Old skill taken up by young artists

Jane Jackson shows how it's done to, from left, Lauren Rathbone,  Erin Mallaburn, Ashley Gair and Danci Baring.
Jane Jackson shows how it's done to, from left, Lauren Rathbone, Erin Mallaburn, Ashley Gair and Danci Baring.
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Students have been learning about the traditional craft of rag-rugging and will be showcasing their new skills at this year’s Alnmouth Arts Festival.

As part of its aims to foster interest and participation in the arts in the local community, the Festival is funding Jane Jackson and her colleague, Margaret Kenny, to run a series of workshops at the Duchess’s Community High School in Alnwick.

Ashley Gair and Danci Baring showing they've soon picked it up.

Ashley Gair and Danci Baring showing they've soon picked it up.

Readers may recall that Jane won the competition organised in conjunction with the Gazette to find the image for the posters and other publicity material for the 2013 Alnmouth Arts Festival.

The Rock-based textile artist won over the judges with her layered collage made from Harris Tweed and wool yarn.

She then used the competition win as the push she needed to finally take the plunge and become a professional artist.

Jane said: “It’s really great to have been given this opportunity to work with the pupils of the Duchess’s Community High School and to pass on the craft of rag-rugging to a new generation.

“It will also be very interesting to see how these young artists use this very traditional medium to express their feelings about Living in Northumberland, which is the title of their project.”

Eighteen Year 9 students are taking part in the workshops and art teacher Richard Hay said: “It means a great deal to us to be able to bring such excellent artists like Jane and Margaret in to work with our students.

“We’re very proud of the fantastic standard of work our students produce day in, day out and the effort and care they take with it.

“It’s great that, in collaboration with the Alnmouth Arts Festival, we’re able to give our students the platform to showcase their art and the chance to develop their skills with people making a living from it, while having an experience we hope they’ll remember for a very long time.”

Visitors will be able to see the students’ work in St John the Baptist Church in Alnmouth during the festival, which takes place on Saturday and Sunday, June 21 and 22, from 10am until 5pm.

For more information, visit the Arts Festival website.

Admission to the festival, now in its 10th year, is free. The Trail Guide costs £1 and gives full details of all the exhibitors and where they can be found – all within walking distance of each other.

Exhibitors include paint artists, photographers, craftworkers in glass, textiles, woodand jewellery makers, many demonstrating their crafts and this year there will be 84 exhibitors in 25 venues. With some exhibitors being clubs with numerous members, it means that the work of more than 120 people is on display.

The vast majority of exhibitors come from ‘twixt Tyne and Tweed’, but there are some from outside the region who perhaps were brought up in the area and/or have family connections here.