I recently spent a week in New York City exhibiting at ICFF as part of a British delegation of design-led textiles and furnishings. I returned to Scotland on 26th May and have only just managed to catch my breath after what was an incredible week chock full of inspiring design, super friendly New Yorkers and lots of yummy deli lunches! What an amazing city. When you’re used to the space and solace of Scotland, Manhattan really blows the mind. I am most definitely a country girl at heart but there is something about this urban jungle I can’t help but love!
The NYC trip was a first step in offering my designs to the US market. Interestingly, although both markets appear keen on my designs (thankfully), there is a clear difference between the expectations of the UK & US markets on the method of manufacture. The UK has always preferred hand-tufted rugs whilst the US is very much in favour of hand-knotted rugs. Why? I think this comes down to differing cultural perceptions of quality. In the US, designer rugs are expected to be created using a hand-knotted technique and this holds as much relevance as the design itself. In the UK, design is King and the modern hand-tufted method of manufacture is quite acceptable as long as it meets a certain level of quality befitting of the design.
On show at the exhibition were the first 3 designs to be released from my hand-knotted wool & silk collection – Phoenix, Jardin & Renaissance. The response was very enthusiastic. Phoenix found its first home in a super cool 10th Avenue NY apartment owned by a lovely couple and fellow exhibitors at ICFF. Jardin is to be custom made for another Manhattan apartment to a massive 15ft x 20ft. Renaissance received the most astonishing love from Casaalmacen, fellow exhibitor and creator of beautiful fabrics in 140 stunning colours. One of my hand-tufted designs, Chinese Garden of Virtue, was also chosen for a NYC project but the client requested it be manufactured in hand-knotted wool and silk – can’t wait to see how that comes to life!
The positive feedback from ICFF means that I will spend more time developing my wool & silk collection, increasing the number of designs available and expanding the size options. I will, of course, continue to expand my hand-tufted collection. My mission has always been to create good design content at the best quality for attainable prices. Hand-tufted rugs fill that role perfectly but my new hand-knotted wool & silk offerings provide an opportunity to create some very special pieces for those individuals looking for contemporary design heirloom rugs.