Archives for category: We Like

Begone earworm! Valentine’s Day is nigh and Tainted Love is on loop in your scribe’s frontal cortex. Soft Cell’s nonpareil cover of Tainted Love featured in the first series of one of your scribe’s favourite telly shows Being Human. Although nominally about a ghost, vampire, werewolf trio, Being Human is really an elegy to love’s trials. So as it’s time to make good on your love pledges with a token, rather than buy a Dremel to engrave your tortured sentiments on a coin, what to do? Purchase Sin Songs, Torch and Romance by Marc Almond? Good call, but your scribe suggests you deliver a grand geste. Buy your love a Valentine’s rug.

Rosas rug (detail) by nanimarquina

Roses rug (detail) by nanimarquina

Devoted readers wouldn’t expect your scribe to suggest spreading the readies for a rug that simpers. No, no. We need a rug that smolders. Roses wool felt rug by Spanish design company nanimarquina looks like the rose petal vision from the 1999 film classic American Beauty made manifest.

Red is central to Sam Mendes’ film. It signifies lust, anger, passion, transgression and danger, and aren’t those the qualities of love? Rarely is love uncomplicated. Rather love is a mille feuille; its thousand leaves are nuanced and shaded like the felt petals in the Rose rug. Chiaroscuro sweeps like a crimson tide from blood red petals to candy apple red, creating a wool felt palette of love’s trials.

So for Valentine’s Day 2013 your scribe recommends you own the multiplicities of your love. Add a soundscape whilst you lounge amongst the petals. The bittersweet sounds of PS22 Chorus singing Tame Impala’s Feels Like We Only Go Backwards delivers hope for love where older voices sound resigned. I hear it inside my head all day. Gather and scatter rose petals while you may. Tainted love begone. DJ

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Roses rug (detail) by nanimarquina

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News of the recent make-over of famous chef Julia Child’s childhood kitchen made your scribe eager to try out a new recipe. But rather than consult her favourite cookery book (not alas one by Child, but rather The Kopan Cookbook), your scribe browsed her groaning National Geographic collection. Ah, there it was. May 1988. How to make felt.

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Snow felt rug by Peace Industry, Spring 2013

Step one. Place a thick layer of fluffed wool on damp felt. (Yes, your scribe realises the apparent inconsistency in requiring felt to make felt. But consider this recipe akin to baking Sourdough bread. Both require a “starter”.) Sprinkle water to dampen the wool and felt layers. Roll the layers around a tent pole. (We’re thinking rumpus room-size rug here readers!) Now wrap the roll in a fresh yak skin so it resembles something akin to a giant California roll. Tie the bundle to the back of your horse. Gallop for hours across a bumpy landscape. Julia Child knew stirring can make or break a recipe, so make sure your yak bundle bounces, as a rough ride is key to compacting the fibres. Exhausted? Too bad. Ride on.

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“Hive” felt rug by Peace Industry, Spring 2013

If like your scribe you have neither the patience nor the opportunity (nevermind the yak) to make a felt rug, then it’s time you met the fine folk at Peace Industry in San Francisco. The husband and wife team behind this wonderful company blend traditional with contemporary to create felt rugs that “bring fun and whimsy to any space without scrimping on style”. Handmade of 100% lamb’s wool, it goes without saying these felt rugs are eco-friendly, but just as important as sustainability and style, their rugs are the Philosopher’s Stone of the rug industry. Peace Industry make felt so much more than a warm, fuzzy material; it becomes the elixer and underpinning of a happy home life.

Want to learn more about Peace Industry? Patience grasshopper. Your scribe can reveal no more until the Spring issue of COVER hits the newstand where loyal readers will discover a feature on Peace Industry. Patience, whether making felt, waiting for the next issue of COVER, or saving to buy a Peace Industry felt rug, is a virtue. DJ

Apartment Therapy asked their readers the interior design $64,000 Question (inflation adjusted maybe half a million): What do you think is the next big thing? While your scribe hankers for Edgaroso’s “trilobites and burlap”, more realistically your scribe has selected Netta as the winning prognosticator. She called it for Art Deco inspired interior design. Others did too, but Netta was the only one who divined a mix of 1920s series 3 of Downton Abbey, and the forthcoming Baz Lurhmann film The Great Gatsby. Underscoring this trend prediction is Designer Rugs‘ new Catherine Martin Deco Collection which feature in Lurhmann’s film.

Black Pearl rug by Catherine Martin

Black Pearl rug by Catherine Martin for Designer Rugs

The winner of multiple awards (Oscars, BAFTA, Tonys etc) for set design, art direction, costume design (as well as being married to Lurhmann), Martin’s new collection features four designs hand knotted from Tibetan wool and silk. She told Vogue Living hand-knotting allows her to create “more intricate designs with gentle carving and a thinner profile.”

