Rush

Soft Rush in March. Isle of Great Bernera  The rush used in Scottish baskets appears to be Juncus effuses, common names for this are Soft Rush, Field Rush and in Shetland, Floss. This rush grows and spreads readily in poorly drained fields.   It is hard to work when first cut. It is easier once dried and then made damp (from Liz Balfour).It was used in Orkney to make the twine for the coiled baskets and for the simmons for kishie making in ¬†Shetland. Julie Gurr did a course with Ewen Balfour in 2007. He said that the rushes were cut in the autumn and hung in the peat shed over the winter to dry. After a few months it was perfect for using, no need to damp it down. Rush was also used as the main core for coiled baskets. Rush can be plaited and then the plaits woven in¬†and out. Soft rush is very different to the bulrush Scirpus lacustris used in English baskets.