How On Earth Does One Get To Make Designer Rugs?
The other day one of my son’s friends genuinely quizzed me on my profession and asked, “How on earth does one get to design rugs?
I have never heard of anyone designing rugs before , how do you get this job and then how do you do it?
Do you do it on a computer? What program do you use?” the questions were endless.
All this from a 10-year-old!
He was so delightful that it made me stop and think about how I got here and why I do what I do.
From an early age I have always been creative and crafty. I used to draw all the time and one of my fondest memories is making barbie doll clothes and sleeping bags with my mum and Nanna on the sewing machine.
My Nanna was a seamstress and always had various fabric and sewing projects on the go. My mum also loved to sew and so I began my love affair with textiles.
I loved art all throughout high school and went on to major in textiles and sculpture again at university.
Applying and experimenting with textiles, sewing, embroidering, felting and recycling was my thing. Anything that had texture I fell in love with it. I was totally awed by traditional crafting skills passed down from generation to generation particularly in developing countries.
After many years teaching high school Art and Home Economics and amongst raising my young kids I began experimenting with textiles again.
It began with designing and sewing pieces for my kid’s rooms. Felting mats, baskets, making storage, mobiles and decorative items.
From there I started selling my creations at local markets. Jump 12 years later, I have not looked back, my passion was rekindled and my business just went from strength to strength.
So How On Earth Does One Actually Design A Rug?
I’ve never been one to design on a computer (that part always comes last for me) – I’m more of a hands on kind of person - I like to draw, scribble in my diary or any sheet of paper I can get my hands on.
I am a true creative – I’m disorganised in how I operate!
I muck around with colour charts, textas, pencils, and yarn samples. I go back and forth with my manufacturers – sometimes for months discussing the best yarns and weaving techniques.
Lastly, I play around on the computer (Adobe Illustrator). Designs are finalised and sent across to my manufacturer. They then create CAD drawings for the weavers to work from depending on the techniques been used for individual rugs.
I often consult with the master weaver on how a design of mine can be achieved and what the best weave to use is.
I would like to think I have a systematic approach to designing but creativity comes in many forms. I am often learning as I go and learning what can and cannot be done on a loom.
Collaborating and listening to the weavers and sometimes having to adapt my designs is to me what makes a good rug designer.
One of my biggest goals has always been to work alongside and together with our manufacturers and weavers, after all they are the skilful humans that know and create the work for us.
Adding an Australian flavour to their traditional techniques is the space where I my creativity and passion kicks in.
So how on earth does one design a rug? – as a collaborative team!
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