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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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