Rugs…Rugs…. Rugs with Yo! I Make Rugs

Words by: Matthew Spence:

Let’s take an MTV Cris tour through your home, shall we? What are we gonna see: Fine art like the Pulp Fiction poster, pictures of loved ones that you use for Christmas cards, furniture that looks decent enough, a bong with stickers on it on your dresser, a pile of dirty laundry in the corner that you said you’d get around to yesterday. A plethora of items that make for a golden setup, but, how do you go from Gold to Platinum? One word… Rugs yo. Well, that’s two but you get what I’m going for. I myself and Jeff `The Dude’ Lebowski think it should be a law to have at least one rug. Why? Well, there’s no scientific or intricate reason, they just tie a room together. Of course, being the pop culture and music connoisseur you may be, you don’t want just any ordinary rug, but, one that speaks for your personality, like a Pharrell rug or Drake rug or whatever scratches your itch.

One that feels crafted with affection and care like grandma’s homemade cookies. Carries tenderness that even in the deadly winter it’s still warmful. Well look no further, allow me to connect you to Yo! I Make Rugs.

Meet, Quinn…..they make cool rugs. Based out in Canada (Vancouver that is), they’re the creative brains behind the business and Instagram Page “Yo! I Make Rugs” where they craft handmade special rugs that soothe the eyes of fans of culture. The page is to highlight and the website is to sell [essentially]. Balancing out big passion projects and commissions, they’ve managed to soon see themselves with a loyal and patient fanbase of over 17k followers and have a few moments of the spotlight when they were recognized by community pages like (the GOATED) Aplasticplant and by Tyler, the Creator himself (but we’ll get there) due to their (rightfully so) viral recreation rug of Tylers “Wolf” alternate album cover.

March 20th would’ve been an ordinary Monday that Garfield would hate but for me, I got to talk to Quinn for so long that by the hour and 30 min mark, it basically became a fucking podcast. In fact, it was so fun, it didn’t occur until the very end of our convo, that’d I need to watch all of the 2 hours and 20 minutes for notes and have a haywire experience of having to listen to my annoying ass voice for that long. Yet, it was worth it G.

Much like the opening of Trainspotting, right out the gate, everything felt like it was gonna be dynamic, which let the future tell it…..Yes. I couldn’t help but notice Quinn is wearing a red hoodie that says: “Many have sight, few have vision” which is the perfect introduction to Quinn as being a visionary of some sort has always been a part of their DNA. Crafting long before rugs came into play, other forms of art were in their upbringing in some shape and form. “I’ve always been creatively expressing somehow. I used to make these little comics and my sister and I would come up with these weird art projects”. Weird is one way to word but I call it: Dope. As they used to make fake GameBoys, fake GameBoys cartridges out of cardboard, and PS2 discs out of paper (GTA if you wanted to know the exact game they were going for). “Always bootlegging things” but in the most artistic way. They even had an inventions journal where they constantly wrote down ideas to pitch to Shark Tank when they were a kid…..like really. One of them was a bit ahead  of the curve in retrospect: “Virtual reality sphere that people could buy for gaming” they continued “It was this like Hexagonal thing that you walk up a ramp and go into and there are these digital panels” on some Tron shit as we both pointed out. “It probably exists today so I was ahead of the curve”

Photo: @yomimakerugs

But, it wasn’t all quirky transformative outputs in that vein, as they drew often as well, but painting was out of the picture as for Quinn: “it’s unforgiving”.
Rugs weren’t really a part of the plan, but life happens. Twists and turns happen sometimes, you just have to roll with it and hope for the best. It started in 2020, the pandemic, etc blah, unless you’re 3 years old or younger, you know what the fuck happened. Like others, Quinn was having a confusing and daunting year. Let them tell you: “Late 2020, and I was just going through a lot. Between the pandemic, graduation (high school), all of the lockdown, and some personal stuff, it was just a lot going on, especially since I didn’t have the regular structure. I just felt like I was just floating around”. Yet, unknowingly, one faithful day on Twitter would change their life… in a good way. “Someone on Twitter, who I saw made this Pharrell Williams rug. I’ve never seen anyone make a rug before and it seemed like the coolest to not only make a piece of art but also serves, kind of a purpose”

It sparked inspo, but, it wasn’t simple getting their foot in the door when it came to first starting out: “I started off looking across the internet but there wasn’t any resources” Compared to now, there wasn’t dick when it came to info on making rugs, so with that in mind naturally it’d dissuade someone and force them to move on, but Quinn opted not to. Simply put, they said fuck it, and decided to buy the tools and didn’t care about the result of making the most phenomenal rug. They just went for it and after a few weeks of work, on November 22, 2020, we saw their first rug ever posted on IG. The “Teach Peace” rug. With this, it sparked a “lightbulb over the head” moment. “It was this subtle moment of realizing ‘oh there’s so many designs and so much I could do with this”. The ball of yarn kept rolling you could say.

Photo by: Quinn

With their first endeavors coming out well, it would cause a positive ripple effect of drive, passion, and care which would result in their signature style of rug making. Handmade with punch needles and yarn. Speaking on that preference in terms of crafting: “Subconsciously when I got started, I knew if I was gonna make this bigger than me just making rugs in my bedroom, I wanted to be the best at it. I wanna be the most detailed person”. Further explaining: “Well, I genuinely like what I make and I want it to last. The idea of me making a rug, and how much that goes into making it, and then 2 years from now it looks like shit, then it’s like what was the point [as we both laugh]. It’s a sad idea to me and so I want my rugs to last a lifetime, especially since I’m making more intricate ones that could be hung on a wall”.

