Recycled material resembles folk rag artBy

Recycled material resembles folk rag art

Working bits and pieces of wool and cotton scraps into rugs and other utilitarian objects was a popular 19th century American folk art. Most persons are familiar with such work generally called hooked rugs, but the work can also take form other than rugs.

Some new products made of recycled newspapers and magazines are eerily similar in general appearance to the vintage rag products. We found the recyled material shaped into not only rugs and mats but urns, baskets, bags, dishes and small pieces of furniture.

The surface of the recyled products have a soft, ragged, multicolored texture similar to vintage rag pieces. Designs of some new pieces appear to be direct copies, or at least inspired by, early vintage patterns.

Recyled paper is first rolled into strips then woven. It is fastened on textile backings or frames depending on final shape and purpose. Pieces for exterior use are then dipped or sprayed with an clear acrylic sealer. The pieces are being made in the Philippines.


Fig. 1 Repeating squares pattern in new rug is similar to 19th century patterns in Fig. 2.


Fig. 2 Original 19th century rag art rug in repeating squares pattern.


Fig. 3 This new table is one of the pieces of small furniture made from the recycled material. The multicolored ragged surface is very similar in appearance to vintage rag art.