Creative rag rugs with found fabrics with Debbie Siniska

Ref: SWE31249

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1 place available

About this course

The traditional heritage craft of rug hooking gives new life to pre-loved found fabrics. Create a functional, attractive piece of textile art, as a rag rug or cushion as you work your motifs using colours you love.

Course Description

You will learn four different techniques for rag rug making by using traditional hand tools. Your found fabrics will be cut into strips and worked onto a hessian backing, on or off a frame. You will produce a looped or clippy pile, to make a homely slip mat, motif cushion or cosy kitchen seat mat.

This Heritage thrift craft was used in the make do and mend years, out of necessity, and was the embodiment of recycling and making new from old. You will learn to choose and prepare your fabrics, for hooky and proddy, into either long strips, or shorter tabs. You will transfer your designs using a template or gridding up method. You will learn how to stretch your hessian backing onto a frame, how to use a rug hook, bodger, a shuttle hook and how to braid long wide textile strips for a coiled mat. You will be shown best ways to stitch a hemmed backing to finish off your work securely.

On the first evening session you will be introduced to the hand tools, how to set up an upright frame and hoop frame, and examine some rag rug samples and working fabrics. We will then discuss your ideas.

On the next day you will transfer your designs to hessian by gridding up or using a template. You will learn to prepare your textiles and to use a cutting wheel. You will create small samples using each tool (shuttle samples will be worked onto a separate frame) to then choose your tool and working method of choice and start your chosen project.

The following day you continue working on your own design, combining techniques if you wish, and experiment with various textiles/fabrics. There will be hand-outs and one-on-one tuition throughout the course. You will finish with an informal discussion on the work produced within the group.

Course Materials


  • Some textiles to use and hessian to work samples

What students need to bring

  • You are encouraged to arrive with ideas and bring suitable textiles in colours you love. Otherwise inspirational material will be at hand.
  • Bring favourite old stretch knit textiles you want to recycle, including tee shirts, fine knit woollies, cottons, jersey, sweatshirts, sari silk ribbon/ remnants. (No upholstery/curtain fabric/towelling). Please ensure they are all freshly laundered.
  • Sewing kit with largish sharp needles, long pins or t-head pins, thimble, button thread or linen thread. Backing fabric could be wool blanket, ticking, or heavy cotton.
  • Sharp fabric scissors
  • 12” embroidery or quilters hoop, cutting wheel and mat or dressmaking scissors and any old hand tools you may have collected, if you have them

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • Cotton calico for backing fabric
  • Available from tutor:
  • You can borrow tools from the tutor during the course, with the option to buy at the end if you wish. Hessian will be available to buy, if you wish to set up an upright frame. (The tutor has a SumUp payments card machine.)

Additional information

Please wear appropriate clothing/aprons for the workshop or studio, this includes stout covered footwear (no sandals or open toes).


Arrival Day - this is the first date listed above

Courses start early evening. Residential students to arrive from 4pm, non-residential students to arrive by 6.45pm.

6.45pm: Welcome, followed by dinner (included).

8 - 9pm: First teaching session, attendance is essential.

Daily timetable

Classes 9.15 - 5pm, lunch is included.

From 6.30pm: Dinner (included for residential students).

Evening working - students may have access to workshops until 9pm, but only with their tutor's permission and provided any health and safety guidelines are observed.

Last day

Classes 9.15am - 3pm, lunch is included.

Residential students are to vacate their rooms by 10am please.

(This timetable is for courses of more than one day in length. The tutor may make slight variations)

General Information


Debbie Siniska

Debbie Siniska

Debbie Siniska is a rag rug artist and feltmaker, author and teacher, and works using traditional hand tools to create rag rugs, cushions and wall pieces. Her work is exhibited in the V&A Museum, Tate Gallery shop, Charleston Farmhouse, bohemian home of artists Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant, and for the National Trust. She teaches in schools, colleges and art centres in the South East, and has published a book Rag Rugs - Old into New.


Residential option available. Find out accommodation costs and how to book here.

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Further study options

Take the next step in your creative practice, with foundation level to Masters in Fine Art study. 

Depending on your experience, start with an Online Foundation Certificate in Art and Design (one year, part-time), a Foundation Diploma in Art and Design made up of 10 short courses taken over two years (part-time) or advance your learning with our BA (Hons) Art and Contemporary Craft: Materials, Making, and Place (six years part-time). All will help you develop core skills, find direction in your practice and build an impressive portfolio in preparation for artist opportunities or higher-level study. See all degree and diploma courses.