The Arts and Crafts movement was one of the most important developments in the world of design, beginning in England in the 1860’s and quickly spreading to Europe and the United States. The idea is both beautiful and universally true. All human beings have the need for artistic expression, and when given the opportunity and training, magnificent art can be created by almost anyone. William Morris, a Renaissance man if there ever was one, is considered the father of the movement
and is one of my all time favorite historical figures.
So when I began to work on my new Arts and Crafts rug designs, I traveled to England’s Coltwalds region to research the rugs produced by William Morris and Company at the turn of the twentieth century. Designated an “Area of Outstanding Beauty” in 1966, I am sure that this region greatly influenced the natural aspects of color and design elements used in Morris’ rugs, wallpapers and fabrics. During my stay, I was fortunate enough to tour his beautiful home and studio and took back to Bucks County a suitcase stuffed with sketch books full of design ideas.
The theme of Arts & Craft rugs is one of larger stylized natural elements such as leaves, flowers and vines in usually more loose or rustic weaves that offer a rich texture often with intended abrash or subtle color variations. One of my professors once said that there really isn’t anything new in design, just a reworking of existing ideas. I found this to be true even with the William Morris rug designs. Many of the individual design
elements are very similar to those found in old Persian Sultanabad and Oushak rugs and the acanthus leaves with vine movements quite often look like those found in antique Flemish tapestries and Savonnerie eighteenth century carpets. It was his combination of these intrinsically beautiful elements, scale of design and color
combinations that made this a fresh new style.
Arts and Craft style rugs are most frequently showcased in interior design magazines such as Architectural Digest and Veranda in rooms decorated with Stickley or Mission style furniture – simplistic without ornamentation. I myself have designed rooms for clients with Arts and Craft rugs that were Mid-Western rustic and even modern décor.
Whatever your style, I encourage you to explore these wonderfully decorative rugs for your own home of office.
Happy Rug Shopping!