Image: Felicity Irons, Selvedge Issue 46, Photographer: Andrew Montgomery.
Tickets for our next Talk (on Zoom) are now available. Taking inspiration from Earth, Issue 94 of the magazine, Felicity Irons of Rush Matters, a UK rush weaving company, women's clothing designer Gudrun Sjoden and John Ennis of Journeys in Design Scotland will lead us in exploring how design links us to nature and the landscapes surrounding us. It is currently a busy time for Irons; her team is gathering this year’s crop: “We spend the summer months of June, July and August harvesting English freshwater bulrush scirpus lacustris, schoeneplectus on the River Great Ouse in Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, the Nene in Northamptonshire and on the River Ivel in Bedfordshire. We are carrying on with a tradition that goes back many centuries.”
Helena Pozniak interviewed Irons for Selvedge Issue 46: “Hundreds of years ago, and even at the turn of the 20th century, these rivers were a busy place in summertime. For three months, gangs of men would wade in to cut rush, sleeping by night in tents along the banks, their clothes spread out to dry for the following day. Their harvest was sent downstream by boat or horse and cart to be sold to furniture makers and coopers – once all casks would be sealed with a piece of rush bottom and top – barrel makers still use it today for brewers’ traditional wooden casks.”
“Since ancient times people would strew rushes on floors of dwellings, houses and churches, sometimes mixed with herbs such as meadowsweet, lavender and camomile which released sweet smells when walked upon – disguising the stench of old food, animal mess and dirt that lurked beneath. Even Queen Elizabeth I was reported to be partial to meadowsweet.”
16 September 2020, Earth Matters with Felicity Irons, Gudrun Sjoden and John Ennis, on Zoom. To buy your ticket to Earth Matters visit our Talks page.
Irons is also taking part in Selvedge World Fair, representing England. Visit Selvedge World Fair for more information.