We have written about the age-old Japanese tradition of Wabi-sabi - the discovery of beauty within imperfection - in our previous journal, The Beauty of Imperfection. It feels like the right time to revisit this idea as we delve deeper into the stories of how our beautiful rugs are brought to life - enhanced by the imperfections in all things natural.
Wabi-sabi is a gentle, elegant philosophy that guides us towards a more connected way of living. It is a concept in touch with nature and acceptance of the natural cycle of life - both ideas at the heart of many of our designs. This wonderful concept encourages an acceptance of the beauty of nature’s flaws or differences.
The finished look, feel and opulence of a handmade rug comes from the unique artistry created by the weaver in the rug pile by skilfully using a combination of carving, pile variations and heights to create a 3D texture. The impact of the design comes from the vibrancy, detail and finesse of the colours, details and patterns.
Because all our rugs are hand-dyed and hand-crafted, there are subtle differences between each. Working with natural materials and hand-crafted specialisms brings a unique set of challenges to the design process. We asked Wendy to explain the considerations behind her designs, which offers a fascinating insight into the creative process.
‘One of the main considerations relates to our many neutral rug designs. I have two light colour bases that I am drawn to,’ Wendy explains. ‘As much as I love the contrast of colour on a light base, it is important to remember this product is for the floor and is likely to be walked over repeatedly!
‘For this reason, it is sometimes more practical to use my slightly more off-white shade; she is not a bright white, but a warmer, kinder colour that will conceal dirt more readily. In contrast, if the design is composed of lighter shades and is more of a neutral, I would be inclined to use a lighter base - a white, but one that is still relatively soft and kind. The final decision is dependent on the design and is a choice I make with every rug,’ Wendy adds.
The wool and silk yarn used in a Wendy Morrison rug is dyed by hand using traditional methods in small batches - you can see footage of this mesmerising process on our Instagram page - before drying naturally in the sun, which gives a wonderful lustre.
Every effort is made to ensure accurate colour reproduction from batch to batch, however, because of the hand-crafted nature of the process, there is no guarantee of an exact colour match for rugs made from different dye batches. These subtle variations create a truly bespoke rug – every one really is unique.
‘When it comes to deciding which rug might be best for your space, remember that light plays a major role,’ Wendy explains. ‘If there is an abundance of light in the room, it may be easier to carry a slightly more off-white base. It is very much about use and an element of compromise. Ask yourself, “Is the space going to have to work hard with lots of footfall, or is it a space reserved to relax in with minimum wear?”
A question of light
‘Natural lighting versus electric has a huge impact on the appearance of colour, as does the amount of natural light a room gets, which should all be considerations when thinking about what type of rug will work in your space,’ Wendy says.
‘Light varies at different times of the day too. I think all of these light variations are very much a part of the enjoyment of each rug.’ Wendy says, ‘they can create a different look and feel in a space depending on the season, the time of day, the amount of furniture you have in a room, the variety of textiles, the decor. All of these variations should be enjoyed - it is a pleasure to observe how different light affects the mood and feeling of a space.
‘These are all factors we take into account when advising customers, and where our sample and virtual appointment services are really useful,’ Wendy adds. ‘Our experienced team can offer invaluable guidance when it comes to colour matching, positioning and what might work well in your space that you perhaps hadn’t considered.’
The love and care that go into the creation of our rugs is something we are truly proud of and grateful that we work with such skilled craftspeople. Only machine-made items will ever be exactly the same, resulting in a mass-produced look. Our rugs will never be replicated in this way - each one is truly unique.