Thursday, August 02, 2018

Rescue Rug

 (Above: Rescue Rug.  Framed 27" x 63". Inventory # 4308. $650.  Click on any image to enlarge.)

I'm usually very good about taking in-progress images. But not this time! Honestly, I didn't think I would end up with anything at all.  It was a long shot at best, a hair-brained idea, an adventure down a "rabbit hole".  It started just over two weeks ago while at Bill Mishoe's Tuesday night "walk-around" auction of used household items.  I go most every week but am not always successful.  In fact, I never even raised my hand to bid that night.  Yet, I saw a pretty hooked rug among the "junk" sitting on a card table.  I don't know who bought this lot, but whoever it was left the rug outside the building in a pile of broken glass and under several pieces of wood that had once been a cheap cabinet.  At least that's where I found the hooked rug the next week.  I picked it up and threw it in the back of my van.

 (Above:  The reverse of the center section.)

The next day, I tossed the rug into my washing machine.  It was filthy after all! Sure, I knew that the wool might felt and the burlap my disintegrate.  Cleaning this hooked rug was a risk, but I had nothing in it.  After an hour, I opened the lid to the washing machine.  It was quite a mess!  The rug was tattered and torn, and the sides of the machine were covered in felted mush.  It took at least fifteen minutes to remove all the debris from the washing machine.  What was left of the rug did not look promising.  I hung the rug outside to dry.  Being dry it did not really improve it, but there was "something" about it that I still liked.
 (Above:  Rescue Rug, detail.)

Still having nothing to lose, I started cutting up one corner.  I removed the burlap from the areas that had once been wool ... all the wool that felted into the machine.  I was left with a "fragment" and decided to apply GAC 400, a fabric stiffener.  I applied it liberally on both sides and placed it outside on a piece of silicone coated paper.  Every hour, I flipped it over ... allowing the hot summer sun to work magic on the polymer emulsion.  By the end of the day, the product had dried to an invisible clear and the fragment was nice and stiff.  I showed it to my husband Steve.  He liked it too.  The next day, I cut the rest of the rug into two, slightly larger fragments and applied GAC 400 to them too.

 (Above:  Rescue Rug, left side of the piece.)

Soon, Steve and I were talking about how we'd like to frame it.  Amazingly, I had a bolt of cheap, synthetic upholstery fabric in the perfect golden color.  (It came from Bill Mishoe's auction several months ago and set me back a whole six-dollars for the entire bolt!)  I mounted the fabric on an over-sized piece of foam-centered board cut to 20" x 60".  We ordered a chunky, deep brown moulding with a unique inner lip.

(Above:  Picture frame moulding from Decor's Cappuccino line.)

The face of this moulding is a full half-inch higher than where the artwork is placed.  What does that mean? Well ...

(Above:  Upper left corner of the frame.)

... this is the depth that is created.  Because the upholstery material and the piece require no glass, I didn't put glass into the frame.  Yet, the artwork isn't "sticking out" in front of the moulding.  It is "set back" as if in a shadowbox.  The piece looks amazing!  It reminds me of fragments of Roman mosaics.  I thought I would title it was some historic reference, but Steve and our moulding rep both said, "Call it Rescue Rug!"

 (Above:  Rescue Rug, right side of piece.)

Actually, this is an appropriate name.  Not only was it rescued from the side of an auction house, but it was also the result of recycling when initially created.  This hooked rug wasn't made from just one type of material. It appears to have been made from strips of old clothing or household textiles.  Some of the fabric is cotton, but not all the cotton seems the same weight or weave (or some might be a heavier linen).  The rusty red fabric seems to be a more densely woven wool blend ... which is why it didn't completely felt onto the sides of my washing machine.  From the looks of it, this was a "recycling" or "rescue" project from the start!   

(Above:  Rescue Rug ... how it looked sitting outside my back door for its photo shoot.)

Had I known that this hair-brained idea would turn out this well, I would have taken "in process" photos ... but I would have never guessed that the rescue would be so successful!

I am linking this post to Nina-Marie's "Off the Wall Fridays", a site for sharing fiber arts. 


Jan Roys said...

From trash to treasure. What a successful piece it turned out to be! Amazing!

Christine said...

Another beautiful piece of art. Love the colours in this
Well done

Christine said...

Another beautiful piece of art. Love the colours in this
Well done

John Mallinson said...

That's absolutely fabulous Susan. I love it!

Norma Schlager said...

What a brilliant save and how very brave you were to try it. It looks fabulous!