Meet The Artist - Elspeth from Ragged Life
When did you start Ragged Life?
It all started in 2014 when I was working in Marketing at Unilever, a couple of years out of university. I’d done rag rugging as a hobby since the age of fourteen and after a chance encounter was asked to run a one-off class at Tea and Crafting in London. I really enjoyed teaching that first evening class, so agreed to run more rag rug workshops on the side alongside my full-time job. As I was teaching more workshops, I needed more tools and materials, which I began pulling together into beginner kits and also selling on the side. Before I knew it, I had a side hustle that I felt confident could become a full-time job if I was brave enough to leave my cushy graduate job. Well, I took the leap of faith and here we are today! Now Ragged Life has grown into a one-stop-shop for rag rug materials, workshops and textile inspiration.
What's your favourite thing about rag rugging?
I love how easy it is to learn. I often say that rag rugging is the most forgiving craft you'll ever try as it's almost physically impossible to go wrong and any mistakes can be easily fixed without having to go back. What's more, unlike a lot of crafts, we embrace imperfection as it adds texture and interest to a rug. You don't have to cut your strips an even size, you don't have to space the fabric pieces evenly apart and a tatty old t-shirt that you've worn to death will look equally as nice as a gorgeous Liberty Tawn once it's in a rug. Rag rugging is a mindfully repetitive craft, which makes it easy to pick up and put down, especially when you use a rag rug spring tool.
Have you always been creative?
Ever since I was a kid, I've always enjoyed making things with my hands. Part of that is probably a result of growing up in an artistic household. My mum (who taught me how to rag rug) has an excellent eye for colour and dabbles with all sorts of textile and fibre crafts. There's very little Victoria hasn't tried by now! In particular, she loves charity shops and pulls together the most amazing, colourful interiors. My father is also great with colour and paints large pastel canvases. He has also written a number of books! So, getting back to the question, I grew up surrounded by creativity and I'm sure some of it brushed off on me. I am however a firm believer that everyone has creativity in them (just look at how we all begin as little kids), they just need the space to tap into it.
Is rag rugging easy?
The fact that rag rugging is so easy is one of the main reasons why I love it so much. All you need are a few basic tools to get you started (you can buy them all together in one of our Ragged Life starter kits), some old clothing and a bit of hessian. This is the type of craft you can do on your lap in front of the TV after a couple of glasses of wine without worrying that you're going to have to unpick it all at a later date! We've run hundreds of rag rug workshops all across the country and have never come across anyone unable to do it.
Join Elspeth on Sunday 11th June for a British Rag Rugging Workshop here at The Craftship in Park Mall, Ashford.