed to keep you warm. And then they would go as a bedside rug. And then, when they were a bit worn, they would go downstairs as a hearth rug. And then, when they were kind of even more knackered, they would go in the kitchen. And end up...you know, in the dog basket. So they'd go right round...They were just used until they fell apart...and I think that's really inspiring." 
-Lu Mason, on the life cycle of a traditional English rag rug
Yellow Bird Rag Rug by Lu Mason

Lu goes on to describe why she moved away from the traditional "clippy" technique used by these wool workers to the looped technique that is more popular in the United States. In a word...color! And of course, design. She's able to create her intricate and vibrant work more easily with the hooking technique that she uses, and she loves, loves, LOVES the "treasure chest of color" that is available to her as a modern rag rug artist.

Lu Mason at Work on Rag Rugs
Rag Rug Portrait of a Juggler by Lu Mason
Lu Mason with Bird Rag Rug

Listening to Lu and Crispina talk about the creative process, the use of color in composition, and the inspiration to be gleaned from working alongside other visual artists is intoxicating to the creative spirit. It will make you want to go out there and make something! Settle in and enjoy this episode, friends, and get excited to hear and see more of Lu Mason as a presenter in next month's 2023 Rags to Riches Textile Upcycling Summit!

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