Off The Beaten Path

innovative rug design, fiber content & construction techniques

‘Tabriz Canal Aerial’ from the Erased Heritage Collection by Jan Kath

Design professionals are always looking for the new and exciting in products, services and vendors.  With that in mind I set out on a quest last week to find some unusual floor covering.  I visited a dozen showrooms & ateliers, and found a handful of rugs I think are industry standouts.

Jan Kath‘s ‘Erased Heritage’ collection incorporates traditional Egyptian Mamluks, Iranian Bidjars, and Turkish Konyas – using their original colors and knotting techniques in wool and silk – turning them into distressed and decidedly modern interpretations of centuries old designs.  The ‘erased’ sections of the Tabriz above has areas seemingly splattered with bleach, and below sections are woven to appear thread bare in parallel bands.

‘Tabriz Canal Stomped’

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Video courtesy Euromax television of the designer explaining his design process;

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‘Divot’ by Jan Kath

Also noteworthy from Jan Kath is his ‘Divot’ rug, constructed of knotted nettle with a raised silk cut pile.  Nettle is a herbaceous flowering plant native to Europe and Asia, the bark of which is stripped and spun into a coarse and resilient fiber.   In the rug it creates an earthy, matte counterpoint to the sheen of the silk.

‘Divot’ detail

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‘Alpaca Boucle’ by Rosemary Halgarten at ALT for Living

ALT for Living represents textile artist Rosemary Hallgarten, whose designs celebrate the tactile sensuality of materials.  She is a second generation crafts person, following in the footsteps of her mother Gloria Finn, who partnered with Milton Avery, Theodoros Stamos, and Anni Albers to interpret their paintings as floor coverings.  Rosemary’s rugs reflect her varied inspirations, from ancient and modern textiles to art, furniture and fashion.   Her Alpaca boucle rugs are woven from hand painted yarns – creating a strie abrash.

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‘Completely Organic’

ALT for Living also has 6 patterns of 100% certified organic rugs which are unique in the marketplace.  The free range sheep are fed an organic diet – and the wool spun from their fleece is completely free of chemicals or dyes.  The patterns created are achieved by alternating natural coloration in the yarns.  In addition, the manufacturing process utilizes 100% natural fiber scrim backings, and glue that is formulated with naturally occurring compounds devoid of VOCs.

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Portuguese Needlepoint from Martin Patrick Evan

Portuguese needlepoint rugs (indigenously called Arrailos) have been manufactured for centuries, originally patterned with Persian motifs that were eventually replaced by Portuguese folk art patterns.  Martin Patrick Evan is producing bespoke versions in traditional patterns as well as custom designs developed in liaison with their clients.  The rug above is knotted in silk in the upper left and wool in the lower right.

A clip of the needlework via Hortensia Garden on YouTube;

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Martin Patrick Evan’s COO Edouard Daunas explained how the firm has developed a hybrid which combines the needlepoint technique with alternating cut pile of silk, wool or a silk wool blend.  The resulting rugs (an example shown above) are exceptional and unique.

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Kampala Woven Leather from Martin Patrick Evan

Leather rugs have been a popular novelty for a number of years, but it’s rare to find beautifully crafted examples.  The collection from Martin Patrick Evan incorporates leather woven with other fibers, and hides stitched together in combinations only limited by the imagination of the designer.

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4 thoughts on “Off The Beaten Path”

  1. I wish that the reader could touch the rugs. The leather from Martin Patrick Evan is much softer than other rugs that I have seen in the market and the Portuguese Needlepoint has enough weight that it is a great alternative to a pile rug. I have been a fan of Jan Kath’s rug designs for several years ever since I first saw him at ICFF. He has the ability to create a contemporary rug that references traditional weaving techniques making his rugs versatile so that they can work in contemporary or traditional spaces. ALT for Living is a unique source for designers and I love the idea of completely organic.

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