Felicity Irons, founder of UK company Rush Matters (and sister of actor Jeremy Irons), has given new life to the ancient art of rush working. According to Irons, a recently appointed Yeoman of the Worshipful Company of Basketmakers, "Rush is a fantastic material; practical and durable but also beautiful. You get such fantastic colors—vibrant greens, dark browns, purples, pinks—and it's naturally aromatic." In her Bedford studio, Irons and her staff of artisans produce a variety of products, including hand-plaited floor matting, a welcome alternative to the usual sisal and sea-grass options. The company's floor matting is used by the Frick, at Winston Churchill's house at Chartwell, Kent, and at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which commissioned a giant floor mat for the Anglomania Exhibit. Recently, Irons began weaving herbs such as rosemary, lavender, and thyme into her freshwater bulrush floor matting to further enhance the aromatic qualities.
Above: Irons at work on the river.
Above: English Floor Rush Matting is made to measure; starting at £150 per square meter; binding is £22 per linear meter. They also do round rugs of custom sizes and Bath Mats for £65 (rush matting actually benefits from moisture). Rush Matters ships to the US.
Above: Rush Matters makes a variety of classic bulrush baskets; go to Rush Matters to view the range and for pricing.