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5 Benefits of Hand Knotted Rugs

Deirdre Dyson QUILLS hand knotted wool and silk rug
Deirdre Dyson QUILLS hand knotted wool and silk rug

Why Hand knotted Rugs?

As with all interior genres, the huge variety and range of rug styles available on the market can be daunting – from flatweaves to Kilims, antique Persian carpets to modern fibres such as Bamboo silk.  The choice available can seem overwhelming.

Deirdre Dyson’s preferred method of manufacture for her bespoke rug designs has always been the ancient process of hand knotting.  The qualities of hand knotted rug are many and for sheer luxury they are hard to beat.

A bespoke rug is a big investment and must stand the test of time.  Hand knotted rugs provide longevity and integrity whilst providing the best medium to showcase Deirdre’s unique contemporary designs and colour selections.

Deirdre Dyson's SEAWASH on the loom
Deirdre Dyson’s SEAWASH on the loom

THE TOP 5 BENEFITS OF HAND-KNOTTED RUGS BY DEIRDRE DYSON.

  • Craftsmanship – From the weaving process through to the hand spun yarn, hand knotted designs are created entirely by hand.
  • Unrivalled Quality – With the knot count making unravelling impossible, hand knotted rugs are created to last a lifetime.
  • Luxury – The high number of knots per square inch mean that the rugs never feel flat.
  • Bespoke design – Every Deirdre Dyson carpet is unique with the size, colour, design and materials available for custom selection.
  • Produced with the highest ethical standards – All carpets are produced ethically thanks to Deirdre’s partnership with Goodweave, a charity working to end slavery in the carpet industry.

Craftsmanship:

Deirdre’s designs begin by hand and are created entirely by hand.  Our artisan Nepalese weavers use skills unchanged over the centuries and hand-crafted tools to weave each carpet knot by knot.

Quite apart from the intricacy of the weaving process itself, the layers of expertise involved in the creation of one carpet is incredible – from hand spinning of the raw yarn, which is then precisely coloured by the Dye Master, to the intricate mapping of the original design which creates a template for the weavers to work from and finally to the finishing – an art in itself – the careful trimming of the carpet to the correct pile height, the carving of design elements and ultimately the carefully stitched edging.

Sorting raw yarn for spinning
Sorting raw yarn for spinning

Quality:

The knot count of a Deirdre Dyson carpet means unravelling is impossible – each knot is unique and design and colour is replicated exactly.   Deirdre Dyson carpets and rugs are of heirloom quality and designed to last a lifetime.

Deirdre’s close relationship with our manufacturers ensures her designs and colour selections are reproduced faithfully no matter what the scale of the finished carpet.

Yarn being dyed
Yarn being dyed

The Tibetan wool and Chinese silk used in Deirdre Dyson’s carpets is of the highest quality – processed entirely by hand to strictest quality standards.

As natural fibres, colour takes to wool and silk in a very different way to manmade fibres – there is a softness and depth which contrasts sharply with the brashness of coloured synthetics.

Dyed yarn hanging out to dry
Dyed yarn hanging out to dry

In Deirdre’s graded carpets the art of hand knotting really comes into its own – the subtle shift between the tones selected by Deirdre is only best realised in the delicacy of hand knotting, so beautifully illustrated in this year’s EAGLE rug.

Detail of grading in Deirdre Dyson's EAGLE rug
Detail of grading in Deirdre Dyson’s EAGLE rug

Luxury:

Nothing quite matches the feel of 100% Tibetan wool and Chinese silk underfoot.  The dense 100 knots per square inch (unbelievably an area the size of a postage stamp) creates an opulence which is impossible to replicate with man-made fibres or machine techniques.

We always encourage our clients to visit our Kings Road gallery to touch and feel Deirdre’s carpets in person – the lustre and decadence of a hand knotted rug contributes to the overall effect of the rug’s design.  A hand knotted rug will never feel ‘flat’, the depth of the pile and quality of materials adds to the intensity of colour and drama in the finished carpet.

Deirdre Dyson GOLDEN PHEASANT rug, detail of grading and carving
Deirdre Dyson GOLDEN PHEASANT rug, detail of grading and carving

Bespoke:

Each Deirdre Dyson carpet is by its nature unique.  The  size, colour choice, design and mix of wool and silk can be custom selected to your exacting choice.

Even when Deirdre’s versions of designs are recreated exactly to knot precision as a handmade product no two can ever by 100% the same.

Dye takes to natural fibres in a very special way  – the naturally occurring subtle tonal shift of ‘abrash’ is unique to hand knotted designs and occurs over time.

This is a natural phenomenon that cannot be deliberately produced and has been sought after in carpet design for centuries and  is something that sets hand dyed, hand knotted carpets apart.

Deirdre Dyson HARLEQUIN hand knotted wool and silk rug
Deirdre Dyson HARLEQUIN hand knotted wool and silk rug

Ethics and Sustainability:

You can rest assured all Deirdre Dyson hand knotted carpets are produced to the highest possible ethical standards.  Deirdre is a proud partner of the charity Goodweave, whose aim is to end slavery in the carpet industry and beyond.

