Pavle and Maja are the couple behind the Rush Stuff – objects made from rush. The braiding craft was mastered two generations earlier, when Pavle’s grandfather initially produced rush-soled slippers, and Pavle’s father and uncles practiced the craft as a means of supporting their studies. Today, Rush Stuff produces different objects from rush including shoes, bags, and furniture. They harvest the plant, braid the material, and make the objects – based on traditional knowledge and craft and with a contemporary design approach.
Products made from rush are ecological and exceptionally durable and resistant. However, due to the market demand Rush Stuff started producing outdoor slippers which needed additionally reinforced soles, which led to the introduction of extra rubber soles for the slippers. Alongside rush braiding, Rush Stuff performs restoration of braided elements of furniture, mainly in the technique of rope braiding.
Rush Stuff is a family-owned business, led by Pavle Nećakov and Maja Đurović. They braid rush and produce different objects based on the braided rush as a material. The craft of braiding has been in Pavle’s family for three generations, and he learned the craft alongside his father and uncles. Their staple products are indoor and outdoor slippers with rush-braided soles, which due to the material’s characteristics adjust to the shape of the foot and at the same time perform acupuncture massage.
The current workshop was inherited from Pavle’s father, and it is located within the family home. Today, it houses workstations for each segment of the production process – from braiding, sewing, shoe moulding, to the storing of the made objects. In the space of approx. 30 m2 rush is dried, braided, and sewn with self-adjusted tools. The space is airy and well lit, and thus accommodating for the precise work that is demanded. In the workshop, the previous generation of craftspeople left their mark, and continuity can be traced in its every corner.
Rush Stuff restore braided elements of furniture using mainly the technique of paper rope braiding.
The central position of the space is given to the round sewing station, which can be rotated and therefore accessed more easily. This round station is just one of several adjusted tools used by the Rush Stuff duo. Within the same space both the material and the objects are produced by the same hands of the craftspeople.
The dried rush is braided by knotting one side of the future braid to the wall or a table, while the free side is braided in one, two, three, or four thread braids.
When the sufficient length of the braid is achieved, it is sewn together into the shape of the commissioned object.
Depending on the objects produced, different workstations are used. When producing slippers, Pavle and Maja today use proper shoemaking size moulds, adjusted to working with rush.
The rush braid is folded around the mould and held on its sides while being sewn with adjusted needles and hammer. On the other hand, when producing baskets the round sewing station is rotated, which makes it easier to achieve the order of sewing from the narrow to the wide side of the braid, always starting and finishing with the narrow end.
Over time, they experimented with adding other materials to the upper segment of the slippers and with making higher wedges.
Through trial and error, they developed an entire range of slippers made with rush, wool, or leather upper section.
They restore old objects and produce new ones, as working with braided rush allows for objects to be repaired and equally usable afterwards. What makes their venture towards furniture making a bit more complicated is the need for finding a trustworthy and capable carpenter who would produce wooden elements. That is why most of the furniture, if more complex in its wooden structure, is currently made strictly on commission.