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RUGS| by Roosmarijn Pallandt

A new interdisciplinary research and product development project by Roosmarijn Pallandt has resulted in an exquisite series of rugs from around the world.

By Gabrielle Kennedy / 21-11-2013

RUGS| by Roosmarijn Pallandt is a series of carpets crafted from locally available, natural fibers and yarns. Pallandt opted to avoid employing traditional motifs, which can often lead to clichéd results, and instead opted to use local craftspeople to translate Google Earth images of their own territories into 3D carpets.

One of the most fascinating parts of the process was seeing how people from different cultures translated 2D images into 3D objects.  “This is where cultural and social differences really came to the surface,” Pallandt says.  “How does a 65 year old Tibetan craftsman look at a sand dune, and how does he translate this into fibers, techniques and patterns? And how does this differ from the nomads in Iran? What are their choices for marking the highest point of the sand dune?  These are the sorts of things I needed to learn.”

In every place Pallandt visited she had two carpets produced – one from an aerial picture of the craftspeople’s local landscape.   “And I also gave them a picture of White Sands, New Mexico,” Pallandt says.  “It was interesting to see how they translated a high sand dune unrelated to their own surroundings so differently. The dune came out to be flat in Thailand, a round half-moon in Nepal, and clipped and filled with sheen in Portugal. There was also vast differences in outcome per country because of the various techniques being used.”

The universal base of all carpet design is a simple grid.  Whether this grid is made on a computer in a day, or hand drawn in Nepal in six weeks, all carpet makers use a grid, and each square in that grid is linked to techniques and materials.

“But that is where the similarities end,” says Pallandt.  “Knotting, tufting and weaving techniques depend on culture.  Also how a carpet is produced – in Thailand they tuft by hand using plant and animal yarns and the whole process seems to run smoothly, is organized and fast. In Iran the nomads decide on the patterns. They are proud of their creative eye and even though I could express my preferences and make small adjustments, they were the boss. In a country like Nepal on the other hand production takes time because there is little electricity and communication is slow.”

In her first collection Pallandt decided to only work with natural colours of the materials used.  The results mean that the attention remains on the characteristics of the materials and the possibilities offered by the traditional techniques.  “It soon became clear that it is more challenging to translate the photos into a three dimensional piece using weaving than knotting or tufting,” Pallandt says.  “Also, leaving out added color meant that the craftspeople had to use textures rather than outlines.”

All the rugs exquisitely translate a geographical location and its associated landscape using locally available raw materials.  “My objective with this project was not only to reveal differences in geography, sources, culture and society through design,” Pallandt says, "but also how they relate to each other and how they effect the choices in the process of making the product."

Images, main and left top three: atelier impressions, by Roosmarijn Pallandt
4: FLORA PORTUGAL 2013 - Eucalyptus and sheep wool
5: ICE NEPAL 2012 - Tibetan wool, silk, yak wool
6: SANDS, NEPAL 2012 - Tibetan wool
7: EARTH THAILAND 2012 - jute, wool, linen, hemp, ramie, silk, banana
Rugs images by Gerco de Ruijter.

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