Recycling materials and allowing them to be useful for something else is not new, even if one might think so when studying modern society! On the contrary, it has followed the evolution of humanity throughout its existence – to save on the resources one had access to!
In the modern world, there is today an abundance of clothes, not too rarely of poor quality, which are only used a few times and then thrown away. In the past, most households had smaller closets, and the clothes were used long and well. Once worn out, they were collected and became rags. Until the second half of the 19th century, old and worn-out fabrics were also collected to manufacture rag paper.
When newer methods for making paper with wood pulp emerged, homes increasingly began to reuse worn fabrics for various forms of rugs. Especially in Sweden, a tradition was established to weave beautiful but very practical so-called ”trasmattor” rag rugs.
In the fascinating series of visual stories in Natural & Cultural History, presented in pictures and text from The IK Foundation’s creative world of interdisciplinary enterprises. The latest and just published visual story is the SWEDISH RAG RUGS – A History of Recycling Fabric from the 18th Century to Present-day. Like any visual story, it is a journey of deep knowledge meant to inspire and provide the reader with reflections.
PS: A new text will be published in the iTEXTILIS essay collection on the first of February. Interestingly, the winter months were called ”Dead months” by the English naturalist Gilbert White, who considered that indoor work such as spinning wool, weaving, and more could be performed during this season. The essay also connects White with Carl Linnaeus and the two of his Apostles, Daniel Solander and Fredrik Hasselquist.
The two articles described in this space are our contribution to lightening up the dark period in the northern hemisphere, which was so aptly called ”Dead months”!