Louisa Lewis


Rag rug show in Japan
Barakura English Garden (Japan)
10 - 13 October 2003

In October, Lewis and I took part in a Harvest Festival, held in an English garden 250 miles west of Tokyo, in the hills where the climate is similar to ours. We were looking forward to such a completely unknown experience, and wondered how our rag rugs would be received, whether anybody would know about hooking or prodding, whether we would be able to communicate with the people, which rugs to take, etc. etc.

Rag rugs display in JapanWe sent 21 wall hangings, occupying a large space in a marquee. We took up positions at each end of the exhibition and began to demonstrate. As we were the only craftspeople, we attracted many passers-by who gathered round to watch us work. The Japanese people appear to be very craft-orientated, and also keen on recycling, so we were onto a winner. We sold out of hooks the first day, and after that gave them an address where they could order them.

At first sales were extremely slow, and although that wasn't the main point in either our view or that of Barakura English Garden, the purchasing of rugs, tea cosies, cat mats, cards and books gathered momentum throughout the four-day event.

The staff at the Garden, whether English or Japanese, were extremely welcoming, friendly and helpful. We didn't have to handle the sales, and there was always someone on hand to translate for us when necessary, but we learned the Japanese for "recycled", "hook" and "hessian" we were well away!

Louisa and Lewis at the exibition in JapanI think rag-rug-hooking has begun in Japan because I have seen one or two reproduced in Rug Hooking Magazine, but certainly no-one we met had ever heard of such a craft, and now they have, so who knows if there might be repercussions from our visit...



For more information about the Barakura English Garden,
please visit www.e-garden.ne.jp





Louisa Creed
York, UK, 2001-2018