October 13 2010
It seems that artist and designer Deirdre Dyson cannot leave any plain flat surface – be it horizontal or vertical – undecorated. An illustrator for Vogue in the 1970s, she has exhibited her figurative paintings at many galleries throughout Britain, including London’s Albemarle Gallery. But Dyson (wife, incidentally of vacuum-cleaner supremo James) is also a bespoke rug designer. Unlike her paintings, these feature abstract patterns. Dyson has just launched a new collection to mark her 10th year in business, but her forte is creating entirely bespoke rugs, and she has produced a wide range of work, from informal rugs for children’s bedrooms to pieces for reception areas. Alternatively, her latest designs – or, indeed, any from a huge collection of archive pieces – can also be tweaked to meet a client’s exact needs.
The rugs are hand-knotted out of Chinese or Indian silk and Tibetan wool in Nepal or hand-tufted using New Zealand wool in the UK. Silk/wool-mix rugs cost £695 per square metre, wool ones £575.
She has a preliminary meeting at clients’ homes or in her London showroom (at 554 King’s Road) to establish their exact requirements and to discuss how the carpet will best suit the room it’s destined for. “I’ll do an initial sketch, then a hand-painted artwork featuring the proposed colours,” Dyson explains. “This is then transferred to a computer and, once the client is happy, I send the design to the Nepalese or UK producer.”
While tailoring her designs to a client’s precise requirements is paramount, Dyson has her own unmistakable, exquisitely subtle palette. That said, her designs vacillate between being boldly graphic, such as her piece Large Zigzag, and more organic and tentative; witness her Odeon rug (first picture). Dyson also takes the occasional liberty of being playful and pop, her Bubblegum rug (trippy-looking bubbles hovering on a grey background, second picture) being a case in point.