I saw my friend Denise yesterday — she is fairy godmother of my Astro — and she had some goodies for me that she had picked up at tag sales and her local thrift shop. My favorite, for sure: A booklet containing 15 designs for rya rugs, dated December 1964, from the A.s. Sellgren @ Co. of Trondheim, Norway. Thank you, Denise! When I arrived back home, I jumped online to see what I could find out about rya rugs — since there is always a history to fascinate.
What I find most interesting about rya rugs — or at least, Wikipedia says so — is that they originally were designed as clothing, as a substitute for animal skins. Animal skins got stiff, the ryas did not. Ryas certainly look cozy. I also love Melinda’s instructions on how to clean a natural wool rya: by stomping it in the snow!
I think it is a safe guess that rya rugs became popular as decorative items — and as carpets — in mid-20th century America in conjunction with rise of Danish Modern and in general, all things Scandinavian. Apparently, their hegemony was derailed when women began making latch hook rugs. (Honestly, I need to research the differences…)
Melinda still has yarns that were created for her grandparents’ company. She sells them at her etsy shop here.
Tips to using the slide show above: Click on the first thumbnail… it will enlarge… move forward or back using the arrows below the image… you can stop, or start, at any image.
Back to my collection…Each of the 15 designs was printed then mounted to a hefty green stock paper (as shown above) printed with the name of the design. Total size of each piece is 7″x10″ and they are so graphically appealing that I am going to look for 15 matching frames and display them all together in a grid. For those of you looking for cheap, cheerful and unique artwork, this is always a fun idea to try. That is: Look for prints from a book or a display catalog like mine and group and frame them. There is something very pleasing about the repetition of prints illustrating one subject area, all in the same size, all in the same frame. Of course, “cheap” is only possible if you can find the frames in the quantity you require. Pier One might be one of the first-places I’d look first for, gasp, 15 frames! Michael’s, Wal-Mart, Target, and Dick Blick’s are other places I would look.