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Garden Party by Catherine Martin for Designer Rugs

Westchester (below) is in the scenes of Gatsby’s bedroom (played by Leonardo diCaprio), and was bought for the actor as a birthday present.

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Westchester by Catherine Martin for Designer Rugs

But a word of warning to exuberant Gatsby and Daisy wannabes (or Downton Abbey fans who fancy they have a fleet of servants waiting in the wings) who may be tempted to reckless acts with Martin’s exquisite rug collection. As The Great Gatsby races to its tragic dénouement, the gang attempts to flee New York’s insufferable heat by checking into The Plaza Hotel. Daisy reveals the truth of her love, and as she fumbles with her words she flings her cigarette and burning match onto the hotel carpet. “Oh, you want too much!” she cries to Gatsby. But all your scribe can think is “what about the carpet!” DJ

Snow is falling for the sixth successive day in London. So many snowy days that denizens of the Big Smoke are beginning to lose count of when it started. In doing so we have achieved what your scribe calls “the Dylan Thomas snow conundrum”. The Welsh poet and writer couldn’t remember “whether it snowed for six days and six nights when I was twelve, or whether it snowed for twelve days and twelve nights when I was six.” But nevermind how long and how much more is to come, your scribe presents exquisite snowy hand tufted treasures designed by Ulrika Liljedahl for les Ateliers Pinton.

Liljedahl uses materials that are “noble and novel, traditional and contemporary.” Silvery metallic ribbon beds into the pile of “Interruptions” (above) like ice glinting from the top of a garden maze cloaked in deep powder snow. “Courant” (below) can be imagined as settled powder snow tracked up by multiple skiers and snowboarders.

Ulrika Liljedahl Collection at les Ateliers Pinton stand, Decorex 2012

Ulrika Liljedahl Collection at les Ateliers Pinton stand, Decorex 2012

Is “Polarisation” (below) a magnified interpretation of an icy snowflake? Wilson Bentley – the 19th century Vermont farmer who was the first to photograph snowflakes, said “no two are alike.” And so too Liljedahl’s snowy tufted wonders . Each made by hand and each as delicately variable as a single snowflake falling from London’s goose grey January sky. DJ

Polarisation

Banksy is an urban legend; a famous (and infamous) graff artist, immortalised (amongst other output) for his opening sequence for The Simpsons. But he might might want to take a break from banging heads against brick walls, and instead Stomp! all night across an ingenious “brick wall” carpet by Limited Edition, Belgium.

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Brick leather carpet by Limited Edition. Image courtesy Limited Edition, Belgium.

Loyal readers of COVER’s print magazine (available for digital devices too) will have read our Winter 2012 feature on upcycling. Although Limited Edition’s “brick” rug is not in the print piece, the designer’s clever batched recycling of hundreds of small leather sample swatches deserves attention. Each “brick” is made of multiple swatches stacked upright making a feature of the normally hidden end grain of the leather. “Bricks” are then woven into a carpet. The pattern creates a durable surface that will deflect and defy damage even if you decide to host the hood to a roller disco in your rec room.

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Brick leather carpet by Limited Edition. Image courtesy Limited Edition, Belgium.

Just one warning. By all means disco on your brick rug, but keep your children away from aerosols lest you wake one morning to discover they’ve done a “Banksy” on your bricks. DJ

Brick leather carpet by Limited Edition. Image courtesy Limited Edition, Belgium

Brick leather carpet by Limited Edition. Image courtesy Limited Edition, Belgium

The winning pony in the 2013 Pantone Color of the Year horse race was not bookie favourite blue, but Emerald Green. On the surface a soothing, optimistic colour, did the jury not realise Lucifer first popularised the green gemstone? The red horned, van Dyck bearded and pointy tailed Satan wore an emerald studded crown before he became a fallen angel. Your scribe finds this a cheering thought, as it makes Emerald seem a realistic choice for grim 2013 prognosticators e.g. Sir Mervyn King. If the global economy is going to hell in a handbasket, and the Qatar global warming summit aids the decline of civilization, then three cheers for Emerald Green. It’s both realistic and optimistic.

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“Zorbus”, circa 1950 Swedish wool rug by Marin Hemmingson from Doris Leslie Blau. Photograph courtesy of Doris Leslie Blau.

Your scribe nominates “Zorbus”, a circa 1950 Swedish wool rug from Doris Leslie Blau as the perfect Emerald ambassador for 2013. Rather than the clear teal and jade shades shown in blogs celebrating the new king of colour, “Zorbus” reflects the gemstone’s nuanced colouring and multiplicity of shades similar to the complex colouring of the Smithsonian’s Madeleine Murdock Moghul Emerald necklace. Designed by Marin Hemmingson, and woven by MMF workshop, the rug was once in the collection of the Swedish consulate, New York.

