Traditional Rush Work in Ireland

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Rush has been used throughout history to make a variety of items.  Whether it be a sleeping mat, rope, or just a  common or uncommon basket, this material has lent itself to a variety of uses throughout many periods in locations in history.  This video, produced as part of the “Hands” series in Ireland in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s illustrates a variety of aspects of the local rush industry with a particularly rich emphasis on the gathering and preparation of the material to make it ready for handywork.  The material is gathered with traditional hand forged sickles in summer when the rush is bloom and then carted to nearby homes for storage in the lofts of the local residents.  The rush must be tended for several weeks before it is ready to be then used by the craftsmen.  In this video, the crafter is the talented basketmaker, Mrs. Brendan.

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