Goodweave undertake spot checks to ensure no child labour is used in the manufacture of our carpets and ensure working conditions and schooling is available to weavers and their families.

Additionally, weaving provides a vital income to many Nepalese families, particularly women most especially since the devastating earthquake of 2002.

Deirdre is proud to support artisan skills and produce rugs and carpets using ancient skills at the same time empowering and improving the lives of the Nepalese weavers and their families.


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The Design Process – your carpet from inspiration to delivery…

Every Deirdre Dyson carpet or rug is by its nature unique.

HARELQUIN hand knotted wool and silk rug from this years Plumage Rug Collection

As an entirely bespoke product, no two designs will ever be exactly the same, whether hand knotted or gun tufted, Deirdre’s carpets are made to last and the ancient processes involved in their manufacture take time.

Each year Deirdre creates a new themed rug collection, but these designs are just the starting point, Deirdre Dyson rugs are infinitely customisable – colours, size, composition and the design itself can all be altered to suit a client’s exact requirements.

Whether Deirdre’s colour choices are perfect for your scheme or if you want to create your custom version of a rug design, the process remains the same and the result is a luxurious, heirloom quality rug or carpet of your own.

THE CREATION OF A COLLECTION:

Deirdre colouring her initial sketch for her CORAL rug design

Deirdre’s carpets begin with a simple, hand coloured, pencil drawing.

Over the year’s Deirdre has sought inspiration in nature, the sky, sea and shoreline, stones, flowers, leaves and trees to the abstract – geometric and organic forms or the refraction of light.

Deirdre has complete creative control over every design in her annual rug collections.

Working with her Designer Nichola to digitise the design, together they refine it if necessary and add Deirdre’s carefully selected colours to precisely match her vision for that rug.

Colour is of course key. Deirdre selects from over 5,000 colour poms in wool and silk – her ‘paint box’.

Some of the 5,000 wool and silk poms from which Deirdre selects the colourways for each collection rug

This is a considered process, where the colours are observed in different lights and times of day to accurately reflect their relationship with each other and realise Deirdre’s concept perfectly.

Deirdre’s eye for colour is fundamental – as a Fine Artist she has both the innate skill and technical knowledge to find just the right juxtaposition of colours or the perfect tones to create an intricate colour grade (the subtle change of colour from dark to light as seen in rug designs such as EAGLE pictured below)

Detail of grading on Deirdre Dyson’s EAGLE hand knotted rug

Digitally colour matching Deirdre’s pom selection is a highly skilled task, Nichola has worked with Deirdre for almost twenty years and no amount of technology can mimic her colour matching abilities, which again can take days to refine, dependant on the hours of daylight available and how the colours appear in different lights, both on screen and in print.

Nichola’s accurate digital versions of the rug designs are stored for future adaptation and exact colour-perfect print versions are approved by Deirdre (or a client) before manufacture.

MANUFACTURE:

Once the design is finished to Deirdre’s exacting standard, it is sent to our trusted weavers in Nepal or, if gun tufted in 100% wool, to our manufacturers in Yorkshire.

We have long standing relationships with both and Deirdre has a strong, personal rapport with each. Communicating new design ideas involves close discussions regarding the technical elements involved.

The gun tufting process which uses 100% wool and is suitable for some designs.

Gun tufting is by far the quicker option (though no less careful and considered) and generally the suggested method of production for commercial projects or areas with higher footfall.

Given the limitations of tufting however, not all designs are suitable for this type of manufacture.

As with hand knotting quality control is paramount, with colour meticulously matched and designs executed to millimetre perfection.

HAND KNOTTING:

However, Deirdre Dyson is primarily known for her hand knotted rugs and has built her brand’s reputation on their luxurious quality.

The vast majority of bespoke rugs and all collection carpets are hand knotted by our weavers in Nepal using traditional techniques which are indigenous to the area and have been passed down through the generations.

Hand knotting creates a dense, luxurious pile but allows for the finest of detail and subtle colour transitions which are impossible to replicate by machine.

The art of hand knotting not only takes skill and patience, it involves age old techniques and tools which have remained unchanged over centuries.

One of our skilled weavers at work.

Climate is crucial to the process, as heat and sunshine is essential; from fixing dyes to drying and stretching the finished carpet, therefore the Monsoon season from June to August prolongs production time.

Additionally, weavers observe religious holidays and don’t work during these periods (particularly in January and February)  Ultimately these carpets are intrinsically linked with Nepalese traditions and the Nepalese way of life.

Deirdre Dyson is a long-time partner of Goodweave ensuring no child labour is involved in rug making and that the highest level of work practices and standards are maintained for weavers and their families.

DYEING:

All Deirdre’s chosen colours are colour matched exactly, amazingly this is all done by the highly skilled dye master by eye.

Raw yarn being dyed to exactly the right shade.