Is Emerald Green a good or bad omen for 2013? It is neither of course. Nevermind the doom and gloom forecasters and whether the world will end tomorrow on the twelfth day of the twelfth month of the twelfth year, “green is good” to paraphrase Gordon Gekko. And that’s good enough for your scribe. DJ

The ascetic aftermath that follows Thanksgiving feasting inspired your scribe to riffle her Colonial American literature and read contemporary accounts of hardship and survival before the New World’s fortunes waxed with tobacco. James I of England blasted tobacco as “lothsome”, “hatefull”, and “harmefull” in his famous (or infamous if you’re a fan of “filthie” smokes) A Counterblaste to Tobacco (1604). But whilst the King condemned the sin, he loved the sinners whose colonial crops provided the Crown with plenty of filthie tobacco tax lucre.

Trigance 100% linen rug in Tobacco by Rose Tarlow Melrose House. Photograph courtesy Rose Tarlow Melrose House.

Love it or loathe it, the cultural and historical significance of tobacco is unabated, and smokey cured fugitive tobacco leaf colour remains resolute as a design inspiration. Venerable US design firm Rose Tarlow Melrose House has several desirable and sublime tobacco coloured rugs in subtle patterns and natural linen weaves.

Rose Tarlow Melrose House Ollie Stripe Irregular 100% linen rug in Tobacco/Oat. Photograph courtesy Rose Tarlow Melrose House.

Your scribe suspects that were the RTMH 100% linen cut and loop weave tobacco “Trigance” rug rolled up and pushed through a wormhole to 17th century colonial America, the fortunate tobacco farmer whose keeping room the rug fell into, might wonder what English merchant ship delivered it but otherwise would not question its suitablity for his home. So too if “Trigance” were arrayed in front of your scribe’s wee Dimplex fire, the look would be equally contemporary and would prove the tipping point for when a luxury does indeed becomes a necessity. DJ

The portmanteau word “carpetalogue” is the delightful moniker created to describe the ‘pages’ – i.e. carpets – in the current exhibition at Gallery Libby Sellers, London. Celebrating art and design studio M/M (Paris), the singular exhibition title is interpreted by your scribe as a witty contemporary update of the traditional festschrift – a volume of essays by different writers celebrating a remarkable individual. Instead M/M (Paris) – with a little help from their friends – celebrate themselves. And rightly so. Carpetalogue recognises M/M Paris’ twentieth anniversary and publication of the studio’s monograph.

Fumetsu rug M/M Paris. Photograph by Gideon Hart. Copyright the artists and photographer. Image courtesy of Gallery Libby Sellers.

Fumetsu rug M/M Paris. Photograph by Gideon Hart. Copyright the artists and photographer. Image courtesy of Gallery Libby Sellers.

The designs of the four hand knotted wool rugs (limited edition of twelve each) are drawn from the visual lexicon of M/M Paris, and made in Varanasi, India under the design direction of Gallery Libby Sellers and Abhishek Poddar, whose art/design credentials include carpet projects with Takashi Murakami and Julian Opie.

Sirene rug M/M Paris. Photograph by Gideon Hart. Copyright the artists and photographer. Image courtesy of Gallery Libby Sellers.

Michaël Amzalag and Mathias Augustyniak established M/M (Paris) as a graphic design studio in 1992. Their “free forms” graphic style is noteworthy on many levels, not least because the duo have elevated the furiously fast and dense ink doodles (e.g. Sirene above) familiar perhaps to many COVER readers from their own school notebooks, to the realm of fine art and design. Rather than a pejorative critique, this observation is a commendation to M/M Paris for pushing into the mainstream an art form practiced even before medieval secular illuminators inserted often quite naughty “doodles” in the marginalia or inside back covers of folios they were tasked to hand-illuminate.

Notebook page, M/M Paris. Photograph by Gideon Hart. Copyright the artists and photographer. Image courtesy of Gallery Libby Sellers.

Exhibition installation photograph copyright Ed Reeve. Photograph courtesy Gallery Libby Sellers.

Fitzrovia is London’s new gallery quarter, and on the last Thursday of each month the galleries host a late night. Gallery Libby Sellers is part of these festivities, and not only can COVER readers enjoy the Carpetalogue exhibition until 9 p.m., they can benefit from Libby Sellers’ “penchant for second hand books”, as the gallerist is creating a one night only pop up shop to sell some of her design book collection. Sharp elbows at the ready, your scribe will be there at the bell to dive into Sellers’ exhibition and book cornucopia. DJ

Today is Thanksgiving in the United States of America (also known as the “Magnited States of America” to a former customer of the no talkin’, no textin’ Alamo Drafthouse cinema in Austin, Texas.) A national holiday, it’s a day to give thanks, tuck into a Bacchanalian feast and bagsy the best seat for the telly, or (preferably) get the app and watch the live stream from traffic cameras on the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade route.

