The Arts and Crafts Rug Movement: A Journey to the Past…

When it comes to rugs and carpets, design is one of the factors that are taken into consideration by those who purchase such products.  Aside from materials and quality, the design of any rug or carpet matters greatly if you want your floor piece to create a unique impact and add an elegant appeal to your home.  Regardless of the theme of your home interior, adding a classical rug with a hint of the past can make a big difference.

Let your guests be awed by your magnificent home furnishings especially your rug, which can very well be the centerpiece in your living room.  What can make it even more amazing is if it carries with it a touch of the ARTS AND CRAFTS MOVEMENT which originated in the 19th century in Great Britain.  In case you are not familiar with this movement, it was supported primarily by people dedicated to achieving high quality craftsmanship in terms of house furnishings.

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This Voysey rug has the design and skill so prominent in the Arts and Crafts movement. The floral detail and vibrant colors come together to create an overall stunning image.

The ARTS AND CRAFTS MOVEMENT, founded by William Morris, took pride in their simple but beautiful handcrafted items.  The inspiration of laborers supporting the movement at that time sprouted from the belief that humans should be treated as workers with creativity rather than mere tools that worked monotonously.  With Morris on their side, the movement led to the formation of Morris, Marshall, Faulkner & Co. which was later renamed Morris & Co. where they offered their creations such as fabric, furniture, wallpaper, tapestries, stained glass, etc., all of which were created with decorative arts as a key ingredient.

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Another great Voysey rug, this time with a muted palette that compliments the prominent pattern.

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A second quarter 20th century William Morris style rug, with an emphasis on the rich designs of the Arts and Crafts movement.

Greek Key in Rugs – Accentuating What is Common to us All

The most common design used in ancient rug making is the Greek Key (Fret). This design is basically characterized by a meandering pattern, taken from the twisting and winding Meander River in Turkey. Why was Greece connected with this design when this river is located in Turkey? The reason is that: in ancient times, when this particular carpet style was formed, Turkey was under the occupation of Greece. Since the ancient Greeks were basically eclectic in their approach, the cultures of other countries they occupied were used and applied in their own native land.

ImageModern Greek Key rugs and carpets have taken up this particular motif from the design of the mosaic floors in ancient Greek and Roman structures. This motif can be considered as one of the oldest art forms in human history. In fact, it can’t really be ascertained if this design form started with the Greeks. Some historians have indicated that it may have originated as far back as the Minoan Civilization, from the first inhabitants of Crete.

The interesting thing about the Greek Key is that it can also be found in numerous ancient civilizations including that of the ancient Aztecs and even in Chinese culture. Some historians attributed this to the elemental ideas prevailing in humans whatever the time period is, causing this design pattern to arise independently in varied cultural settings. It is then safe to consider that since this motif has appeared in almost all of the countries in the world, it must appeal to something that all peoples have in common.

tnw520-bb3033This early 20th century Chinese rug has a variation of the Greek Key on its borders.

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An early 20th century Samarkand rug has a similar version of the Greek key to the Chinese rug.

And because of its common appeal, we now have Greek Key (Fret) designs in modern day carpets and rugs. Our collections of these types of rugs will surely find resonance in the hearts of many people.

ImageA modern version of the Greek Key.

Art Deco/Art Modern Rugs – Streamlined and Sleek

If you like the beauty of simple and clean lines in modern houses, as well as in various house furnishings, it means you appreciate the value of Art Deco/Art Modern. This style is characterized by streamlined artwork such as clean lines and curves as well as bright colors, as opposed to the traditional intricate lines and ornate curves and dark colors of the past. This modern style originated in the period between the two world wars mainly initiated by the Bauhaus movement. The term Art/Deco was first used in L ‘Exposition Internationale des Arts Decoratifs et Industriels Modernes which was held in Paris after World War I.

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The curvy and clean lines in this Art Deco Rug separate the soft tones of beige and browns, to help create a modern standout pattern.

The excellent reception given by the public to the superior elegance of the custom made interiors at the expo paved the way for interior designers to follow suit. Aside from the interior designers, other craftsmen, artists, and manufacturers all over Europe and America began to incorporate the innovative aesthetic ideas of Art Deco/Art Modern in their works. The streamlined character of the decorative arts of what is called the Machine Age began to appear in rugs and carpets in the mid-1920s to the 1930s.

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 A second quarter 20th century Art Deco rug exemplifies the art deco style with layers of abstraction and color.

At this time, dramatic changes in styles and patterns began to appear in furnishings and other decorative products. But the fad died a natural death in the 1940s. However, it came bouncing back in the late 1980s and through the 1990s. This modern art style is captivating because of its combination of versatility, luxury, function and cacophony of colours.

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Art Deco/Art Modern is essentially eclectic in nature because it combines Aztec and Egyptian elements. It makes extensive use of pyramidal shapes and strong and sharp angles. This art style also combines metal furniture with lacquered woods, together with geometric glass shades. You would be correct to say that some of its elements are caricature-like in appearance.

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Geometric shapes mixed with sharp angles and in this early 20th century French Art Deco rug.

 

 

Kim Alexandriuk Featured in Interiors Magazine!

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“For Alexandriuk, it was an exciting challenge to compose within such a bold and rigorous frame.  She came well prepared for the task, having spent part of her childhood in Germany, studied fine arts in France and worked for Michael Smith before setting up her own office in Santa Monica in 1999.  That experience, her eclectic tastes and two years with the Getty Conservation Institute gave her a keen awareness of materials, complementary forms and the refined details that enrich any interior.”

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“TATTOO” RUG BY KIM ALEXANDRIUK FOR DORIS LESLIE BLAU.

Kim Alexandriuk

“For me, design is an organic process, absorbing the spirit of the architecture and landscape and seeing how the clients live.  The owners didn’t want to bring any furnishings with them, so I collected pieces over eighteen months, stored them in Los Angeles until the house was ready and then trucked them up.  I wanted the interior to feel casual but well curated, with beautiful compositions that the owners might have developed over time.” – Kim Alexandriuk

Kim Alexandriuk

“The whole job was a balancing act,” admits the designer. “The clients had different priorities: He wanted crisp modern lines, she wanted warm and comfortable, so I had to find middle ground while winning them over with the beauty and variety of modern design.”

Featured in INTERIORS Magazine October/November 2013.