The raw material is the English green rush or Scirpus Cacustris from the fen country and the River Thames. The rushes, which can be up to ten feet in length, are harvested in late July or early August. Unlike cane, rush is worked damp and is continually twisted to a uniform using one, two or three strands together. All knots (tying one rush to the next) are made underneath the seat.
When first completed a rushed chair has a beautiful appearance with the rush showing many shades of colour ranging from the predominant green to yellow and brown. With time these colours fade to the fawn shade we usually associate with rush.
Rush chairs can appear deceptively simple to restore, however each rush varies in thickness and the rushes have to be woven together expertly to maintain a uniform, neatly woven appearance. There is an enormous difference between the finished product of an expert and even a craftsperson of moderate skill. The woven rush should be of uniform and also the pattern should be uniform with no gap in the centre of the seat and no sag.
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