Under Your Feet. Ruthin Craft Centre 6 April-14 July

Under your feet: The Contemporary Rug is a celebration of rugs designed in the British Isles.

WAVE rug by Angie Parker. Photo: Article Studio

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.

Angie Parker at the loom. Photo: Jo Hounsome Photography
WAVE rug on the loom in Angie’s Bristol Studio.

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.

Angie Parker. Fryktlos. Photo: Yeshen Venema


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.

Helen Yardley. Force

Kate Blee Cast (for Christopher Farr)

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.

Margo Selby. Logan

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.

New WAVE Rug from Angie Parker Textiles

 The WAVE rug from Angie Parker Textiles 

For lovers of colour, textiles and quality British Craft.

IMAGE: Article Studio

Handwoven in my Bristol studio, this exclusive piece of contemporary craft brings a dash of colour and warmth to modern and traditional interiors.

This bespoke Krokbragd rug is heading to Decorex International 6-9 October 2019.

The exclusive design is also custom made to order, so clients can adapt the colours to fit in with their interior, or pick a combination to inspire a room make-over. The one in the photo measures 1mx1.6m

Does ‘Living Coral’ the Pantone Colour of the Year inspire you?

To help with decision making I post yarn samples and sketch up designs until everyone is happy that we’ve created the perfect rug. 

About the weaving….

I trained in rug weaving almost 25 years ago and specialised in Krokbragd; a traditional Scandinavian technique.

Photography:Kasia Fiszer Homes & Antiques Magazine

To create the distinctive patterns of Krokbragd (pronounced Kruuk-bra-g-ed), I pass the shuttle three times to create each solid row of colour. It’s a slow technique, but the finish is exquisite, durable and long lasting. With proper care, these rugs will last a lifetime.

The rug is woven using a specific linen for the warp, and Axminster rug wool (80% wool/20% nylon) for the weft. The nylon blend offers resistance to stains and moths, and you care for the rug in a similar way to a quality carpet. Of course, you might choose to hang it on the wall using an easy to fix baton.

Knowing the maker of your rug gives you 100% reassurance that your investment was created ethically.

You can judge the quality of a handwoven rug by the neatness of the selvedge. (I’ll just leave this here)

 I’ve created a straightforward process for commissioning my bespoke rugs, to keep the production time realistic, and only charge what you would expect to pay any skilled worker.

I have a limited amount of time scheduled to weave these rugs in 2019, and the order book is now open.
Drop me a line for prices, current lead times, any additional questions and to reserve your slot on my loom.

Fryklos (Fearless) #2 A Self Fulfilling Prophecy?

Have you ever wondered if makers have favourite creations in their portfolios?

Whilst I can’t answer for anyone else, the answer for me is yes!

It might change from time to time, but right now my absolute favourite is also the rug I’m most proud of. Fryklos.

PHOTO: YESHEN VENEMA

PHOTO: YESHAN VENEMA

Fryktlos (Fearless)/#2/Cream was handwoven in my Bristol Studio in the summer of 2016, in preparation for Decorex International. It’s partner, (Fryklos #1/Grey) now resides in a luxury apartment near Salfords Media City, and a huge part of me is really happy to still have this rug in my life. (Yeah, pretty poor business skills there, I agree!)

So, what makes this rug stand out from all the other things I’ve woven at this point in my life?

Firstly, it’s symbolic name. I frequently use a Scandinavian rug weaving technique called Krokbragd, so I translated the names of this entire collection into Norwegian. (They were originally created for the colourCoded exhibition at Devon Guild of Craftsmen and I added cream version later the same year).

Having a piece named fearless is proving to be a self fulfilling prophecy for my practice generally. I’m certainly taking braver steps that I would’ve imagined a few years ago.

PHOTO: YESHEN VENEMA

 

PHOTO: YESHEN VENEMA

The main reason for my pride in this rug, however, is in what it accomplished technically. As anyone who weaves Krokbragd will tell you, the underside edges can often look less than satisfactory. It’s just one of the drawbacks of creating such and mixture of colour and pattern on the right side, and you basically have to accept it. With the patterns and shuttle sequencing for this piece however, I really got the edging I’d been trying to achieve for ages.

 

PHOTO:AP

 

Also, a sure sign of a good quality handwoven rug is the straightness and neatness of the selvedge. (Ok, smug selvedge photo alert, but after years of practice plus some expert guidance I’m allowing myself to feel pleased with these edges).

 

PHOTO:AP

 

Reflecting on this rug has me thinking about the attachment a maker has with the work they’ve often invested hours, weeks and sometimes months in, and the mixed bag of emotions involved in marketing and selling them-Another reason why our small businesses are so very different to typical commercial ventures and why buying hand crafted is much more than buying the end product.

