Ryijy Textile Rugs-Vintage and Modern Styles

rag rugs
1m x 1m textile knotted rag rug by Laura Lee Burch

I made several hand knotted rugs and wall hangings about 9 years ago; they were useful but seemed to be more artful than utilitarian. In my sewing studio I had accumulated many fabric scraps, organized in bags by color.  When I looked at the pallet of colors and textured textiles they seemed like pots of color ready to be woven together to create something beautiful! I was never able to accurately calculate the number of hours it took me to make one  1m. x 1m carpet but I’d guesstimate around 20 hours to cut strips of fabric, knot them onto a plastic grid and trim the fabric.

blue rag rug
1m x 1m blue knotted textile rug by Laura Lee Burch
rag rug style wall hanging
38cm x 38cm knotted pink Heart Wall Hanging by Laura Lee Burch

Because of my earlier foray into textile carpets, the Ryijy (rough and shaggy pile) Rug Exhibit in Budapest last summer interested me. The early Ryijy carpets (as early as the 9th century) weave alternates a knotted pile with a tapestry weave; these carpets are the most famous Finnish textile. Ryijy carpets started as black, gray and white, later plant dyes were used to add color and it was only in modern invention of synthetic dyes that the carpet colors became brightly colored. Ryijys carpets were originally made for a brides trousseau, as coverlets, bedding, prayer carpets and pieces for special occasions that were later hung inside the house. As the carpet evolved it’s beauty and artistry brought it into the realm of home decor. The carpets are works of art, detailed, tactile and colorful!

Ryijy Rug Exhibit Budapest
Ryijy Rug Exhibit Budapest
Ryijy carpet
Early Ryijy carpet-geometric motif

Early Ryijy carpet

Early Ryijy carpet

Ryijy Rug-geometric
Ryijy Rug-geometric motif and muted colors

The folk art and Geometric patterned  themes of Ryijy carpets of the 1920’s and 30’s was changed by several innovative artists.  Eva Brummer was originally a painter, she made water color paintings as preliminary designs for her carpets, she chose the threads and closely monitored the carpet weaving by professional weavers. Ms. Brummer wanted to show feelings and sensitivity, she used soft forms and colors in her carpets. Long and rough piles helped to give the carpet surfaces softness. Her favorite subjects were hour glasses and crosses.  Another style changing artist was Uhra Simberg-Ehrstrom, in her artistic infancy her carpets evoked dreamlike feelings, later she wove large strips of rich color, she used many shades of a hue which made the weaving difficult. The artist Ritva Puotila also changed the look of Ryijy carpets by using new materials in her weaving such as paper string, silk and metal. Ms. Puotila often used Finnish folk designs as a motif but made them look very modern, she designed for the Finnrya company who used machines to weave Ryijy carpets. My favorite fact about the Ryijs carpets stated that the longest of the carpets were often hung on the wall, overlapped onto a sofa and continued onto the floor; an interesting look!

Ryijy Rug-black and white
Ryijy Rug-early style of black and white
Ryijy Rug-geometric and colorful
Ryijy Rug-geometric and colorful
Ryijy Rug-geometric and muted colors
Ryijy Rug-geometric and muted colors
Ryijy Rug-geometric and blue and grey
Ryijy Rug-geometric, hour glass motif
Ryijy Rug-geometric and green
Ryijy Rug-geometric and green
Ryijy Rug-geometric and red dot
Ryijy Rug-geometric and red dot
Ryijy Rug-geometric and purple
Ryijy Rug-geometric and purple
Ryijy rug-modern
Ryijy rug-modern colors
Ryijy Rug-geometric and patterned
Ryijy Rug-floral pattern
Ryijy Rug-long pile
Ryijy Rug-long pile and revolutionary materials
Long pile
Long pile and revolutionary materials
long pile
long pile
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