No shade to those who use acrylic and guns by the way: “I’m not trying to forge this war between manual and automatic rugmakers”. Despite others’ beliefs from a video they made explaining why they prefer their style versus the common causing some backlash in the comments. To summarize…. motherfuckers were mad. It’s all love and respect from Quinn though.

On the surface level for some people, it may be just rugs, but to others, it’s another form of art. The pieces can go beyond just being on the floor as you watch HBO, but something you can hang on your wall and look at as an art piece. They’re all for that. Hence why they never recreate past work for commissions because, at the end of the day, it’s the longevity and genuineness of creating new work that makes them special. Plus, weeks and months of work to replicate the same rug over and over again would be taxing, wouldn’t it? Yet, that’s not on the list of challenges for Quinn. While the product is neat, the process doesn’t go without ups and down.

It’s not all smiles and hallmark cards for any creative. Quinn explains how it’s not the physical aspect that isn’t the most challenging but it’s the mental aspect: “I always have a moment where I grapple with ‘are they gonna like it, is it worth the money they paid for, I could’ve done this better, etc’. I really tear myself to shreds”. They continue by saying: “The most challenging part is getting to the finish line mentally to where like: ‘ok I did the best I could, they paid for it, they trust me, I trust myself, here’s your rug”. Overall, rug making has pros and cons for Quinn. It’s “therapeutic and taxing” at the same time. The therapy of sharing their work and engaging with positive comments. Yet, the demand for commissions can get overwhelming. However, At the end of the day, it boils down to this for them: “People like rugs, people like what I’m doing, I like what I’m doing. It’s a nice intersection of art and this childhood dream of running a company/business”.

Now some would suggest listening to music during their process to ease their mind. Welp….no, that’s too cliche. They listen to podcasts because time goes by faster when you listen to people pissing in the wind with conversation. While others are worried about their playlist, you may wonder what’s the hardest rug they’ve made. That title goes to the “Wolf” rug (Ironically their fav album is IGOR). Quinns’ prized possession, something they’d hang in a museum.

Photo by: Quinn

Levels of details, texture, a shit ton of yarn, and 3 months of work would result in a moment they’d forever appreciate it. As their post would soon see traction and eventually be seen by many including aplasticplant and Tyler, the Creator himself by liking and commenting on the post “great!”. Some may find that minimal, fine, but also shut the hell up. Quinn tells the day like a movie:

“I was in my hostel room in Montreal, I believe I just got back from getting food. I’m lying on my bunkbed and checking my phone and I started seeing people commenting “W” and I’m like WTF is happening now? And I scroll through my notification and sure enough I see Tylers’ like and comment. I truly can’t describe the wave my body went through. My hands were tingling, my heart was thudding but I was in a room with strangers so I had subdued my reaction but I kept making sure it was real”. The story continues “Once I figured out it was real, I went out in Montreal and rented a bike, put on my headphones, and listened to IGOR in full and started biking out my adrenaline at 8 pm. After I was done and the adrenaline was gone, I sat on this porch and cried a little”. It was very A24 of me”.

To make an understatement, it was a special day. Yet, it was this moment that shaped Quinns’ direction of sort. It feels like they are getting closer to Tyler in some manifestation work. Hell, earlier in the convo they pointed out: “You attract what you put out, even if you’re putting out things no one is seeing.” Never know who’s watching to quote Mac Miller: “It is what is until it ain’t”. At any moment things could change for the better.

From listening to Tyler in middle school and high school to having their work acknowledged by him. In between that was their Camp Flog Gnaw experiences. Fun Fact. Quinn was there the year they booed Drake. [This shit is long enough. So read the Story here]

Even riding high after the Tyler moment, virality isn’t on Quinns’ to-do list. If it happens, it happens, but they’re not orchestrating schemes like Ursula and Kronk on rugs and ideas that’d go viral. Even then, that’s not an easy game to play as they’ve battled that urge of trying to get likes: “IG is an incredibly hard platform to please and I consider myself an artist before business, but there’s this horrible relationship between the two. As an artist, you need as many eyes on you as possible and as a business, you need to manage yourself in a way that’s effective but what is deemed as effective today could be completely ineffective tomorrow.”. Adding by saying: “Social Media is like gambling”.

Leading with an organic mindset, they’re not looking to expand into some cooperation with a shit ton of workers doing their job for them. Instead, hoping to keep the same regime. As the road, they’ve been on has been fulfilling. Now, working on a “Blonde” rug, Quinn is wanting to focus more on big projects in the same vein. In a new era, Yo! I Make Rugs will develop into something bigger, but just like some of the artists they’ve made rugs of: Tyler, Ye West, and MF DOOM, they’re looking to do it on their own terms. “I’d want to be somebody that every 4 months comes up with this really crazy rug that blows your mind then disappears for a while again”.

Photo: @yoimakerugs
Photo: @yoimakerugs

While we wrap up our extended convo, it was a balance of insightfulness and fun. After everything from mental health, burnout [it sucks ass], and fav albums [DAMN by Kendrick Lamar, and Swimming by Mac Miller are some of their favorites], to other stuff, we walked away with two important notes: Creating is fun and Self Control by Frank Ocean is hard to play on guitar….like seriously.

 

 

 

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