This collaboration of colorful rugs was made possible thanks to the professors and artists RISD
From the textile works of Alexander Calder of the 1970s to priceless Middle Eastern rugs, there is a long tradition of artist and carpet making. From now on, another collaboration will be added to the rich history of these hybrid works. Rhode Island School of Design’s graduate textile program director Anais Missakian, who has worked in the industry since 1984, galvanized RISD– affiliate friends and fellow artists to design a collection of bespoke rugs that is currently on the horizon.
Sahar rugs, a global carpet design company with a Providence showroom, and Loominous Gallery, which has long been a local staple and neighbor to the RISD campus, are teaming up to help with the upcoming launch. “When I got to know Anais over the years, with her wisdom and talent, I thought: We have to do something together and with artists,” Behrouz Sarlak, co-founder of Sahar Carpets, tells AD PRO. “Being able to translate art into a product is incredible. It all starts with an idea.
Founded over 20 years ago, Sahar Carpets has an established philosophy of using minimalist and contemporary designs, organic materials and traditional production processes. While its factory was originally in Iran, in 2007 the looms were moved to Jaipur, India, a creative and colorful center for the textile industry. This is where the collection of rugs by contemporary artists rolls into reality.
“I’ve always wanted to make a rug,” comments participating artist Katy Schimert, 2020 Guggenheim Fellow and Associate Professor at RISD and Head of the Ceramics Department. “As a sculptor, works of art emerge from the grassroots, changing the nature of the image plane from wall to floor drawing…. The opportunity to make a carpet with exquisite craftsmanship and materials will push my design into the realm of the sculptural object.
Like moths on a flickering flame, Schimert, alongside Kevin Zucker, Craig Taylor, and Lisa Pevaroff-Cohn, all immediately felt drawn to the collaboration. The idea germinated for several years, culminating in a beautiful cross-pollination of art and carpet making among friends. The pandemic delayed the project, but certainly did not derail it.
As for the Loominous Gallery, it served as a place where attendees could choose variations in color, pile density and threads for their rugs, with each rug undergoing a highly personalized process. Each singular design will result in a 9 foot by 12 foot carpet. “When we’re all in the showroom, that’s where the magic happens…. The rug becomes a great expression of design creatives, ”says Haynes Robinson, co-founding partner of Sahar Carpets. “The carpet industry is a great way to connect with art and travel the world. It is a way to understand different cultures. “
As well as creating an extraordinary carpet collection, the process brought together the team of like-minded individuals, creating beautiful objects, while finding support throughout a difficult year. “The best part of this collaboration has been a feeling of camaraderie and support to keep working. This year we have all been isolated and worked on our own, so it has been very helpful to be part of a group project, ”adds Pevaroff-Cohn, one of the designers. “My intention with [my] the picture is that no matter the chaos outside, there is always an oasis inside. While each rug is available to order upon request, an exhibition is already scheduled for early next year. The location? Of course, it’s Providence, Rhode Island.