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There’s a painterly quality to these bespoke rugs

They’re not just custom-made rugs – they’re artworks, too

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There’s a painterly quality to these bespoke rugs

September 07 2011
Nicole Swengley

Anyone looking for a size-specific rug in gorgeous, painterly colours, perhaps with a dynamic, linear graphic, should visit Helen Yardley’s studio. Yardley always has rugs to buy off the peg but is, increasingly, working to commission. “People want something that’s specially made for them, and bespoke designs provide a very personal feel,” she says. “Clients like to work with me and feel they’ve had a hand in the design. And I love working on bespoke commissions because I find myself creating something I wouldn’t otherwise have done.”

A living-room rug “creates a space within a space”, says Yardley, and is the most popular area for a bespoke design. Naturally, the size and colour are crucial: “I recently made a living-room rug for a client who wanted an orangey-yellow mango colour. I was anxious it would look too dark but it worked brilliantly.” Another client recently commissioned a dining-room rug in a dusty aubergine. “The design was very simple – just a hand-drawn line around the border – and this worked well with the table in the centre,” she says.

Yardley’s rugs are made from wool-and-linen or a wool-and-silk mix. “Hand-tufting gives the rugs a lovely texture, while very delicate, fine drawings can be created with hand-knotting,” she explains. Bespoke designs start from £400 per square metre for hand-tufted work, from £525 per square metre for the hand-knotted (the hand-knotted rugs are made in Nepal).

As a first-time Decorex exhibitor, Yardley will unveil a new collection at the show, which includes the dynamic 100 per cent New Zealand wool Force (in cerise, first picture, from £2,400 for a 180cm x 230cm rug), the hand-knotted wool Universe (second picture, £3,675 for a 200cm x 250cm rug) plus a wall hanging in hand-painted and stitched wool felt (£1,150). “Although complex to make, you can use vivid colours so they look like paintings but with a very textural quality,” she says. But then her rugs are all essentially artworks too.