Mae’s focus is on contemporary rug design, but it’s her boundless curiosity about the process, craft and possibilities of rug-making that is her true secret sauce.
When Mae approached me to work on a rug collaboration, I was thrilled by the opportunity to diversify my design abilities. I dived into ideas mode, making fabric and paper collages in my studio, thinking I could visualise the end product this way, but it turns out I had no idea how everything would turn out.
A true collaboration
Mae brought her curiosity to my simple designs, rendering them into three-dimensional life as beautiful handmade rugs – of a dizzying array of shapes, sizes, materials and textures!
Her rug-making knowledge of materials and technique brought texture and dimension to my visual compositions, and the meeting of two worlds is what makes the outcome a true collaboration.
Inspired by sunshine
As with the recent Skinny laMinx fabric design Shard, my inspiration for the repeated shapes on the two rug designs Blocks & Angles and Mini Shapes came from light falling through venetian blinds in our livingroom at home.
Mae commissioned her rug makers to create these ideas across a dizzying range of options, bringing my collages to three-dimensional life… in multitudes!
The effect of seeing the same design created as a simple kelim, alongside a super soft hand-knotted bamboo silk rug, next to a high-contrast hand-tufted rug, beside a rough hand-knotted Jute rug too, is quite kaleidoscopic…. and even more so when you notice Mae’s delightful addition of ombre dyed ‘unicorn’ fringes.
A surprising addition – Fabric Swatches
Fabric Swatches is another rug design in this collaboration – yet another impressive testament to Mae’s curiosity and vision, as I hadn’t intended it as a rug design at all!
While visiting my studio, Mae spotted a fabric collage on my pinboard, made up of our offcuts (see above). This, she decided, should become one of the rugs in the collaboration.
Once again, when commissioning the artisans, Mae requested Fabric Swatches to be rendered across a variety of materials and techniques, from high-pile Berber, to Jute Sumek to a shaggy Rayon and Linen mix.
The Master Weavers
A truly charming feature in this collaboration is that the small Skinny laMinx bird logo has been woven into the corner of each of the rugs.
With no pattern supplied for this bird, it was up to each artisan to figure out how to create it in the materials, and the result is that each bird is charmingly, wonkily different.
While creativity, colour sensitivity and uncommon choices are both important in the creation of a beautiful rug, the hands of a skilled artisan are the true make-or-break factor.
What a delight it is to have this reminder of the third collaborator – less visible, but utterly essential – participating in this beautiful design collaboration.
Find the Mae Artisan Rugs showroom at 59 Roeland Street, Cape Town.
Our collaboration rugs are sold exclusively by Mae Rugs, and are available to be made to your specifications.