From Rags to Riches

12 sheets of kozo paper, hand-spun into thread, polychromatic screen print, crochet, konnayaku.

In response to the theme Love and Money

I have been researching notions surrounding the saying ‘from rags to riches’. Taking cue from historical craft practices such as the art of spinning shifu (paper-thread), and the gathering of discard material to make Rag rugs or Clootie mats; I am interested in combining each of these processes as I work to re-define the values we apply to common craft materials as well as domestic craft objects.

Both shifu and rag rug-making developed as practices once born out of necessity, where coarse paper thread would be woven into cloth for work clothes and other household items, while the rags of old clothes were coveted for their reuse-ability, being knotted back together in the form of much needed objects.
‘From rags to riches’ incorporate the use of newspaper ‘rag’ and other sampled papers as they are laboriously spun and crocheted into a delicate network of threads that make up the rag rug.
Through a sophisticated use of process and materials, the once ‘ragged’ and utilitarian object will be rendered precious and unusable, as emphasis is placed on re-evaluating the value of the materials and object at hand. Through my practice, I am interested in celebrating craft for love as means to continue to tap into the meaningful, intuitive and historical practices that employ the use of my hands.

​This project was made for an exhibition entitled Love and Money at the Ontario Crafts Council, curated by Tara Bursey.

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Copyright © 2017 Lizz Aston

Rag Rug & Paper Thread Samples

Installation at Peel Gallery