According to a recent Wall Street Journal article, “painterly rugs” are one of the top five interior design trends of 2015. Although there have been past attempts to create durable hand-woven carpets whose designs are based on recognizable works of art and paintings, only recently have artisan weavers in Rajasthan, India and Kathmandu, Nepal been able to achieve this effect, with impressive results. The success of these few innovative productions has given rise to this exciting new trend, allowing for visual fluidity and pattern irregularity that breaks up the right angles of rectangular furniture and rooms. These rugs are reminiscent of painted works of art, and indeed, stand on their own as artworks.
What distinguishes these rugs from earlier attempts at the form is the deployment of new techniques in the preparation of weaving materials, dyeing and finishing processes. Weavers are blending a variety of materials such as silk, wool, hemp, mohair and cotton as well as variations of pile height to help create the life-like textures of granular oil on canvas. Many new dyeing techniques such as double-dyeing also helps give these carpets the incredible depth of color; very much the way an artist blends paints with his brush on the fly. Equally important in the creation of these works of art under foot is the various ways a rug is finished. After the carpet comes off of the loom, artisans are hand carving around particular colors to create a dimensionality. Some productions are also utilizing an oxidation procedure in the washing process which partially erodes some of the wool areas, but does not affect the silk sections of the carpet, again, creating complex texture far beyond the earlier two-dimensional approach.
The combined effect of these refined techniques is a painterly, artistic rug that renders a singular vision: the vision of an artist at work within the woven medium. One of our premier custom rug designers, Erbil Tezcan, sums it up nicely:
“When I design rugs, I have a vision in my mind how I would like the end result to be. As I am creating, I am constantly thinking about how my vision will translate to a woven rug. I consider the materials, weave and saturation level I will use. I create it first as a visual work of art and then I match my yarns to the “painted” colors.”