The downside to the feast? Leftovers. A tonnage of Tupperware holding fragments of food. Fine for Black Friday, not so fine on Saturday, Sunday and Monday. Would there were a way to adapt leftovers using the methodology of the fine folk who create the recycled, hand crafted RAW Rugs collection.

RAW rugs are the antithesis of Regretsy-style upcycling. An initiative of Union 18 design studio in Atlanta, Georgia, the studio’s principals Meg and Todd van der Kruik use rug strips discarded at source by the carpet industry. Pickings are good, as Georgia hosts numerous carpet manufacturers and boasts a city known as “the carpet capital of the world”.

RAW bespoke rugs grace the high concept suites of The Residences at W Hollywood, located at the legendary intersection of Hollywood and Vine in Los Angeles. If that weren’t endorsement enough for RAW rugs, photography of the rugs in situ were taken by the equally legendary photographer Tim Street Porter.

The Residences at W Hollywood, RAW carpet. Photograph copyright Tim Street Porter.

RAW rug, Union 18, Atlanta, Georgia, USA

Fancy a gorgeous RAW rug? Send them a colour palette or pages ripped from magazines or that rusty bit of metal you’ve hoarded as a potential colour match. The build process takes 2-6 weeks once the layout is approved. Union 18 will involve you in the design process or you can sit back and watch telly safe in the knowledge that someone else’s leftovers will become a fine rug for you to treasure for many Thanksgivings to come. DJ

Grayson Perry, Royal Academician, Turner Prize winner and fêted contemporary British artist? Meet Marguerite Zorach. Several years ago your scribe hit pay dirt in a charity shop. Ann Wiseman’s 1969 book Rag Tapestries and Wool Mosaics introduced your scribe to American modern artist Marguerite Zorach (1887-1968), and it was Zorach herself who introduced Wiseman to the art of hand-hooked rugs. Although Zorach is undeservedly little known in Europe, your scribe nevertheless suspects Perry’s tapestry series “The Vanity of Small Differences” owes a direct or indirect debt to Zorach. COVER has been granted exclusive permission by Zorach’s grandson to publish the following image.

The Ipcar Family at Robinhood Farm, Maine” (1944) by Marguerite Zorach. Copyright Dahlov Ipcar. All rights reserved. Photograph courtesy Robert Ipcar (the young boy with the airplane). Click to view a larger image.

With a mastery of multiple media and diverse stylistic influences from the Fauves to folk art, it would underserve Zorach to classify her solely as “a textile artist”. Zorach’s prolific output includes domestic tapestry panoramas, but unlike Perry’s tapestries, Zorach created each with her own hands. Choosing as her subject what others might see as rote domestic mundanity, Zorach knew these vignettes were fleeting treasures, and she captured her genius loci in an intimate way that allows subsequent audiences to feel kinship with her view of “earthly paradise”. Her work also contradicts the claim “Tapestry is the art form of grand houses”. So revelatory is Zorach’s technique, delivery and subject matter, your scribe has no qualms placing her on a par with British artist Sir Stanley Spencer.

Country Evening by Marguerite Zorach, c. 1940. Oil on canvas. Copyright Dahlov Ipcar. All rights reserved. Photograph courtesy Gerald Peters Gallery, New York.

The Zorach story did not end with her death in 1968. Her daughter Dahlov Ipcar (born 1917) is a well-known American artist, illustrator and writer. For those like your scribe who lament they will never own a Zorach tapestry, there is good news. The Classic Rug Collection licensed a selection of Ipcar’s illustrations and translated them into limited edition hand-stitched pillows and rugs. Barbara Barran, Founder and President of Classic Rug Collection told your scribe, “I gave one of these rugs to Dahlov, who put it in her bedroom, then did an oil painting of the rug in her room. Chaming! The painting sold immediately.”

Your scribe is only willing to share the news of Classic Rug Collection’s Dahlov Ipcar limited edition because she has already bagsied her trove. For the rest of you? Get in there quick before Grayson Perry buys up the lot. You will be buying the best of American art. DJ

Celeste by Dahlov Ipcar. Wool on cotton rug. Classic Rug Collection. Design copyright Daghlov Ipcar. Image courtesy Classic Rug Collection.

Lion by Dahlov Ipcar. Wool on cotton pillow. Classic Rug Collection. Design copyright Daghlov Ipcar. Image courtesy Classic Rug Collection.