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Building Mountains: an artwork for ‘Joey’s Cafe’

Rope is more than a tool. It travels with us, we lug it up to the mountain and we trust it (and belayer) with our lives. Part of the loved kit for climbing, part of the checklist. The climbing rope we get through the doors at Dirtbags HQ is retired and sent to us for lots of different reasons. Becoming frayed after lots of use, too long unused, renewed as part of an activity centre’s/climbing wall’s safety check. Rope needs to be new, and safe.

Joe Beaumont contacted us after retiring a rope that meant a lot to him. Understandably, handing over something for someone to chop up and sew was a hard choice. A 40m fall onto this rope had marked the beginning of a long road of recovery and rehabilitation for him, it had become a symbol and reminder of Joe’s journey and his incredible achievements since the accident. He wanted a commissioned piece to grace the walls of the new chapter in his professional life; a good old bricks and mortar cafe.

Learn a little about Joe’s climbing rehabilitation from his award winning film, Little Chamonix…

Joe utterly embodies his ethos ‘healing through happiness’ and we were delighted and touched he had come to Dirtbags to create something special.

The wood was taken from reclaimed scrap pallets. James sawed, sanded, measured and laid the pieces onto a plywood base. The same for the mountain tops, which were then covered with a lime wax for a white sheen.

The rope was washed (well!), cored, then stitched together to form a sheet of ‘fabric’ to use. We cut the fabric to match the shape of the sky and mountain tops, then affixed the pieces. With small triangles of hardwood for the trees and a handmade teeny tiny washer and wire bike, we placed them alongside the blue rope lake in the bottom left of the picture. James carefully made a frame to tie it all together.

Rather than becoming a rug to, in time, wear out, the mountains of rope will stand pride of place serving as a reminder of how fragile life can be, and how to live and enjoy every moment we have.

Photo: Chelsea Clarkson
Photo: Chelsea Clarkson

Want to visit the new Cafe? Check for updates and opening times here

Joey’s Café – Castle Mills – Aynam Rd – Kendal – LA9 7DE

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Recycled climbing rope rug.

‘Hey, cool rug, how’d you make it?’

This was a lovely commissioned piece and I really wanted to keep it, alas it is making itself cosy in front of the fire in its new home. the spec was for the rug to be reversible so if any embers escape and land it can be flipped over.

After washing – we chose the colours of rope and cut to length, then pulled the nylon core from the middle. This means the sheath can be flattened.

Pressed lengths are stitched together using a strong thread.

The sections are laid out and measured, put in a pretty pattern, and straightened out.

With all the pieces stitched together, we measured the correct dimensions (minus 8mm for the rope edging around the outside) and marked out. The rough edges were melted off using a soldering iron/ pyro pen. One final, long outer strand of rope was stitched around the edge to hide rough edges and give a nice border.

Recycled rope rug – done!
Testing it out before packing away to new owner.

We liked it so much, we have another in the project box due to be listed on the website soon.

Would you like a custom rug made, either from your own rope – or select colours of ours? Contact us.