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532 Annette St
Toronto, ON, M6S 2C2
Canada

4169349771

CREATIVE MATTERS INC.

INSPIRED FLOOR AND WALLCOVERINGS

Our mission is to design and create exceptional, original, high quality and ethically produced floor and wallcoverings

Narrative Threads

The grand reopening of Canada House in London with 29 carpets

Lydia Stone

February 19 was a particularly exciting day for Creative Matters. We were finally able to reveal a project that had involved all our designers for many months in 2014 - no less than 29 area rugs with very different designs for Canada House in London.

The MacDonald Room rug features the largest rug (38 feet by 26 feet) in Canada House. It was inspired by "Foothill," one of four of Sean William Randall's works we transformed into carpet designs. Photo: ©Ben Blossom

The MacDonald Room rug features the largest rug (38 feet by 26 feet) in Canada House. It was inspired by "Foothill," one of four of Sean William Randall's works we transformed into carpet designs. Photo: ©Ben Blossom

Canada House is the name of the historic building on Trafalgar Square that houses the British High Commission (among Commonwealth countries, the main diplomatic missions are called High Commissions rather than embassies). The revitalization of the magnificent building was officially opened by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth and His Royal Highness, The Duke of Edinburgh. Our president Carol Sebert was there to present our work with the unique carpets and to witness the Queen walking upon a Creative Matters floorcovering for the first time. 

The cascading1829 staircase is enhanced by a contemporary handtufted carpet. CMI created a carpet design from original artwork by Vancouver artist Elizabeth McIntosh. Photo: ©Creative Matters

The cascading1829 staircase is enhanced by a contemporary handtufted carpet. CMI created a carpet design from original artwork by Vancouver artist Elizabeth McIntosh. Photo: ©Creative Matters

Interior designers at Stantec, along with the staff at Canada House, had decided the revitalized interior would showcase the best of contemporary Canadian art. In spring 2014, they presented us with scans of relatively small artworks - that had been selected by competition - and asked us to transform them into carpet designs and then handle their production into 100% wool handtufted carpets. 

While the carpet designs were in progress, samples flew back and forth between the designers and the mills to ensure all the colours and special effects would be achieved correctly. Art Director Leah Phillips visited all the mills to manage the handtufting and finishing processes and Carol was in London in December to supervise installation. 

An artisan at the Cabernet Carpets mill in Waterloo, Ont. handtufting the rug for the British Columbia Room. Photo: ©Creative Matters

An artisan at the Cabernet Carpets mill in Waterloo, Ont. handtufting the rug for the British Columbia Room. Photo: ©Creative Matters

Each piece presented its own challenges. For example, how to achieve the painterly effect in 100% wool. Often our designers use "stipples" to emulate the the artist's brushwork in handtufted wool. The handtufting procedure allows for up to five yarns to be inserted at one time, so we can create custom colour blends. The specifications for the Pacific Room rug included 37 of these stipples. 

An example of how a designer specifies colour blends for instructions to the mill. 

An example of how a designer specifies colour blends for instructions to the mill. 

As you can imagine, there was a dramatic range of styles: from the magnificent to the simply elegant. Our designers worked to interpret the intentions of oil paintings, mixed media and photography in subjects that ranged from cranberries and cicada wings to abstract themes such as the play of light on snow, and the Northern Lights.

The Nova Scotia room is home to one of the smaller pieces in the Canada House rug collection. A simple red rocking chair sits atop a design inspired by Wayne Boucher's original artwork. Photo: ©Ben Blossom

The Nova Scotia room is home to one of the smaller pieces in the Canada House rug collection. A simple red rocking chair sits atop a design inspired by Wayne Boucher's original artwork. Photo: ©Ben Blossom

President Carol Sebert celebrates the grand reopening of Canada House on the Laurier Room area rug - a design based on an abstract landscape painting "Northern Lights" by Vancouver artist Billie Rae Busby. ©Creative Matters

President Carol Sebert celebrates the grand reopening of Canada House on the Laurier Room area rug - a design based on an abstract landscape painting "Northern Lights" by Vancouver artist Billie Rae Busby. ©Creative Matters

We plan more blog posts about some of the challenges of this prestigious project. In the meantime, please watch our video Walkable Art Created for Canada House in London