The lockdown is certainly something we are all getting used to and nothing is more important than abiding by the government guidelines to #stayhome and #staysafe. It’s the only way we stand any hope of reducing the spread of Covid 19, especially amongst the old and the vulnerable and to help the NHS cope when dealing with the number of serious infections.
But out of the bleakness, one should try not to see isolation as a negative prospect but to encourage oneself to reconnect and rediscover and continue creativity within the confinement of home.
As our working routines have changed, it can feel like we are living in perpetual weekend mode, days seem non descriptive or defined and we endlessly wonder from kitchen to desk, to sofa to bed in slumber daze, trying to make sense of it all.
But one could also use the time more effectively and create our own personal stimulus that keeps our minds actively creative and to some degree distracted in a more positive way, that will benefit general mental health and wellbeing.
Pick up that unopened book that has been sitting on the shelf for far too long, try that recipe you’ve been meaning to cook for ages, clear that wardrobe from unwanted items and block looks for when we can show off again or try re-arranging the furniture to make your space work better for you. You might then be inspired to redecorate, who know’s? There’s absolutely no limit to what we can do with the spare time at home. Only you can set the boundaries.
But it’s also about encouraging some reconnection to the things that surround us, that we have collected over time and that we quite often forget about. It’s about rediscovering what those personal things mean to us and why they bring us comfort and pleasure and finding meaning in the important things in life, such as family, friends, a sense of familiarity and fun. Yes fun! Please don’t forget about that. It will come back to welcome us sometime soon, we all hope.
Here a few items that our team at Deirdre Dyson have personally picked from their homes that inspires them in some way or brings them a sense of comfort. This reconnection to the inanimate world that we surround ourselves has many benefits. It reminds us of who we are, our history, our inspirations and can lead onto further creative pursuits beyond the items themselves.
Let us know what has #INspired you during lockdown by using this hashtag and tagging us on social media.
Company Manager Edison – Painting of Queen Elizabeth II
This was a charity find at my local Crusaid Boutique shop in Pimlico, where I live.
It was painted in 1977 to mark Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee and is a Cubist oil painting by Cal Howard (as I read it).
I’ve tried to search the artist to no avail, so any information would be greatly appreciated!
I love the subtle colours of creams and beige leading to deeper chocolate tones and Elizabeth changes throughout the day in different light. Some parts pop whilst others fade. The portrait reminds me of my late grandmother in many ways. The familiarity of a mature and dedicated strong minded woman. It is graceful. It is bold. It reminds me of the pleasure of art and creativity and reinforces the message that quality pieces never fade. Good design and art should survive the test of time. It is a large piece in a very tiny flat, breaking all the rules but hey, its all about pushing the boundaries.
Design Technician Nichola – The Lady with the Sunflower on her Head
This piece of ceramic– The Lady with the Sunflower on her Head –was a present from my family, so she is very special to me.
I love ceramics and find the process fascinating. I especially love the fact that every piece is unique. I normally like objects with a lot of vibrant colour but she is more subtle, thus having a very calming effect. I love the Sunflower’s position on her head and the detail on her face.She has a very pleasant face. I get so much pleasure from having her in my home and never tire of her.
I was given this beautiful piece of Labradorite rock crystal a few years ago. I am still always mesmerised by the colours it omits when the light hits it at the right angle on both sides.
It also happens to be the perfect size and shape to fit snugly and generously into the palm of my hand.
I have sometimes held it when I do my daily meditation and was intrigued to recently read some further information about this stone. Seems it holds helpful qualities for times like these!
“Labradorite, the best stone for fighting off an existential crisis. A rock star of mystical lore and ancient legends, the Labradorite crystal meaning can be traced back to the native peoples of icy Canada that believed the stone was created from frozen fire, a result of the northern lights. With its pearly hues that shimmer in a range of iridescent blues and greens, the Labradorite crystal reminds us to keep it magical by linking us to the spirit world, a dimension where anything is possible.”From energy use.com
Social Media and Marketing Manager Sonia – ‘Young Witches and their Cats’
This is an artists proof that my parents gave me for my 21st birthday. It’s called ‘Young Witches and their Cats’ by a well known Limerick artist, John Shinnors.
It’s sentimental for so many reasons – obviously it was a gift from my Mum and Dad, who visited Shinnors at his studio to select it, and I was born and brought up in County Limerick.It hung in the bedroom I shared with my sister growing up, has been here with me in London since my husband and I bought our first flat and now hangs over our fireplace at home.
