It’s rare nowadays that a person will craft a work of art with a truly end-to-end approach, and this is precisely why Felicity Irons is such a rare find. Known for her expert skills in rush weaving, here is a one-woman powerhouse who does everything from cutting the rush from the riverbed to designing, making and teaching this historic trade. How did she come to it? At home recovering from a car crash, she picked up a book and taught herself.
“The best thing about the car accident – and it was awful,” she tells Selvedge, “ is that I’ve ended up doing something I love.” For six weeks every year now, Felicity has been going out along the River Great Ouse in Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, the Nene in Northamptonshire and the River Ivel in Bedfordshire to harvest her rush on a punt. Being so close to nature brings to Felicity a great sense of peace as she works, allowing the landscape to act as a means of escape from day-to-day life, washing over her an incredible sense of calm.
From the river she went to work in her mother’s sitting room before eventually branching out to run her own studio. She now designs hats, bags, cushions, shoes and baskets all from rush, and her pieces are sold in all corners of the world from the USA to the UK, Holland, Australia and Japan. This close connection to nature remains just as evident in her final products. As she says herself, “people don’t realise just how soft rush can feel against the skin.”
From grabbing onto the rush in the river to spending months weaving on the studio floor, the entire process is one that brings Felicity total harmony. It may be exhausting at times but to her, rush weaving is never a chore. It’s simply one effective way to create something beautiful, from the adverse aspects of life. Felicity Irons will be teaching a rush weaving workshop during London Craft Week at the Selvedge Craft Spa, 5 May 2017. Click here for more information, and to book a place: http://www.selvedge.org/shop/may-5-selvedge-craft-spa www.rushmatters.co.uk