Phoenix symbolism is well known – an iconic, mythical bird that rises from the ashes of fire, representing rebirth, regeneration, endurance, hope, eternity and new beginnings.
Associated with the sun, the magical phoenix was revered by the ancient Greeks and Egyptians. In traditional Chinese culture, the phoenix, referred to as feng huang, was seen as a noble bird with the power to judge the character of humans and give blessings to those who deserved them.
‘Our Phoenix hand-knotted rug was definitely inspired by the Chinese mythology behind this iconic, powerful, immortal bird,’ Wendy explains, ‘she sits well with the other symbols featured in our rugs, but I felt she deserved a rug of her own.’
Considered so auspicious in some cultures, phoenix statues are often found at significant events, such as weddings. Also seen as a symbol of new beginnings, during difficult times the bird is believed to hide away and its reappearance signifies the start of a new, more-prosperous, era.
In feng shui (the philosophy of arranging living spaces to create balance with the natural world), the phoenix is a symbol of good luck. When used correctly, it is said to bring positive energy to your life and home.
Wendy’s Phoenix design is also inspired by the intricate embroidery, flow and fluidity of beautifully decorated Japanese kimonos. At its heart, this luxurious hand-knotted rug features a jewel-bright shimmering phoenix, which represents the cyclical nature of life, rebirth and renewal, set against a soft, tactile, black wool base.
The glorious phoenix is surrounded by chrysanthemums in full bloom and playful, fluttering butterflies; the chrysanthemum symbolises happiness, love, longevity and joy, while butterflies are symbols of good luck and, in artworks, are often used to celebrate long life.
Phoenix is a dramatic design; she is full of power, life and vigour, and yet the delicate, intricate hand-knotting process creates softness, highlighting every fine line and tiny detail. There is strength here, but gentleness too, as fine gold and silver silk threads, which denote the mystical bird’s power, swoop and swirl around the phoenix, adding light-as-a-feather shimmering curves to the dark base.
Pinks, blues, aqua, greens and golds leap out from the black background, while the fine silver and gold threads link every motif, create a sense of flow and connection, reinforcing the idea of rebirth and eternity.
‘I felt Phoenix deserved the drama of a black base,’ Wendy explains, ‘with her contrasting gold and silver swirls depicting her powers. These swirls are in gold and silver silk, they are separate from the florals and the curves are very difficult to achieve. We needed the intricacy of the hand-knotting process for this design to even be possible. The skill of our talented artisans means the results are beautiful.’
We are delighted to introduce our wonderfully dramatic Phoenix hand-knotted rug in a new colourway – green. As we see blossom appearing and new shoots showing, green feels like such a wonderful, fresh addition to those signs of spring.
‘Green is one of my favourite colours, and it sits so well with the silver and pinks in Phoenix, Wendy explains. ‘Green also creates a feeling of fresh growth and as the phoenix often represents new beginnings, it feels like the perfect pairing.’
Hand-knotting may be a labour-intensive process - each rug is individually handmade by our team of artisans in Nepal - but the results are breath-taking. You can read just what is involved in the process in our previous journal, The journey of a hand-knotted rug.
Phoenix is also available as part of the Wendy Morrison Design limited collection of wallpaper, creating a dramatic look for walls as well as floors.
‘I was excited by her curves and Art Deco feel,’ Wendy explains. ‘Admittedly, I may also have been influenced by her dramatic colours, but I also think the way her pattern repeat emerged creates a rich design. Although dramatic, it is also a very gentle repeat pattern with the arch of the touching tail feathers.
‘I also relished the opportunity to have a wallpaper featuring this powerful symbol of hope, joy and rebirth. The design influenced the wallpaper colours. Phoenix Black seemed obvious, but Phoenix Green uses the same imagery and feels completely different,’ Wendy says.
‘Green is one of my favourite colours, and it sits so well with silver and pinks here. Green also creates a feeling of fresh growth and as the phoenix often represents new beginnings, it feels like the perfect pairing.’
As well as bringing an elegant touch of drama to walls and floors, Phoenix Black also debuts on our wonderful new hand-embroidered crewel cushions, which are a stunning way to bring instant joy, colour and intricate hand-crafted pieces into your home. The design also works beautifully on our new carefully curated collection of fabrics. Used on sumptuous velvet, the result is a luxurious, tactile, life-affirming design that will elevate any space. Made in the UK, Phoenix Black Velvet Fabric will bring maximalist style and glamour to curtains, soft furnishings and occasional upholstery.