Every once and a while my children ask ‘So how many witches and how many cats are there?’ and we can never agree on quite how many and what constitutes a witch or cat!
To say it’s well loved is an understatement, it hangs amidst a mish mash of my husband’s late fathers batiks and prints and bits and pieces of artwork that we’ve picked up (or stuck in a frame) over the years, each in their own way makes me happy but this is definitely the most special.
As life has changed dramatically for us all over the past few weeks and inspired by a recent production of Madame Butterfly at the ENO (now sadly closed), we thought we’d touch on some things close to Deirdre’s heart, namely opera and the charity Deirdre supports with her annual productions.
The arts and culture has taken a body blow during this crisis and we look forward to a time soon when theatre’s and galleries open their doors again.
Wowed by the beauty of the music, performances and sublime staging by the late film director Anthony Minghella, we thought it was the perfect opportunity to explore opera, something close to Deirdre’s heart and the hugely important charity which benefits from Deirdre’s annual opera at her home.
Deirdre has always been a talented singer, beginning to sing solos in church at the age of 7.She was also in a junior choir, becoming leader at 17.It was at this time Deirdre began voice training.
For the most part Deirdre has sung choral music in semi-professional choirs but during the last 10 years she has studied opera with a coach and hosts an annual charity opera event at her home where she sings one piece with the professional performers.
She still sings solos occasionally at other charity functions and loves many different operas but has particular favourite arias.
A favourite opera director is Canadian Robert Carsen whose modern concepts and modern sets really appeal.
The charity Deirdre and her husband James support with their opera evening is CURE EB of which she is a patron. The charity raises vital funds to aid research into Epidermolysis Bullosa, a little known, genetic skin blistering condition that affects over 500,000 people around the world.
The charity was established by Sharmila and James Collins for their daughter Sohana who was born with this dreadful condition where the skin blisters internally as well as externally and who has not been out of pain since the day she was born 19 years ago.
The care involved is hard to imagine and children with this condition rarely live beyond 20 however this charity is steaming ahead with major breakthroughs in cell research and we are all praying hard for Sohana and all other children who suffer.
Click here to donate to this hugely worthwhile research.
Finally we can’t mention Madame Butterfly without linking to Deirdre’s Butterfly rug collection – these vibrant hand knotted carpets feature designs inspired by the patterns on Butterfly and moth wings and includes designs such as BORBOLETA, FARFALLA, PALOMA, PSYCHE and LEPKE
View these and other rug designs on our website or contact us for design, colour advice or a quote.
Given the unprecedented CV-19 situation, for our staff and clients safety and wellbeing the gallery will close from Thursday 19th March until further notice.
Despite our gallery space closing temporarily, the Deirdre Dyson website is a great resource to browse Deirdre’s rug designs and our handy quote calculator gives you an immediate retail price.
We’ll be working from home so the best way to contact us is via email if you require quotes, shipping quotes, samples or anything else and we’ll get back to you as soon as we possibly can.
We are working hard to ensure we continue to provide normal service levels to all clients awaiting deliveries and we endeavour to continue to meet expected delivery times. We will of course be in touch if this changes in any way.
Stay safe and well everyone and we look forward to getting back to normal when this extraordinary time passes.
Part two of Edison’s blog post on behind the scene facts about the unique and timeless quality of your bespoke hand knotted rug.
Your Carpet could be an antique of the future.
Our carpets are made to the highest standards and are heirloom quality pieces that will be enjoyed and appreciated as much in the future as they are today. As a trained artist, Deirdre Dyson approaches every design as a work of art, each being able to compliment the breadth of different interior styles and trends. Hand knotted carpets also hold their value very well.
Quality materials make a quality product.
Quality is key. From Deirdre’s initial ideas and design sketches, to the materials employed and the skill of our weavers and London team, we make sure that only the best factors and considerations are invested into creating carpets for your home and interior space.
A design consultancy service is available at our London gallery which is located in the heart of the Chelsea Design Quarter. We are here to assist and guide you in making the right choice and using the best combinations of materials and colours (from 5,000 available colours).
The Tibetan wool used in our carpets are rich in natural oils, making them not only soft and naturally stain resistant but also very hardwearing. The superior Chinese silk that is incorporated into many of our designs is smooth, cooling and full of vibrancy.
