When sisters Amy and Lucy Kent decided to collaborate on a series of eleven rugs, the result was something unexpectedly beautiful, a “greater than the sum of its parts” deal that merged Amy’s bespoke rug making business with Lucy’s abstract painting.
“Painterly designs are becoming increasingly popular,” explains Amy, “and I knew that Lucy’s abstracts would work fantastically on rugs. We started with one prototype, and it turned out so well she immediately started work on the eleven designs we have now.”
The rugs are designed in Kathmandu using traditional Nepalese weaving techniques, which can produce the detailed patterns necessary to properly recreate Lucy’s paintings in textiles.
“The weavers in Kathmandu are renowned for their detailed creations,” says Amy. “They produce more knots per square inch than a typical rug – we use 150 to get the detail in this collection – and between 20 and 30 colours too, which is crazy. By pixelating the paintings and very carefully grouping together the colours, we were able to create something that’s true to the original while still being realistic to weave.”
“There were lots of cups of tea and long afternoons going through all the colour swatches, trying to match them as best we could,” adds Lucy. “Each rug has on average 30 colours, so you can imagine what an intricate and detailed task that is.”
Portrait and landscape artist Lucy has worked alongside some of London’s most high profile interior designers, and a selection of her paintings (in non-rug-form) are displayed at One Hyde Park in Knightsbridge.
“I’d never collaborated with Amy before,” says Lucy, “but it’s been a really natural fit. We first discussed working together when I was doing abstract pieces in London, but I needed to move into landscape painting before I could have the inspiration for this collection.”
With the ‘Art on Rugs’ series, the sisters hope to generate work and revenue for the regions of Nepal affected by the devastating 2015 earthquake. “I was there three weeks before it hit,” says Amy, “which was surreal. I contacted Kathmandu and spoke to everyone I had met, and they were all safe, thank goodness. But they emailed me to say that what they needed more than charitable aid was work. So I started putting orders through very quickly. They had those orders delivered by Christmas, which when you consider the earthquake hit in April, is just incredible. “I’m going to visit in the next few months and continue the partnership. That’s the main priority, for both parties. They want to get everybody back on their feet and back to business as soon as possible.”
The Art on Rugs collection can be made bespoke to any size in 16 to 20 weeks. Visit amykent.co.uk/artonrugs