Blog words by Karen Stansfield
Andrew Warburton is a keen walker and photographer, forever collecting inspirational imagery from adventures over hill and dale. Sharing journeys with Andrew involves periodically stopping to capture the beauty of ploughed meadows and for me join him as an `Arabitur et inebriabo prati FANATICUS’ (ploughed meadow enthusiast).
This enthusiasm has enriched his creative portfolio and led to a commission from Filmmaker Alistair Macdonald, who is also a keen hiker and walker from Marsden, West Yorkshire.
The commission came about indirectly through Creative Scene, an Arts Organisation in West Yorkshire. Creative Scene mission statement is to `encourage, invest and support’ the communities of North Kirklees to embrace the Arts and make it part of their every day. Within this they support local Artists with business support, networking, and commissioning were interested in showcasing the Textile heritage of this local area and commissioned filmmaker Alistair Macdonald to produce films capturing its vibrancy and diversity with a series of films called 'Woven'. They introduced Alistair with Andrew Warburton of Area Rugs and Carpets based in Mirfield to make a film about the artistry of Hand Tufting. During the filming Alistair gained understanding of the whole designing and making process, this led him to commission Andrew to design and make a companion of rugs for his home.
Being a keen hiker and walker with his dog Rona, with a love for the natural landscape, Alistair wished the rugs to emulate a ploughed meadow and compliment the work of fine art print artist Paul Nash who’s prints were displayed in his home. With Andrews’ strong pictorial portfolio of ploughed fields and crops, Alistair had a wealth of imagery to look through. Alongside this is, Andrews’ extensive knowledge of the materials and the making process. There are a multitude of combinations of yarns and its execution upon the stretch canvas to realise the concept.
Moving from the consultation and idea stage, Andrew worked on two dimensional designs for Alistair’s perusal taking into account the size of the room and seating position around the final rug . With various background colours to choose from to match to the interior scheme, an initial sample was created to show 4 of the different appearances that the final rug would look like with the ‘Green Shoots’ colour already being agreed on. Once the background colour was approved, it is taken forward into producing a final hand tufted samples, this gives the client a real version to see, hold and feel and make sure that the colours worked in the interior.
The making of the rugs is onsite at Area Rugs studio/workshop in Mirfield, West Yorkshire.
You can see from the hand tufting process is built up in stages, first defining the drawn line and then building up the density of the ‘soil’ furrows using a loop pile in a rich combination of brown, purple and slate grey. The `green shoots’ pile is added next using a cut pile several millimetres higher in a sumptuous, fresh green pure wool yarn.
Once the hand tufting rugs is completed, they are checked by eye and any yarn protruding above the agreed height is trimmed by hand. They are backed on the frame and then removed and laid upon the floor to finish the edges turned and trim and neaten any remaining tufts.
Andrew prides himself on providing excellent customer service through every stage of the commission. The rug was personally hand delivered and installed in situation to the Alistair’s wishes. During the installation Alistair’s Rona dog was perplexed by the rugs, one would suspect due to it’s realism in structure but unusual scent!
The above hightlights how the holistic and natural tendency of an Artist to be intrigued by the wonders of the everyday and how it inspires - Karen Stansfield