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Mat making is a traditional craft that Woodhorn Matters are keen to preserve and promote in its home area, the North East of England. In Northumberland, England's northernmost county, mat-making goes back at least 150 years. It developed out of need, as mineworkers and farm workers etc. lived in homes where the floors were beaten earth or flagstones. There was no insulation or central heating, so rugs were highly valued as floor coverings and were even put on the bed in cold weather. Old sacks were a useful source of base material and old clothes were cut up and put to use. Mat making has therefore been associated in the past with poverty, but whilst being traditional, the craft has more recently become recognised as a creative and versatile art form using modern developments in materials and styles.

Woodhorn Matters is a group who meet together regularly, making the traditional proggy (or clippy) and hooky rugs and experimenting with a wide range of techniques, styles and materials. Although we meet as a group, learning from and encouraging each other, nearly all the work we do is as individuals. Our mats are designed from scratch to our own patterns, free drawn by ourselves from our own imagination or other inspiration. For our traditional mats we follow the old way of working on a hessian base, usually on a frame, and we use recycled textiles, some of which we dye to meet our needs for particular colours and textures. At other times we experiment with a wide range of materials. In addition to mat making we use the same techniques to produce wall hangings, cushions, seat covers, bags, Christmas decorations etc.






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