The dye master mixes scrupulously measured quantities of pigments to create accurate dyes.  The hand carded Tibetan wool and Chinese silk is then turned by hand in vats of the dye until precisely the right shade is achieved.

The dyed yarn is then allowed to dry naturally.  As it dries the heat of the sun fixes the dye which is then spun by hand to the correct ply and thickness.

Dyed yarn drying in the sun.

MAPPING:

Meanwhile, exact mapping of the design has taken place to create a template which hangs above the loom from which the weavers work.

This intricate graph carefully maps the position of every knot and colour change within the design, all painstakingly reproduced from Deirdre’s original and replicated by the weavers by eye.

WEAVING:

The hand knotting process itself is incredible to watch, the speed and dexterity of our weavers is truly astonishing, especially where there are complex grades (such as SEA WASH  pictured on the loom below) or intricately detailed carpets with fine lines (such as PLUMES)

Deirdre Dyson’s SEAWASH rug on the loom

The weaver’s create knots on the vertical ‘warp’ threads using a metal rod, an incredible 100 knots fit the area of a postage stamp which gives an indication of the intricacy involved.

Once a row is complete it is hammered tightly on to the row below and the yarn is cut to create a rough pile.

FINISHING:

When weaving is complete, each carpet is carefully washed, stretched and dried in the open air then precisely trimmed by hand to the correct pile height.

The fascinating and intricate carving process then takes place, where specific design elements are carefully clipped around to create definition.

Finally, the carpet is bound around the edges with matching yarn and our leather Deirdre Dyson label is attached.

Deirdre Dyson Exclusive Carpets and Rugs Label

Once approved, the carpet is then ready for packing and shipping back to our gallery in London.

A standard size rug will take approximately 14-16 weeks to complete from artwork sign off – with the production time rising depending on size and complexity of design.

Each element in the creation of your rug involves skill and a level of precision which cannot be rushed, this is ultimately an artisan process assisted by technology but not necessarily expedited by it.

The crucial elements of rug design and making are slow and considered and stand out in our world of mass production and instant gratification, the wait is worth it and the result is of the highest quality and designed to last a lifetime.

 


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Deirdre Dyson at the Design Museum

Last month Deirdre joined a host of hand-picked luxury interiors, fine art, couture and automotive brands exhibiting at ‘Curation of the Finest’, a collection of rare and one-off contemporary collectables and objects, showcased by Luxury Cave at London’s Design Museum.

Deirdre Dyson in front of her UNBOUND limited edition carpet artwork.

Luxury Cave‘s aim is to ‘present a new viewpoint of luxury that focuses on objects that speak of craftsmanship, emotion and investment of time.’

Deirdre Dyson’s carpets fulfil this brief perfectly – the combination of Deirdre’s sketches and colour selection realised as carpets through the age-old craft of hand knotting by artisan craftspeople and the bespoke process, cannot be rushed, assisted by but impervious to technological advances. This is slow design at its finest.

Deirdre was excited to create and unveil her first ever Carpet Artwork exclusively for the event.

The ultimate expression of her background as a Fine Artist and Carpet Designer – UNBOUND will be created in a limited edition of three (the first of which is available to purchase exclusively via the Luxury Cave website)

Deirdre took inspiration from ‘the rising steps to freedom and breaking away from the ties that bind us’ and the piece is a joyous juxtaposition of colours hand knotted in wool and silk.

Deirdre also exhibited her intricate PLUMES carpet from this year’s PLUMAGE Rug Collection, bespoke versions of which will also be available exclusively through the Luxury Cave website for the next three months.

Deirdre Dyson’s PLUMES carpet on exhibit at the Design Museum, London

PLUMES is a masterly intricate carpet design of interlocking feather barbs on a deep navy background with striking turquoise tips, the fine detail of which posed a real challenge to our incredibly skilled Nepalese weavers.

Both pieces, as with all Deirdre Dyson carpet designs, are Goodweave certified.

The exhibition was co-curated by Sofia Barattieri and Darren Miller of Luxury Cave and art directed by celebrated Set Designer Simon Costin.

Luxury Cave’s Sofia Barattieri and Fashion Designer Mary Katrantzou in front of Deirdre Dyson’s UNBOUND artwork and PLUMES carpet.

Other exhibitors and curated objects included Fine Jeweller Fabio Salini, fine art by Lucio Fontana and Alighiero Boetti, the intricately embroidered handbags of Parisian Designer Carole Tessier’s label ‘Preciously Paris‘, Auto Fabrica, Furniture by Studio Drift, Thomas Heatherwick and Pinto Paris, the Aston Martin Lagonda and Fashion Designer Mary Katrantzou celebrated the 10th Anniversary of her brand as part of the event.

Luxury Cave’s Chanda Pandya and Darren Miller with Fashion Designer Mary Katrantzou in front of Deirdre Dyson’s UNBOUND artwork and PLUMES carpet.

Deirdre’s artwork and carpet at the exhibition

Visit the Luxury Cave digital portal here.