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.
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.
Elle Decoration described the above image as ‘Studio 54-esque‘ with the vintage brass desk sourced by Louisa and the iconic Platner armchair upholstered in dusky pink, picking up one of the vibrant wool grades in the carpet design.
The chair was originally designed for Knoll by Warren Platner in 1966 and is still in production today.
The striking sculptural form is created by curved steel rods on a semi-circular frame and is a classic of mid-Century modernist design, described by Platner as ‘decorative, gentle [and] graceful’
The construction is hugely complex and technically challenging – the bases are made of hundreds of rods, and for some versions, more than 1,000 welds are required in construction but the effect is simply stunning and has stood the test of time.
Platner was an American Architect and Interior Designer and designed up until his death in 2006. One of his most famous interiors was the original Windows on the World restaurant on top of New York’s World Trade Center North Tower, which incorporated several different variations on this chair in the reception areas.
Described as looking like a ‘shiny sheaf of wheat’ in the original Knoll catalogue, the structure adapted to love seat, stool and fully upholstered easy chair and ottoman versions which combined lightweight form with comfort. The design was also adapted as tables with the same cylindrical base and even lamp stands in myriad different metals and finishes.
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.
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.