Wynne Mattila grew up in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan where rag rugs, woven by women of Finnish heritage, covered hardwood floors. Her mother, while not a
weaver was an avid rag rug collector. Each rug in their home was created by a weaver with a talent for design. Wynne knew some day she would weave her own rugs.
Wynne wove her first rug in 1985 at the Weavers Guild of Minnesota and before it was finished, she knew she was a rug weaver for life. Wynne’s goal is always
to use color to its full potential to create a beautiful rug.
“I weave in what I call the “Finnish-Style” with new brightly-colored cotton fabric strips cut one-inch wide on 15-ply Finnish cotton warp sett at 5 ends per
inch. I work with fabrics designed for quilters. My specialty is color blending using the alternating 3-shuttle technique. The off-white warp I use becomes a blank canvas on which I
am able to paint with colored fabrics—the design of the rug is created solely by the arrangement of the weft strips. I love this visual process in which each shot of fabric plays a part in the
Wynne has been teaching rug weaving for more than 20 years, focusing on good rug weaving techniques and the creative use of color. Wynne is writing a book,
“Warming the Room with Color—Weaving Finnish-Style Cotton Rugs,” in which she shares her passion for rugs and describes her artistic and weaving processes.
Click on the photos for a larger image.
68 inches by 29 inches
Plain weave. Woven with an alternating 3-shuttle technique.
15-ply Finnish cotton seine twine warp sett at 5 ends per inch. 19 cotton fabrics cut into 1-inch wide strips for weft.
Photo credit: Petronella Ytsma
My rug was inspired by the beautiful coral charm peony in my garden. I wanted to capture the color changes that occur as the peony blooms. The bud of the
peony is a vivid coral color. As the flower opens the color changes each day. Bright coral changes to a medium coral, which becomes a softer pink coral and finally the palest creamy-white
tinged with the slightest blush of pink.
Even though I wove this rug in 2007, it is still one of my favorite rugs. At the time, it was a breakthrough in my weaving because I used such a broad range of
values so spontaneously. For the first four inches I wove with safe medium-valued coral pink fabrics. Then within an inch and one-half I added two shots of green complementary highlight,
three shots of white, and one shot of deep cranberry—not knowing how I was going to make it all work—I took a risk.
I learned to use contrasts in value and color to hint at what was to come. In “Coral Charm” these first shots of white and cranberry begin the transition into
the upcoming lighter and darker sections of my rug. I also learned to accept being uncomfortable with that last shot of contrasting fabric, to continue weaving, and to add more of what
originally seemed risky. I discovered the fun and challenge of spontaneous weaving!
44 inches by 27 inches
Plain weave. Woven with an alternating 3-shuttle technique. Discontinuous weft.
15-ply Finnish cotton seine twine warp sett at 5 ends per inch. 24 cotton fabrics cut into 1-inch wide strips for weft.
Photo credit: Petronella Ytsma
My rug was inspired by the radiant colors of Wolf Kahn’s paintings of landscapes and the rug I wove prior to this one—it was a commission, so I had to let it go when
finished. I wove “Red Landscape” with those same fabrics, and more—it was my way of keeping a bit of it for myself. I designed this rug directly and spontaneously at my loom. I
painted with fabric as I played with color.