Image: Morgan Ashard
July 07 2010
Tucked away in an inconspicuous old vicarage in leafy Bath, you’ll find something of a Holy Grail in the interiors world: bespoke carpets.
The brainchild of designers Stephen Morgan and Elizabeth Ashard, Morgan Ashard bespoke carpets are handmade by skilled artisans in Nepal who use ancient techniques, the finest hand-carded and spun Tibetan wool, and pure silk yarns. A broad design palette means that the duo can cater to virtually any room style, colour scheme or space.
“We’re working on some really modern designs based on 18th-century embroidered textiles at the moment,” says Ashard, “and an architect recently commissioned us to design a set of carpets (third picture) with an organic feel for a home he built in Scotland, by the sea.”
The pair discuss design ideas with the client, often inspired by drawings and patterns that relate to the space, or – in the case of the architect – photographs of the surrounding landscape. “The Scotland project was inspired by nearby rock formations – the carpets were truly unique to the building,” says Morgan. The final design is then drawn up digitally to create the pattern.
Costing from £500 per square metre, plus design fee, the carpets take about 14 weeks to complete, depending on size, and all carry the GoodWeave label, meaning that each is ethically produced and child-labour free. Each one is hand-knotted at 100 knots per 25mm square (ensuring that the carpets retain delicacy of design but are equally hard-wearing), and this takes time – a skilled artisan knots around 10cm of carpet per day.
But the design process begins many miles away, in Bath: “Often we’ll visit the space we’re designing for, but it usually all starts with a cappuccino at the vicarage.”