“Time is what we want most…and what we use best”.
Okay, so we’ve adapted the old saying by William Penn, but we think it describes our work ethic well, as every carpet creation requires time and consideration.
The design process in adapting and creating designs for our clientele takes as long as it takes to make our customers dream a reality but generally from sign off, a carpet will go into production and be ready within 3-4 months (as a general guide to lead time). We use the latest design technologies available in the carpet industry and for every carpet we make, a full-sized graph of the design is produced and hung from the back of the loom, for guidance precision. These graphic sheets look like works of art in their own right and are protected to ensure that they can’t be copied or reproduced elsewhere. We take copyright infringement very seriously
The finished carpet, hand knotted in graded wool with silk
At Deirdre Dyson carpets limited, we want to share with you as much useful information as possible, so our website is full of valuable tools, tips and advice. Take a look at the current collection or browse our extensive catalogue in the design library section. We’ve made finding a suitable design very easy. Our price calculator will help you cost up a design as well as offer some useful information on sizing. Please remember that nothing is set in stone as all of the designs available are bespoke and can be adapted which may affect the sqm price.
Why not take a closer look at the production process on our video links and find more information about Deirdre herself and what we’re generally up to by visiting the profile and blog pages which are regularly updated.
A two-part blog post where Edison reveals some fascinating facts about our hand knotted rugs, their history and production…
The history and production of carpets goes back centuries and there are countless facts, tales and accounts of the evolution of carpets from past times to the present day.
At Deirdre Dyson Carpets Limited, we pride ourselves on supporting the ancient technique of hand knotting on the loom, using only natural wool and silk. This combination of traditional craftsmanship and modern design, guarantees the livelihood of our Tibetan makers (the majority being women) and supports their local communities, whilst guaranteeing our customers a unique, quality product that is both timeless and exclusively theirs.
Historically, carpets were not used on the floor but were used as textile coverings for walls and tables and only became associated with floor treatments in European interiors from the 15th century onwards. The term “carpet” is widely used interchangeably with the term “rug” although nowadays we typically refer to smaller, free standing pieces as rugs. But who say’s rugs should only ever be small?!?
Behind every Deirdre Dyson carpet lies a story and here are a few interesting facts and snippets of information that you may not be aware of but might be interested to know more about.
Take a look from behind.
The best way to appreciate the skill of making a quality hand knotted carpet is to take a look at the back, an area of the carpet so many of us rarely focus on. It’s from here that you really understand just how many knots it takes to make a rug, and the particular time and skill required when changing or grading colours across a large area. It reminds us of just how unique each bespoke carpet is; each one being entirely handmade and finished.
On the back of every Deirdre Dyson carpet, you’ll also find the ‘Goodweave’ label, with a unique code to ensure your carpet was made ethically and in line with Goodweave standards. Additionally, through our Goodweave membership, a percentage of our profits go back into local community projects such as schooling and education for the young. By purchasing our carpets, you are directly supporting the Nepalese carpet industry and communities in a positive way.
Custom made is best.
With the environment on everyone’s minds and lips, a bespoke carpet offers one of the best solutions for interior decoration.
Being custom made, we’re creating a carpet that is tailored to your needs in size, shape, design and colour and therefore you will most likely want to treasure it for a long time. Custom made also decreases unnecessary waste, as every rug is created on a ‘made to order’ basis. Our carpets are knotted in the traditional method just like antique carpets but are created with contemporary style and superior materials that are made to last.
Craftsmanship requires time, patience and expertise. Deirdre Dyson bespoke hand knotted rugs and carpets are manufactured using the finest natural materials – pure Tibetan wool and Chinese silk, by Nepalese craftspeople using age old techniques and traditional skills unchanged over the centuries.
From concept to finishing no part of this process is rushed. The end result is something entirely unique and of the highest quality, works of art for the floor, designed to last a lifetime.
“Every design starts as a drawing – from there it can become anything the client wants it to be. We offer a fully bespoke service – almost everything can be altered: size, shape, colours, pile height, knot count, even the design itself” Deirdre Dyson.
The History of Hand Knotted Rugs
Carpet making is an ancient skill, believed to have originated several thousand years ago in the planes of Central Asia where nomadic shepherds weaved raw wool into easily transportable textiles necessary for warmth.
