Warp & Weft exhibited at the recent International Contemporary Furniture Fair 2012 with the results of a special project that has been nearly one year in the making. Last fall the company was the sponsor of Contemporary Creations: A Rug Design Competition for upper division Textile/Surface Design Program students at the Fashion Institute of Technology. The competition was designed to be the students’ first assignment for the Fall 2011 semester in their “Custom Rug and Carpet Design” class – led by Deborah Hernandez, adjunct professor.

A jury of esteemed design industry professionals and journalists selected the five winners from a group of 24 entries. While Warp & Weft had originally planned to translate into rugs only one of the two top designs to show at ICFF, they have in fact made two: Full Circle by Denize Sofia Maaloe and Kaleidoscope by Charlotte Rodiere. Following the show, they have become a part of Warp & Weft's Designers’ Studio Collection.

Full Circle –For her design, Maaloe chose to make a sun-print of sage, an herb known for its home blessing properties. The sun-print creates a vintage and crafty feel and she used the Van Dyke Brown printing process to achieve this effect. The design was made into a 6’x9’ rug, hand-knotted in Nepal. Hand-carded and hand-spun Himalayan wool was used for the dark-brown background and a blend of wool and Indian mulberry silk for the leaves. The wool and silk were tweeded in various proportions to create the effect of layering and translucency. There is also an irregular edge along the border of the design in pure white silk, which creates a nice finish for the rug.

Maaloe shared her thoughts: “I am, very excited to be working with Warp & Weft and to have my work shown at ICFF. My goal, as a designer, is to use textiles to express the ideas that I believe in deeply - sustainability, living ethically, etc. I wanted the design to evoke a feeling of peace and healing, I wanted it to be grounding and to be very tactile and textured. The imagery, the colors and the fibers all helped to realize this vision.”

Kaleidoscope –Strong geometric shapes and kaleidoscope effects largely inspired this design. The rug features a bold pattern made of angular shapes and strong colors on a neutral ground. This 6’x9’ hand-tufted rug features colorful triangles made of luxurious semi-worsted Merino wool in tip-sheared texture, along with a shimmering white background made of a blend of wool and twisted silk in cut pile.

Rodiere said, “With this challenge I had to think of my pattern in scale for the first time. It was a great exercise to see how a motif can come to life on a big surface like a rug. As part of the design process, we went to the Warp & Weft showroom to view their rugs and learn about the different processes used to make them. I was really drawn to the technique of using different pile heights to create pattern and texture. I loved the idea of making a pattern without drawing it, just by suggesting the shape with the length of the fibers.”

“I am delighted to have been able to take part to the Warp & Weft competition and I’m also very proud to see my work exhibited at ICFF. It’s my first professional project and I am thrilled to see it happening in NYC,” she added.