Under your feet: The Contemporary Rug is a celebration of rugs designed in the British Isles.
Many moons ago (we’re talking mid 1990’s), I visited the Christopher Farr rug showroom in London as a rug weaving graduate, and whistfully tried to figure out how I could get from where I was, to being part of the contemporary rug scene. I’ll admit that getting sidetracked by a rather lovely career in costume for theatre and TV clearly wasn’t the most effective way to do it.
However, fast forward to 2019, and I’m over the moon to share that there’s a new exhibition at Ruthin Craft Centre, where my handwoven rugs will hang alongside eighteen of the countries leading rug designers, including artists for Christopher Farr.
Under Your Feet: The Contemporary Rug 6 April – 4 July 2019 Park Road, Ruthin. Denbighshire LL15 1BB
The exhibition is bringing together many of my idols from the world of floorcovering design (see list below), and I’m thrilled to be there too.
I’m also really proud to be representing the tiny portion of UK rug designers who make their own rugs, and I’m delighted to see British rug weaving given this platform.
I weave a limited number of rugs each year in my Bristol studio and accept commissions from lovers of colour who are looking for a bespoke piece of floor art for their interior. More on that here. My distinctive and intricate Krokbragd rugs combine contemporary patterns with an instinctive and daring approach to colour.
A few words from the curators; Jane Audas and Gregory Parsons.
Rugs defy definition. They might be craft, interior design, product design or textile art. A rug is a large presence within a room. It brings texture, colour, design and wit to an interior, where it will focus the eye and comfort the feet. Depending on the rug, it might pull together an overall interior aesthetic, or provide a significant visual exclamation point for an otherwise quiet room.
Some rugs are entirely made by designer makers. Sometimes design and production are separated out. This exhibition will showcase both types of rug; but for the latter the curators have chosen rugs whose ethical production methods are declared at source.
This exhibition is a timely reminder that underfoot, or on a wall, rugs remain as vibrant and relevant as any other craft medium. And we have chosen to use the word ‘rug’ (instead of ‘carpet’) as we feel it talks to craft production and the smaller domestic setting in a way that ‘carpet’ doesn’t.
Makers in the exhibition are: Lesley Barnes, Kate Blee for Christopher Farr, Claire Gaudion, Adam Higton, Irene Infantes for Christopher Farr, Tania Johnson, Andrew Ludick for Ceadogán Rugs, Ptolemy Mann Rugs, Mourne Textiles, Patricia Murphy for Ceadogán Rugs, Alan Oliver, Angie Parker, Eleanor Pritchard for CASE, Rachel Scott, Margo Selby, Helen Steele for Ceadogán Rugs, Gunta Stölzl by Christopher Farr, Collett Zarzycki for Christopher Farr and Helen Yardley.
The exhibition Under Your Feet: The Contemporary Rug runs from 6th April to 14th July 2019 at Ruthin Craft Centre, Park Road, Ruthin LL15 1BB, Wales. This exhibition will spread out before you a stunning selection of the best rugs by the best makers working today.
Every commission, by its very nature, is going to be different. And lets face it, that’s part of the reason you’re looking at commissioning and not buying ‘off the peg’ isn’t it? Luckily, it’s just an arrangement between myself and my clients, so we can keep it pretty simple.
Let me run though things to show you just how simple it can be.
The first step comes from you.
Whether you discover my passion for eye-popping handwoven colour in a contemporary Craft gallery or through the power of the internet, a short enquiry email from you starts the ball rolling. I’ll get back to you to arrange a phone conversation (or more email if you prefer) to establish your thoughts on design, size, colour and budget. I’m easy to chat to and enjoy having these conversations and at this stage, I’m very happy to send you yarn samples, a quote, a time frame and a simple sketch, with absolutely no obligation.
I’ve a huge selection of wool and yarns for furnishings in stock, but if I haven’t got the exact shade you require then I can ask my supplier to custom dye the wool to match an existing colour scheme.
Typical initial conversations have included these questions:
“Can you weave ‘that one’ but use orange instead of yellow?” Yes I can.
“Can you do one ‘like that’ but longer” Yes, I weave up to 1m width but length can be what ever you wish. I can also join 2 or more rugs to create wider one, but this does impact the price.
“Can you do me a round one?” Afraid not (at the moment), sorry )-: (but I can recommend someone who can!)
“Can I weave part of it?” Yeah sure. We can arrange this.
Sometimes, I’m able to visit clients in their homes with example rugs & samples to help work through the design options, though I can’t promise that this will always be possible. Photographs are the next best thing so I’ll probably ask you to send over a few shots of your home if you’d like guidance about colours and designs, and together we’ll go through my portfolio to find the styles that you’re drawn to.
When you’re ready to proceed, I’ll then draw you up a more detailed sketch and give you a clear time frame in return for 50% of the total price.
I can even weave a sample (30x30cm) for a small additional fee.
I then set about weaving your bespoke piece of floor art in my Bristol studio.
I can email photo’s to you if you’d like to see your rugs progress, or you might just choose to have a surprise when it’s complete.
Once off the loom I then finish the piece by hand and stitch on a discreet label before carefully packing.
Delivery is then arranged, usually with my favourite specialist art handlers, upon final payment.
If, for any reason you’re not entirely over the moon with your rug let me know right away. I always build up a good relationships with my clients, so they know they can contact me with any concerns, safe in the knowledge that I will do my utmost to rectify. (Disclaimer-I’ve not actually had an unhappy client yet, so I’m thinking on my feet with this one).
Finally, each commission is a special to me as I’ve been assured my rugs are to my customers. This really is a mutually beneficial way of doing things.
You get a bespoke, quality handcrafted piece of floor art which brings a burst of uplifting colour (or monochrome design) to your home. An expertly woven heirloom that lifts your spirits and brightens your day in the way that only handmade items do.
And me? Well, your investment means that I can continue to grow my business, fulfilling the dream I had at college over 20 years ago, and much more.
And you thought you were ‘just’ commissioning a rug!
If you like what you’ve read but aren’t ready to commission a piece, why not follow me on Instagram or Twitter so that you’d don’t have to worry about remembering my name in five years when you’re leaving work and your collegues want to get something special for you? Better still, sign up to my mailing list here.
*I’m working on a more comprehensive FAQ’s page which will be coming to my website soon.
Join us to celebrate 50 years of the shift dress. With Arts Council England funding, nine textile artists/designers, collectively known as Seam collective, are creatively exploring their craft to showcase contemporary textile design with nine shift dresses.
Visitors can take part by sending in a photograph of their favourite shift dress and make their own mark in the gallery by hand embroidering graffiti on our blank shift dress during the exhibition.
Seam artists taking part are: Anna Glasbrook, Desiree Goodall, Anna Gravelle, Joy Merron, Angie Parker, Linda Row, Tabitha Stewart, Penny Wheeler and Samon Yechi