In 2011 the Hoxa Tapestry Gallery introduced a new range of hand-crafted designer rugs. Our rugs are made from 100% Shetland wool, chosen for its quality and wonderful colour range. They made by Andrew (Leila’s son/Jo’s brother) on a custom-built 8ft x 10ft rug loom/frame which is situated in one of the studios at the gallery. Andrew creates the rugs from artwork by either Leila or Jo and makes them over the winter period when the gallery is closed as during the summer he is busy doing the gallery’s picturing framing!
First the base canvas is stretched as tight as possible across the loom, held tight by carpet grippers which are attached around the edge of the frame. Care must be taken to keep the weave of the canvas straight and plumb as any distortion will affect the design. Once stretched, the designs are projected and drawn onto the canvas. All the designs are reversed before projecting as they are all worked on from the back of the loom.
The tufting gun uses compressed air to fire the yarn through the canvas. Due to the weight of the gun a balancing rail is required to suspend it above the loom. The gun takes up to 6 strands of colour which can then be blended and graded in exactly the same manner as you would when making a handwoven tapestry, allowing for sophisticated colour gradation.
Once the rug tufting is completed latex glue is applied by roller to the reverse of the rug to secure the pile. The rug can then be cut from the loom for shearing and then carving/contouring by hand if desired. Lastly hessian backing is attached by latex and sewn by hand around the edges.