Over the centuries these skills developed and spread. Techniques, unique styles and decorative elements became particular to certain areas such as Persia, Turkey and China.
These hand-woven carpets became highly valued artefacts long before the advent of machine production.
All Deirdre Dyson carpets are manufactured in Nepal using the Tibetan style of carpet making. Our hand weavers’ skills, passed down from generation to generation, originated from Tibetan refugees who settled in Nepal and used their craft as a source of income.
How are Hand Knotted Rugs Crafted?
From raw material to finished piece; the process of crafting a Deirdre Dyson rug takes 14-16 weeks. Skilled craftsman use the following process.
1. Raw Materials
Over the years Deirdre has experimented with other fibres but nothing compares to the purity and softness of 100% wool juxtaposed with the lustre and sumptuousness of silk. These natural materials have remained Deirdre’s preference for all her hand knotted designs. No man-made fibres create as lush and dense a pile or the luxurious feel of wool and silk underfoot.
All the silk used in Deirdre Dyson carpets is Chinese, produced using a process that is over 2,000 years old, resulting in the purest of lustrous yarns.
Tibetan wool is of the highest quality. This robust, natural material, full of the naturally occurring wax Lanolin, provides the perfect soft but strong yarn, which takes dyes beautifully and is naturally stain resistant.
The naturally occurring subtle variations in the shade of wool add to the unique character of a custom rug.
Wool goes through various manual processes before it is woven into yarn.
2. Preparation of the Wool
Shorn raw wool is carefully detangled, cleaned and teased into individual strands by hand using a pair of carders, flat paddles with tiny teeth which pull the wool in different directions, separating the fibres and aligning them in the same direction ready for spinning.
The raw wool fibres are then carefully spun into continuous lengths of yarn, using a spinning wheel. The ply of the yarn is determined at this point. The experienced spinner uses their fingers to manipulate the wool and combine it into robust strands of the correct size for the knot number required.
The yarn is then thoroughly washed and dried.
Dying is one of the key elements in the production of a carpet. Accurate colour matching is essential to the success of a finished design.
The Dye Master carefully matches Deirdre’s colour selection by eye and mixes pigments to absolute precision. The number of dyes depends on the complexity of the design and each dye can take up to a day to mix.
The now pristine raw wool or silk yarn is immersed in huge vats submerged over and over until the required shade is achieved using a manually turned wheel.
The dyed yarn is then left to dry naturally in the Nepalese sunshine, the heat of the sun fixing the colours.
Once dried it is balled ready for weaving.
3. Mapping The Creation
Meanwhile the 21st Century intervenes in this age-old process – the digital version of Deirdre’s original carpet design which Nichola painstakingly replicates here in London, is mapped out to scale on graph paper to knot precision – this colour coded guide hangs on the loom for the weavers to follow – specifying the exact location and colour of each and every knot.
4. The Weaving Process
Tibetan carpets are made on a wooden loom on cotton vertical (warp) threads with horizontal wool or silk (weft) threads interwoven using a wooden shuttle.
Depending on the size of the carpet up to eight weavers can work on one carpet, working in unison to create the design knot by knot.
The Tibetan method uses a distinctive knot which differs from those used in Persian or Turkish carpets.
The higher the knot count the finer the rug. All Deirdre Dyson carpets use a minimum of 100 knots per square inch (the area of a postage stamp) allowing for accuracy and intricacy in the finished design.
Moving from left to right the yarn is looped around both the previous warp and the next to make one knot and then over a short metal rod temporarily attached to the front of the loom. The thickness of this rod known as a ‘Gyipshi’, determines the pile height.
This is done a line at a time before the finished section is tamped down with a special hammer-like tool known as ‘Thowa’. The metal bar is released and moved on to the next section to be worked on. When a row is finished, a sharp blade or ‘Churi’ is passed along a groove in the gauge rod, cutting the loops of yarn forming a pile.
5. Final Touches
The finished carpet is removed from the loom and submerged in water for extensive washing by hand. Large wooden paddles known as ‘Pharwa’ are used to push the water through the pile to tighten the fibres and make the carpet colour fast.
The carpets are then dried on the rooftops of Kathmandu, this sun drying is done on a stretcher which tightens the weave and stretches the carpet to the correct dimensions.
Once dry, the carpet is carefully trimmed to a uniform pile height using large flat bladed-shears known as a ‘Kainchi”
Then the highly skilled task of carefully ‘carving’ out specific design elements begins. This fine trimming of the design highlights and lightly defines areas where wool meets silk and or the areas specified by Deirdre.