Experience has taught me that at this stage I can’t predict how long it will take to sell a handwoven rug like this.

Photo: The Forge

 

Some take 2 weeks, some 2 months and others 2 years. What I can predict, however, is the mixed feeling I’ll have when this one leaves *home*. (Though I’m sure delight will supersede mourning!)

 

Photo: The Forge

 

This rug will be one of the items for sale on my new on-line shop at www.angieparkertextiles.com – Coming soon.

Launch date to be announced in next newsletter. Sign up below to be the first to know.

Tis the season to….

…discover rather a lot of campaigns asking you to support local independent shops and creative small businesses!

Question is, do they make a difference to sales in the UK Craft industry?

I happen to think they do. Every single reminder that there is an alternative to buying the mass produced ‘land fill’ on offer at this time of year (and all year) has to be a good thing.

However, I also agree with The Design Trusts Patricia Van den Akker, in her recent post, that campaigns such as Small Business Saturday, #Just a Card, and most recently Not On The High Street Founder, Holly Tuckers #campaignshopsmall, only go so far in making a real difference….so much still has to be done to make the message effective.

My business isn’t particularly seasonal so the normal festive rules don’t apply, (I only make and sell between 10-12 of my original handwoven pieces of floor art each year), but I’m fully aware of the responsibility I have as a maker to tell my customers why I’m worth investing in.

So, here are just 3 reasons to buy handmade and local from smaller businesses this Christmas (and all year!)

  • Firstly, for every £1 spent on a small business 68p stays in the local economy*. I often retort at Contemporary Craft shows I’m participating in, that every sale of one of my niche handwoven rugs directly benefits at least 4 Craft makers as there are always at least 3 other pieces I can’t bear to leave behind at shows if I have any spending power!

A few of the treasures I’ve picked up from fellow makers. L-R ERADU Ceramics, Abigail North Ceramics and Jen Orm Ceramics. (Yeah, ceramic jugs are my weakness and I’d rather have these in my home than the takeaway meals didn’t have in order to be able to buy them!-)

  • Secondly, you are absolutely making a difference to a business. They run on tight margins and every single sale counts. I often see on social media that when you buy from an independent Craft business, a maker does a ‘happy dance’. Sod that! I’m not too proud to say that every sale I achieve generally results in a full on Salsa with a few par terres thrown in for good measure. Yes, they make me very happy!

Each sale means my business is growing and will carry on. Each sale means I get paid for the years I’ve invested in building up my practice and developing my original style. And each one means my daughters get to see their Mum succeeding in the job she loves, which is hopefully inspiring them to follow their dreams.

I’m thankful to have exceeded my targets for the first time this year, and if any of my customers are reading, you already know how much I value your investment. Thank you.

What you might not know if that this has enabled me to take my business up a gear. I’ve recently outsourced one of my designs to be handwoven oversea’s which means I can reach out to new customers with a limited edition rug.

Not too long ago I felt daunted by this idea and yet here I am, preparing to launch this new product, all because enough of you really wanted to brighten your home with a burst of my handwoven colour.

Has there ever been a finer example of a mutually beneficial relationship between that or a Craft maker and a customer?

Photo: AP

Prang – Detail
Photo: Yeshen Venema

A few of the pieces that have flown the nest this year. Photo: The Forge

  • Thirdly, you’re buying so much more than just the product. When I can, I buy handmade from makers I know because I totally value the skill and passion that goes into each piece.

I love the small arrangements of craft in our home and the beauty they bring to that part of our often chaotic house and I love getting similar feedback from the people who’ve bought my work.

Whilst the core of my business is niche handwoven rugs, they are also so much more than rugs. They’re 20+ years of weaving for the love of it with designs that just fizz out from me! They’re partly a legacy to my late tutor, Susan Foster, who taught me to weave rugs. And most importantly they’re statements that bring uplifting bursts of colour to your living space and give your home the unique and original style you’ve been looking for.

To sum up, buying from makers is the ultimate way to make these campaigns make a difference, but there are, however, other ways you can help. Talk to one person today about the things I’ve mentioned in this blog post and maybe share a few of the posts about buying local on social media.

Also you can keep up to date with your favourite indie businesses by signing up to their newsletters. I’m pretty sure most of us don’t have the time to send as many as the corporates and it’s useful to be in the know about new designs and special offers etc. My newsletter subscribers will be getting a very special loyalty early bird offer on my new limited edition rugs when they go on sale soon. You can sign up below if this might be of interest. (Almost made it though without mentioning a #BlackFridayesque deal eh?)

Finally,(really) huge thanks to those who work tirelessly and voluntarily to support UK makers through their campaigns.

Thanks for reading.

*Joanne o Connell. The Guardian 2013.