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.
2019 marks the centenary of the Bauhaus, one of the most significant movements in art and design of the 21st Century.
In 1919, Walter Gropius became the director of a new institution created from the merger of two art schools in Weimar. This new school, the Staatliches Bauhaus, was to be known simply as the Bauhaus. Even though Gropius was an architect and the term ‘Bauhaus’ literally translates as “construction house,” it did not solely concentrate on architecture, it was a school encompassing all elements of art and design.
Gropius aim was “to create a new guild of craftsmen, without the class distinctions which raise an arrogant barrier between craftsman and artist.” Combining influences from modernism, the English Arts and Crafts movement, and Constructivism, Gropius promoted the idea that design was to serve the community and exist in its purist form, epitomised in the Bauhaus principle ‘Form follows function’.
The interdisciplinary nature of the Bauhaus realised the concept of “Gesamtkunstwerk,” or complete work of art, meaning the visual arts, graphic design product and furniture design as well as architecture combined to create a cohesive environment comprising simple, elegant geometric shapes, solid colours and minimalist spaces.
Having moved over the course of its existence from Weimar to Dessau and finally Berlin, the Bauhaus was closed by the Nazis in 1933 for producing ‘degenerate art’. Despite this suppression, the Bauhaus lived on and it’s ideologies spread as many of its staff and students fled Germany bringing the school’s idealistic concepts with them, influences that continue to have an impact on design today.
Despite being known as a minimalist discipline, The Bauhaus felt an understanding of colour was of paramount importance and colour theories taught as part of the school’s foundation course by artists Johannes Itten, Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee, and Josef Albers formed the basis of contemporary colour theory. This included expanding the colour wheel, developing ideas of colour contrast, exploring the psychological effects of colour and their spiritual and transcendental nature.
Like any colourist, Deirdre Dyson’s designs inadvertently pay homage to the Bauhaus concepts and artists, with both the application of colour theory and form but some of Deirdre’s rug designs really do make a more obvious nod to the movement, none more so than ANGULUS with its stark geometry and solid colours.
Several of Deirdre’s designs or bespoke reworkings never make it to the loom, so for a bit of fun, we’ve trawled through the archive to find some other Deirdre Dyson designs which illustrate Bauhaus principles of form and colour, here’s what we’ve found.
Lady Deirdre Dyson was commissioned to create fourteen contemporary carpets – six hand knotted, free-standing rugs and eight gun tufted, fitted carpets together with a stair runner over four floors for this 18th Century listed Georgian townhouse.
The house, actually two adjoining properties, was restored and repurposed by Alexander Martin Architects (AMA) for use as private offices in Mayfair, London.
The brief required Deirdre to design a total of 350 square metres of highest quality wool and silk floor coverings for the entire property.
The incredible gun tufted 100% wool graded carpet created for the oak barley twist staircase.
Materials throughout the building were selected for their timeless quality, echoing those present in the original building. A palette of natural oak, stone and pale grey provides a backdrop for the bespoke Deirdre Dyson carpets used throughout.
The expanses of wool and silk used in the rug, carpet and runner designs sit perfectly with remaining original features and the stark modern interior application in the office spaces on the upper floors.
The central oak barley twist staircase is dramatically hugged top to bottom by a stair runner that creates a sense of movement with graded hues that flow from dark to light (pictured above)
A bespoke gun tufted, fitted version of TWILIGHT in one of the top floor office spaces.
Through her use of bold geometric designs, Lady Dyson developed a scheme to bring contrast and complimentary accent colours which define and enhance the individual rooms. A total of fifty separate colours were used across the project with some carpets having up to sixteen colours alone.
The carpets give each room a separate identity and interest but Dyson has connected the spaces using a similar colour palette, often through the use of colour grading, adding personality with dramatic bursts of colour, be it a bold blue or vivid terracotta. All working in tandem with remaining original features and the architect’s contemporary reworking of the building.
The scale of these carpets created challenges for both our weavers in Nepal (in some cases measuring up to 5m square) and the skilled tufters here in the UK as well as specialist fitters but a close, collaborative team effort realised Deirdre Dyson’s vision to stunning effect.
The project featured in an extensive editorial feature in Wallpaper* magazine, click here to read.
We love revealing Deirdre’s new rug designs at Maison & Objet every January but by contrast, Deirdre’s annual UK collection launch, held here in the intimacy of our Kings Road gallery, is by far the highlight of our year.
The evening gives Deirdre a chance to catch up with valued friends of the brand as well as clients old and new and introduce her carpets in person whilst guests can touch and feel the incredible quality of the finished designs, see the lustre of the silk and the true colours which are always best viewed ‘in the flesh’.
This year’s collection inspired by the hues and patterns of birds and their feathers, is a riot of colour and contrast and provoked much admiration and discussion. As did Deirdre’s first carpet artwork, UNBOUND, created in a limited edition of three and intricately handwoven in 32 colours of wool and silk.
UNBOUND was recently included in The Luxury Cave launch event at the Design Museum and was so overwhelmingly well received that Deirdre is now working on another limited-edition wall piece, more details to be revealed soon.
Flowers by Clayton at Strudwick Flowers provided the perfect backdrop to the evening’s festivities. Deirdre had requested natural arrangements with fluid forms reflecting the designs on display and Clayton fulfilled this brief perfectly, picking up the reds in both HARLEQUIN and UNBOUND on the first floor and the golden and buttery tones of GOLDEN PHEASANT and BURLESQUE on the ground floor.
This year guests enjoyed lavender cocktails selected by Edison to compliment the purple found in Deirdre’s new QUILLS rug design, Champagne and Dyson wine together with delicious canapes by Aquashard such as mushroom arancini, steak tartare and mini fish and chips. Guests were extremely well looked after by Aquashard’s John Wiltshire and his team.
The gallery, designed by Architect Timothy Hatton (pictured) comes in to its own at night and the wonderful atmosphere led to a very special evening celebrating another stellar rug collection by Deirdre.
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.
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.