This beautifully illustrated children’s book The Tale of the Prince and the Magic Carpet was written by James Dyson’s father Alec, whilst posted in India during the Second World War.
The book, published by Blackie & Son of London and Glasgow, was inspired by his surroundings and was written for and features his three children – a blonde James and his brother and sister.
Whilst discussing blog content, Alice (our Head of Contract Sales and Marketing) suggested exploring the origins of the magic carpet at which point Deirdre mentioned this book.
We thought it would be lovely to share some of its beautiful illustrations and background with you.
Only one tatty copy of the novel remains which James Dyson has now copied for his siblings and grandchildren to enjoy. A lovely legacy given that Alec Dyson died when James was only 9 and a wonderful link to Deirdre’s passion for carpet design.
We love the newly designed Chelsea Design Quarter website and particularly like the ‘Inspiration’ page – an ever changing moodboard featuring fabulous product and lifestyle shots from all CDQ partner collections.
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.
We recently completed our largest ever bespoke hand-knotted carpet commissions, each measuring approx. 6.5 x 6m (over 38 square metres).
Both carpets were created for a private client for use in adjoining private offices by Deirdre who, inspired by the surroundings and detail in one of the upholstery fabrics, created a selection of concepts from which the two final designs were chosen.
Given the scale, Deirdre decided to make a dramatic statement with grading – creating a palette of 13 colours from muted cream to darkest brown for both designs and selecting an ox-blood red, also used in the upholstery, to highlight the ‘stitching’ and ‘branch’ motifs on the designs.
The finished carpets are stunning and a testament to the incredible attention to detail and craftsmanship of our Nepalese weavers and an absolute masterclass in grading, an astonishing feat on this scale.
Inspired by our recent World of Interiors feature, Edison explores the links between street art and style and interiors.
It’s evident by our latest feature in the World of Interiors rug promotion (featuring FLIGHT and HARLEQUIN below) that the cross over from street art and style into fashion and interiors is ever increasing.
Street influences can offer exciting and graphically enhanced motifs, patterns, colour and form that would otherwise have only been applied to the walls of a derelict building or any accessible public surface on which to paint.
Thanks to Banksy, the street style has become widely accepted for its creative contributions and output. Therefore, it’s not uncommon to see the urban ‘out’ creeping ‘in’ by way of graffiti inspired feature walls, whether for the home or the office.
Back in 2015 Ray-Ban collaborated with collectable street artist ‘Mr Brainwash’ applying his distinctive splattering of paint to their iconic frames.
But street style doesn’t have to mean complicated, political or overworked.
These modern creations by French artist ‘Remi Rough’ (below) and Portuguese Street artist Vhils (bottom) use clean lines and textures to form their sublime creations. Both artists sell through galleries internationally and have had their work commissioned for architectural projects worldwide.
At such an exciting time in the company’s development, my team and I saw this as the perfect opportunity to reveal more about Deirdre Dyson the company.
The journey from initial concept to finished carpet is a fascinating one and I want to use this blog to take you behind the scenes of the entire design process.
We also want to share what inspires both myself and my team here, highlight good art and design, give updates on the exciting refurbishment project for our showroom on 554 Kings Road and most importantly showcase our bespoke carpets in their new homes.
We’re really looking forward to updating this blog regularly and hope you enjoy it!
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.