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The Knitting & Stitching Show celebrates the endangered craft of rug weaving

By Mark Hayhurst 24 Sep 2019

The Knitting & Stitching Shows in London and Harrogate this autumn will be showcasing the endangered craft of rug weaving with an exhibition by award-winning rug weaver Jacqueline James and the appearance of a historic loom.

Rug weaving is listed on the Heritage Crafts Association’s 2019 Red List of Endangered Crafts and Jacqueline James is one of only a small number of rug weavers still practising the heritage craft in the UK. The HCA’s Red List ranks traditional crafts according to their likelihood of surviving the next generation based on factors including the current number and age of craftspeople and trainees and opportunities to learn. Rug weaving is described as a ‘Viable Craft’.

As part of her gallery exhibition, Colour & Weave, Jacqueline James will present The Legacy Loom, a handmade eight shaft sample loom, engineered and crafted by Master Weaver Peter Collingwood OBE. The loom was used to create most of the samples for Peter’s definitive book, The Techniques of Rug Weaving, and is built from materials including reclaimed wood, musical instrument parts and mechanisms from other looms.

The artist says: “This very special loom is of great importance to the UK’s cultural heritage and I am privileged to be the temporary guardian until it finds a more permanent home in a suitable museum. Its loan is by kind permission of Peter’s equally talented son, rug weaver Jason Collingwood. This incredible hand built loom will help attract interest about rug weaving and celebrate the life and work of an outstanding British Master Weaver. Peter’s book has had a profound impact upon my own weaving practice since I started over 30 years ago. For many people around the world, the book continues to be a valuable and informative reference.”

Jacqueline’s hand dyed and woven rugs and wall hangings blend new and traditional rug weaving techniques (like ‘shaft switching’, invented by Peter Collingwood) with contemporary design. Her colourful, often geometric work has been commissioned for Westminster Abbey, York Minster and the British Library and will be on display in The Knitting & Stitching Show’s Textile Galleries at Alexandra Palace in October and Harrogate in November.

She says: “It is of great importance for me to share my experience, skills and enthusiasm about weaving and I will do all I can to encourage and inspire the next generations to continue this important, cultural tradition.”

The Knitting & Stitching Show is the UK’s biggest event for the textile art, craft and design community and features hundreds of workshops, free craft and equipment demonstrations, galleries by internationally-acclaimed artists, practising artists live at work, competitions, catwalks and hundreds of exhibitors selling essential craft supplies.

A wide selection of ticket options for both shows is available at www.theknittingandstitchingshow.com/london/ and www.theknittingandstitchingshow.com/harrogate/ or by calling 0844 873 7343 (+44 115 896 0102 if calling from outside the UK). A £1.95 fulfilment fee applies per order for Print at Home tickets and £2.50 for postal tickets. Full Terms and Conditions are available on the show website.

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