VE Magazine features Mid-Century Modern Ryas and my Efforts to Revive the Almost-lost Art of the Rya Rug

Rya Rug-making…Yesterday and Today. This early ad is from one of my old C.U.M. Rya catalogs from Denmark.

A few weeks ago, I received an email from the editor of VE Magazine (stands for VintagExplorer) based in the United Kingdom.  VE is available both in print and online with subscriptions from all around the world.  She was working on an article featuring the history of mid-century modern rya rugs and some of the unique advertisements that were created to put this art form on the map.  You have to see them to believe it!  Click here to go directly to the Rya Rugs article.  If you are a fan of all things vintage, treat yourself to a trip back in time.  Let me know if any of you remember the advertisements.  I recall my grandmother saying, “That’s ridiculous.  Who would put a rya rug in the beach sand?”  But the image lasted for decades for me.

The article also contains rare information about the history of the Nordic ryas to which I can attest there is very little written.  I was thrilled to see the history is very similar to what I have assembled for the history chapter in my book on designing and making the off-loom rya. (Phew!  So I know it is all TRUE!) She wanted to conclude her story with an optimistic word about making a rya rug today…and she found me.  Of course I gave her all the info and photos she needed to complete the story.  The off-loom art of rya rug-making has a new ally of support and outreach to the world.  So exciting to have others sharing the story.

Louise working on her first rya of her own design at the February 2017 Rya Sewing Circle at Byrdcall Studio. Denis is starting on his third rya of the past 12 months!

I think it is really cool that she has put the challenge out to the VE readers to make a rya rug.  A kit is a great way to get started, or start designing your own.

I keep adding to my kits-on-hand inventory from Rauma of Norway each month.  I also have a few of my earlier designs listed on etsy. Why not check out my etsy shop?

If you would like to share your latest rya project, or even a vintage one, post on Pinterest or Instagram with hashtags #vintagexplorermag, #ryarugs, or #midcentury.  Be proud to share in any social media you choose and in real life, too, like as a fiberart in the County Fair!  If there is no category for “Rya Rugs” request a new category for an old craft.   The more we get our ryas “out there” the more people will realize it isn’t just an art of the past.

While your interest is peaked, why not check out these links:  www.vintagexplorer.co.uk and www.mantiquexplorer.co.uk

If you remember these ads, tell us.  If you care to comment about this blog, feel free to do so below.  You may not see your comment immediately, but check it out later and see what others have said.  Thanks!  Knot on!

Perfectly manicured hands demonstrate the rya knotting technique in another promotional photo by C.U.M. Rya of Denmark in 1960s-70s..

 

2 thoughts on “VE Magazine features Mid-Century Modern Ryas and my Efforts to Revive the Almost-lost Art of the Rya Rug

  1. This is great! I really need to see if I can dig up a photo of a rug I made in the early 80’s. As a child my mother got us various latch hook kits (the 70’s) that my brother and I enjoyed, and then later I got a bit adventurous. I made a wall hanging that was latch hook – but it was a 42″ round multilayered composition I designed and made for one of my projects in Advanced Art in High School (would probably be AP studio art now). We had a wonderfully talented and creative artist as an instructor, and he really let us explore some unusual medium (unusual for a “proper” art class). I remember I also did some embroidery of sea creatures along side our more standard assignments of commercial design, sculpture, painting, and graphic design.

    This is making me want to dig out one of the kits I think we still have (er, unfinished), and redo it as a more proper off-loom rya. I’m kind of hoping that business is a little bit slow to allow me some time to start this!

    • Hey, Holly! Go ahead and dig out your old kit. If you don’t feel like completing it (knowing what you do about the off-loom rya), you could recreate a similar design with rya yarns on a rya backing. I even have a 100cm (about 39″) ROUND backing for $128 made by Rauma so you know it is sturdy. You are lucky to have had such creative and open Art program and teacher. Send me a picture if you find it…of your design in particular if you still have it. I think graphing a round backing would be challenging (I’ve never done it) but so easy to draw shapes on a round backing. Who wants to give that a try and send pictures for a future blog? Nice to hear from you, Holly!
      Melinda

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