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!
Edison’s concept of double height banners making the most of the gallery’s atrium ran to 19m and Jan’s bold ‘Zebramane’ brushstrokes create an eye catching backdrop for Deirdre’s rug from this year’s PLUMAGE Collection and Jan’s customised tops for Stephenson Wright’s Plink and Plonk tables, their black scalloped bases reflecting the monochrome banners and black detailing in Deirdre’s rug design.
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.
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.
Deirdre’s new rug collection has received a wonderful reception at Maison & Objet Paris, where eight of nine new designs on display in Hall 8, stand A32 were showcased on a custom made, towering stand painted with Argile paint colours selected personally by Deirdre to complement each of the new carpet designs. Deirdre relishes the opportunity to be on the stand at Maison meet clients and discuss the designs and their inspiration.
Yet again Deirdre has pushed the boundaries of the art of hand knotting to create very distinctive designs using pops of colour (HARLEQUIN), intricate detail (PLUMES/FEATHER BOUND/QUILLS) or colour grading (GOLDEN PHEASANT, EAGLE) from the abstracted (MANDARIN) to the figurative (FLIGHT) creating a new collection that celebrates her instinctive eye for colour and cleverly plays with the shapes and forms of birds and their feathers to create unique designs.
Each design uses varying amounts of silk to mirror the shimmering nature of bird’s plumage and Deirdre’s chosen colour palette is shot with vibrant hues that give the organic forms a 3D quality.
Bordered rugs such as BURLESQUE and FEATHER BOUND are endlessly adaptable – for use under a dining table or bed whereas the bold Studio 54esque GOLDEN PHEASANT makes a statement all of its own as does the elegant scale of the exquisite EAGLE.
Last year’s HORIZONS Collection played with scale and Deirdre continues this trend with the largest carpet on display, EAGLE mirroring the wing span of its namesake, an impressive 3.4 metres wide.
As with all Deirdre’s designs these sample carpets are just the start, each design can be created in any colourway or size required and most designs can also be gun tufted in 100% wool should the client or space require it.
We can’t wait to reveal the new rug designs Deirdre Dyson has created for her 2019 PLUMAGE collection.
With an intuitive eye for colour, Deirdre cleverly combines the bright shades (violet blues, cherry red, slate blue, black) and abstract markings of a pretty male sea duck for her HARLEQUIN design.
EAGLE (pictured) is an impressive 3.4 metres wide, depicting the magnificent wing span of this majestic bird – the large scale allows Deirdre to include intricate feathery detail and create a spectacular three-dimensional effect through directional colour grading.
Other designs, such as the rich colour palette of GOLDEN PHEASANT, accurately reflects the beautiful tones of this quintessential British bird.
Deirdre’s practice as a fine artist allows her to expertly combine colours to create a beautiful composition that will enhance any surface and interior, as she skillfully captures the shimmer of the natural oils of a feather through the use of gorgeous silk against a luxurious wool background.
“In this collection I have delved deep into the feathers of pheasants and abstracted designs of ducks. I singled out some feathers and enfolded carpets with others. Together they make a varied collection of colourful drama and soft luxury. In creating them, our brilliant craftspeople have succeeded with the most difficult technical challenges I have ever set them.”
Be the first to see the new collection unveiled on 18 January 2019 at the prestigious Maison et Objet interiors exhibition in Paris, in Hall 8 ‘Forever Signature’, stand A32.
Deirdre recently welcomed clients and friends of the company to celebrate this year’s HORIZONS carpet collection.
Guests were treated to spectacular canapes and mocktails by Bubblefood together with champagne and exclusive wines from the Dyson vineyard, whilst flower arrangements created by Amie Bone and inspired by the collection decorated the gallery.