A rug doesn't have to be purely functional; it can be a work of art in its own right. And, as a work of art, it could also be the basis of a commercially viable production run. When Hampshire Cultural Trust launched a project to explore these ideas, print designer, Mariska Parent, jumped at the project..
'The design is highly detailed and I really wasn't sure how it would translate into a rug. When I approached Rug Couture they were incredibly helpful. I sent them the design and they were able to send through a visualisation of how the design would look as a rug. Once I'd decided to go ahead, colour samples were provided enabling me to match my colours exactly. Lee also sent photos of the process at each step of the way, from dying the wool, to photos of the craftsmen hand tufting the rug. It was a delight to see how the rug was made from start to finish.'
'"The whole process ran smoothly from start to finish. I was able to present the beautiful hand tufted rug to Hampshire Culture Trust with pride.'
'My inspiration for the rug design came from the Golden Arrow racing car exhibited in the National Motor Museum in Beaulieu. I loved the art deco form of the car and thought the shapes would translate well into a 2D design. I particularly like the way the car was lit under the museum lights, which created a range of gold hues.'
Hanks of specially dyed wool ready for tufting into Mariska's rug
Mariska's design on the loom ready for the rug-maker with his tufting gun
'The rug arrived at my studio on the date agreed and I unwrapped the parcel with eager anticipation. It was wonderful to see the rug - the result was breathtaking! The craftsmanship, precise colours, crisp detail and quality really did my design justice and gave the stunning results I had hoped for.'
At the time of writing, the Hampshire Cultural Trust are still considering whether to turn the rug into a commercial run. If you'd like to know more, or would be interested in owning a copy of Mariska's Golden Arrow rug, please contact them directly.