Monday, August 3, 2009
a good day to wash rugs
Doublebinding rug, plastic and velvet, I wove over 15 years ago, a linen check repp runner from IKEA, and a wool rug woven by my mother, take the air.
Rug washing by the river in Oulu, Finland, 2005. The striped Finnish runner has been scrubbed and hung over the rail to drip for awhile.
Rug washers on the specially designated rug washing docks in the river in Oulu, Finland, 2005.
Woman scrubbing her rug with a long handled scrub brush.
This couple were washing rugs standing down in barrels. The square bar of soap is a special rug washing soap sold in many stores.
Today I'm washing and hanging my rugs out to dry. It's finally a good, warm wind, and the rugs surely need it. I'm also thinking how I might enjoy looking back at these pictures, when February rolls around again, and the snow is deep, and the thermometer is less generous.
In 2005, my mother, Irene Johnson, and I went on a train trip through Finland, visiting her family in the towns along the way. It was a wonderful adventure for the two of us, and we soon found that in every town there was a station set up for rug washing. I took the rug washing pictures shown here in Oulu.
It was an idyllic day, and the people washing the rugs were having a nice time. My mother asked the woman why she was standing down in that barrel (my mother speaks an approximation of Finnish remembered from her childhood in N. Minnesota) and the woman answered, "Well, so I don't fall in the river!"
It was like a rug show by the water, and we were amazed. In other towns we found rug washing stations by rivers, but they were connected to the town sanitary systems, since the Finns are very eco-conscious, and are phasing out the places where people wash rugs directly in the river.