The fringe of warp threads is knotted, trimmed and the finished carpet is bound around the edges by hand to secure and finish it, ready for inspection, packing and shipment to our gallery in London.
Contact us to begin the process of creating your perfect hand knotted rug.
Deirdre herself does not follow trends and lets inspiration and her instinctive eye for colour and form lead the evolution of new rug designs however Maison gives Company Manager Edison, a trained Interior Designer, the chance to keep an eye on trends and report back on his top design picks when he takes a break from meeting clients on our stand.
Here are a few of his favourites from this year’s show.
Detail of a sublime porcelain panel by Italian company Villari
Fun and colourful glass character vases by Murano Design
Last summer I found myself mesmerised by everything I could see through glass and water, particularly on holiday where the sun made everything glitter.
I decided to try to make my designs seem ‘glassy’ even though I was working in wool! If I failed, I might create something unexpected – I love the challenge of the unknown result and you only discover if you explore.
I started with two little rectangular vases of different colour, photographed them and analysed the colours they created when they were overlapping each other.
I designed two simple geometric shapes representing the cubes and inserted the exact colours from my palette of wool poms to represent where the two colours overlapped which gives the illusion of looking through glass.
I finished the piece with wide silken borders to add the shine and glitter of glass. I was hugely surprised and excited at the finished carpet which really looked glassy and also very three dimensional. This encouraged me to explore several different ideas about glass.
The next attempt led on from this overlapping idea. I didn’t even need real glass, I just created four shapes, selected four colours and overlapped them creating the colour I imagined would occur if they existed.
What made this carpet successful was the grading I decided to do within each piece. I had to select about 8 grades of each colour to grade from dark to light, and from the outside in, to give the illusion of seeing through the glass.
This was the first time that we had tried to grade within a random shape which was very difficult to specify for our craftspeople and a new challenge for them too. Again they succeeded and have given me a new skill to work with in the future.
TRANSPARENT was designed from an existing vase with various shapes and colours in the glass.
I created my own shapes and colours and again looked for the overlapping colours that I knew would occur. Because the inspiration was a vase I added some silk highlights to represent light against the outside of the vase. Each of these highlights was a paler colour of the colour underneath.
I have a very simple water flask and thought of two different things that I could do with it. One was to paint exactly what I could see inside through the water which were random abstract shapes and colours which looked distorted and bent through the water and also to add highlights again of paler colours and in silk as seen on the outside of the vase.
The second idea was to paint what was behind the vase ie. boat rigging and blue cushions with reflections on a shiny table and then paint the distortions of these within the flask without drawing the outline of the flask. I knew from exercises in my student days that without trying, the flask would slowly appear and it did, and it does in the carpet, although I made the colours within the flask a tiny bit paler to help it reveal itself.
I had used a great deal of colour in the collection so finally decided to do some monochromatic grading with a path of light and two simple glassy bars in silk that you feel you can see through as they pass over the greys and light between.
This was an accidental idea caused by placing a plain glass bowl, which had a glass ball as its base, on top of a patterned glass plate. This created a magnification which I decided to represent in silk with just a tiny lightening of the colour inside the area.
On a visit to the Amalfi Cathedral and in one of the small rooms at the back behind all the magnificence of marble and gold was a small plain window high up with beautiful, simple pale colours. The light behind it made it impossible to photograph but the colours stayed in my mind and I thought that in silk, it might make a lovely wall hanging for a windowless room.
Chelsea Physic Garden is a fascinating place established in 1673 by Apothecaries, the oldest botanical garden in London and an oasis by the Thames which occupies a four-acre plot beside Chelsea Embankment.
The garden includes over 5,000 different edible, useful and medicinal plants including numerous rare and endangered species.
Thanks to its warm micro climate, the garden features the largest outdoor fruiting olive tree in Britain and the world’s most northerly outdoor grapefruit tree. From pomegranates to ginkgoes, mulberries to eucalyptus, there are over 100 different species of tree in the Garden, many of which are rare in Britain.
The historic Glasshouses hold a collection of tropical and sub-tropical species, complemented by a Victorian Cool Fernery.
Enjoy some of Edison’s fabulous photographs of the plants on view in stunning autumnal light, particularly some fantastically sculptural succulents!