Brian Whittle visits Turnberry Rug Works

Brian Whittle MSP observes the hand-tufting process, demonstrated by Production Manager Gerry Shaw.
Brian Whittle MSP observes the hand-tufting process, demonstrated by Production Manager Gerry Shaw.

Local MSP Brian Whittle has been learning about traditional rug making skills during a visit to Turnberry Rug Works.

Since 1991, the company have been using a technique known as hand tufting to produce unique, hand-crafted rugs that have been sold all over the world, from British Embassies and the Vatican to the Big Brother House!

From their factory near Dowhill Farm on the A77, the company manufactures bespoke rugs to almost any size, shape or design that a customer can imagine, using different yarns to produce a wide range of textures and finishes.

The rugs are made on a canvass backing material stretched across a vertical frame, using a projector, the team then spend hours tracing every detail of the design onto the canvass before using the hand tufting process to push the yarn through the canvass using compressed air. Once the design is complete, a second backing canvass is glued on to lock the yarn in place. After that, the rug comes off the frame, the pile is cut to the desired height, and any carved designs are added. Then the rug is edged and trimmed before being given a final quality inspection.

During his visit, Brian met with Director John Mckerchar, who showed him round the factory and explained the manufacturing process before Production Manager Gerry Shaw demonstrated the hand-tufting technique to the South Scotland MSP.

Brian Whittle said: “It was really interesting to visit Turnberry Rug Works and learn about the process of rug making. There’s a real craft to producing a hand-tufted rug and no margin for error when it’s being made. It was a pleasure to meet, John, Gerry and the team and discover another great Ayrshire business making a unique product that’s in demand around the world.”

John McKerchar from Turnberry Rug Works said: “It was a pleasure to have our local MSP visit the factory and get an insight into what we do. Although Brian seemed to be less interested in the rug we had just made for the First Minister’s office at Holyrood, he took on board our real concerns on the implications of a no deal Brexit.”