Tree of Life

My Last Rya Rug: Tree of Life

This winter/spring, a lot has been happening with my involvement with rya rug making.  For those of you who don’t know, my grandparents, Bill and Angelina Lundgren began Lundgren Rya the year I was born.  They supplied thousands of customers across the country with high quality rya backings and yarn.  I worked with them for years designing rugs and promoting the Scandinavian craft.

When the business as transferred to a new owner back in the 80’s, all production of supplies and promotion ceased.  It became very difficult for people to find the supplies in the United States.  My career had developed in the environmental education field and I could not fret over what was happening –or not happening– with the rya business.  I have continued to use the supplies I had and to find occasional wool Scandinavian backings so I could make a rug every couple of years.  Several years ago, I taught about 7 women the craft at the Carroll Arts Center.  But sadly, I can no longer find a solid source for the supplies.

Ken Koons, photojournalist for the Carroll County Times, is passionate about documenting traditional arts before they are forgotten.  So Ken asked me to let him photodocument me designing and making my “last rya rug.”  Since February we have had weekly photo-sessions videoing and still-shooting the process.   The video is almost complete.  Very soon a reporter from the Carroll County Times will come to interview me for an article which will accompany Ken’s photos.  I’ll post a link for the video which will be on soon.

This morning I took this photo of the finished rug to share with you.  You are the very first to see it.  Stay tuned for …the rest of the story…


PS  Ironically, I received an email from a woman in San Francisco a couple of weeks ago wanting to “talk rya” with me.  She works in the fiberarts field and is interested in bringing quality rya supplies back into production through manufacturing to her specifications to provide for rya rug makers in need.  Could it be coincidence when she asked where I lived in Maryland since she is coming to visit her inlaws who live in…get this…Woodbine, MD!  So I believe the stars have lined up perfectly.  She and I will meet in my studio and I will help her all I can to revive this wonderful Scandinavian craft.  Unbelievable!  Maybe this won’t be my last rya…

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