Deirdre Dyson has always brought her skills as a fine artist to bear on the beautiful colour palettes and compositions of her carpets.
March’s lockdown came at the time of year Deirdre usually focuses on her creative designs, so she was able to focus on her 2021 ‘Paper and Stone’ collection.
Deirdre’s themes have normally centred round the natural, but for this collection she focused on everyday materials like paper – including pieces that were crumpled, folded or torn. Deirdre elevated these every-day, sometimes discarded objects to create a collection of seven stunning hand knotted ‘Paper’ rug designs.
‘I’d often used overlapping or crumpled paper in my paintings,’ says Deirdre, ‘so it was fascinating using silk and wool instead and seeing a two-dimensional surface transformed into three dimensions, just by using the same colour in many different tones’.
UNFOLDED does just this, creating a three-dimensional effect with just seven shades. FOLD OUT is reminiscent of childhood with its playful paperdoll design, LOVE LETTER draws inspiration from a torn note with symbols of hugs and kisses, while NOTE PAPER and OFF CUTS make use of her craft cutting mat as a background.
The extra lockdown time also enabled Deirdre to design three vertical wall hangings that can be adapted for the floor, inspired by stonework and paving.
‘They represent the stones used in walls and floors and highlight the amazing decorative skills of those who work with the materials,’ says Deirdre. The result comprises artworks full of textural depth and light, made with large quantities of silk, like BLUE STONE, woven in silk with wool grouting, or DRY STONE featuring 13 natural stone hues.
View the new collection and watch Deirdre discuss her inspiration for this collection with Design Journalist Amy Moorea Wong
Continuing our exploration of inspiration and what keeps us #INspired, Deirdre draws inspiration for her designs from myriad sources but one recurring area of fascination is water – be it BULRUSHES reflected in a lake or lapping water on the shore in SEAWASH.
We thought exploring some of these rug designs would be fascinating – the source of inspiration being fundamentally the same, the designs themselves could not be more different.
One of Deirdre’s more figurative designs and one that has captured people’s imagination and become a classic and was inspired by Deirdre’s painting of the same name.
This rug features the naturally abstracted forms of bulrushes, their bending shafts reflected and refracted in lake water.
Deirdre uses a graded wool/silk mix background to recreate the skyline and lake water which merge on the horizon to create this perfectly framed design. The finished rug is so captivating one client choose to hang it on a wall of their home.
BULRUSHES won both the International Wool Carpet & Rug Awards (Design Sector) 2017 and the International Design & Architecture Awards (Flooring, Carpet & Rugs) 2017.
The success of Deirdre’s SEAWASH rug design is all in the grade – which required Deirdre’s exceptional eye for colour to achieve this seamless ebb and flow effect.
Originally Deirdre designed the carpet in two versions, INDIGO (above) and BEIGE (below) which have become favourite designs amongst clients, we have created both large scale carpets and runners from this endlessly versatile design.
SEAWASH comes alive hand knotted in lustrous 100% silk (as in the versions above), providing the perfect watery, iridescent finish but has also been recreated several times using varying colourways in hand knotted and gun tufted 100% wool versions.
In NAUTICAL Deirdre again treats her source inspiration completely differently – abstracting sea water into fluid but solid geometric shapes, creating a feeling of depth and movement by alternating the same colours in wool and silk.
Clients can of course change these colours from the original water based palate but fundamentally this ‘breaking down’ of the sea to its most basic elements is the key to this design.
Whilst not strictly inspired by water itself, the first of Deirdre’s mosaic designs was inspired by mosaic lined Roman ponds, the intricacy of ROMAN POND poses a challenge to our weavers as the thin lines of wool ‘grouting’ around the ingots of silk are incredibly complex to achieve (and individually carve out) but the finished effect is stunning.
The everyday source inspiration for this rug only adds to its allure – RIVULETS mimics the trail of rain drops on a window pane – the simplest of inspiration led Deirdre to this wonderfully subtle graded design.
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.
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.
In celebration of GoodWeave’s 25th anniversary, Deirdre Dyson has donated her GOLDEN STONE rug (top right) valued at £4,314 to their annual raffle.
Inspired by the seashores of The Pearl Islands of Panama, GOLDEN STONE is hand-knotted in Tibetan wool and Chinese silk in shades of cream, gold, brown and coral. It measures 1.70 x 2.35m. For just a £20 charitable donation, you have a chance to own this luxury GoodWeave certified rug.
While Deirdre Dyson‘s design is stunning, we think the back of this rug is just as beautiful. On the underside, you will find a numbered GoodWeave label, meaning that independent inspectors ensured the rug’s manufacturing process met the highest ethical standards of production.
All proceeds benefit GoodWeave’s programmes for vulnerable and rescued children.
We hope you enter to win GoodWeave’s charity raffle today! With every £20 ticket purchased, you improve your odds of winning and become a part of a beautiful story of freedom for children in Nepal, India, and Afghanistan. And remember, for every £80 worth of tickets you purchase, you’ll receive an extra one for free!
“We want [companies] to think beyond the factory gate…GoodWeave’s unique offering is the combination of inspection and monitoring and community mobilisation throughout the supply chain… making this initiative a viable complement to those already underway, as well as a stand-alone best practice.” — Joost Kooijman, UNICEF
The GoodWeave label is as important to us as the Deirdre Dyson label on our carpets.
GoodWeave was born in an Indian jail cell in the early 1990s. After reuniting a trafficked child weaver with his mother, future Nobel Prize Laureate Kailash Satyarthi was outraged to see dozens more children with a labour broker.
Imprisoned overnight for causing a disturbance, he awoke with a simple idea: follow the money. If companies and consumers refuse to buy products tainted by child labour, producers can’t make them. Kailash reached out to allies and GoodWeave International was officially established in 1997. It was the first organisation to use product labeling to remediate a human rights issue.
Today, GoodWeave’s market-driven model includes company engagement, supply chain inspections, product certification, consumer awareness, victim rescue and remediation, and preventative efforts such as educational programmes in at-risk communities. GoodWeave reaches layers of the supply chain that were previously invisible — making child labour a thing of the past.
Harness Market Forces in partnership with rug importers and high street brands to create demand for goods made without child labour. GoodWeave prevents children from toiling in labour by distinguishing products with the GoodWeave label.
Clean up Supply Chains by independently monitoring against the GoodWeave Standard, including all tiers of production from factory to individual home, and remediating all cases of child labour.
Create Educational Opportunities to stem the tide of child labour, ensuring that all children from vulnerable worker communities are attending school and learning.
Improve Conditions for All Workers by addressing a broad set of workers’ rights throughout the supply chain and offering skills training and other improvement programmes.
The Figures* involves are staggering:
152 million child labourers worldwide
72 million children performing hazardous work
25 million people living in forced labour
6.3 million children in forced labour
Child labour and global supply chains are getting increasing attention, yet practical solutions that respond to the priorities of both workers and businesses remain elusive. While many organisations work in this field, the collective effort is not yet reaching the most vulnerable at the very bottom of the supply chain, such as in sub-contracted sites and where homeworkers are found. GoodWeave addresses this gap.
*Data from “Global Estimates of Modern Slavery,” International Labour Organisation and Walk Free Foundation, 2017
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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’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.
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’.
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)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
All Deirdre’s chosen colours are colour matched exactly, amazingly this is all done by the highly skilled dye master by eye.
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.
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.
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)
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.
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.
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.