Amy Kent and I have collaborated on 14 different animal rugs with my Meerkats, Monkey, Panda, Penguin, Rhino, Dachshund, Tiger, Elephants, Whale, Flamingo, Zebra, Giraffe, Hare and Kingfisher designs – all of which can be found on Amy Kent’s website under ‘Art on Rugs’.
Amy Kent rugs are exquisitely handknotted in India and Kathmandu using traditional techniques. The first stage is to dye material for the individual rug – the ‘dye master’ mixes the exact amounts of pigment needed to colour up the shades chosen, and the wools and silks are turned by hand in vats until he approves the colours.
The yarn is then hung out to dry in every available space, often covering rooftops. Once dried, the wool and silk are hand spun to the correct ply thickness needed for the knot number. Finally the yarn is gathered into balls ready for weaving. Each piece is hand knotted on the loom, depending on its size sometimes up to 8 people can be weaving in unison together.
Graph paper depicting the design is hung above and they knot the design completely by eye. Once the weaving is complete the rug is then washed with water and a chemical to clean and make it colour fast – it is then put out to dry on a rack that also stretches it to the right size.
Finally the rug goes into ‘finishing’ where it is hand bound and hand trimmed to the right pile height. Only when it is thoroughly checked and approved is it ready to be sent. You can see photographs of this process on Amy Kent’s website.
The rugs are made to order so that size and colour can be chosen and customised. Rugs can be square, round or runners and designs can be adapted to this purpose with site visits where possible. Amy has a huge selection of colour tufts to choose from.
Amy Kent Bespoke Rugs works with a charity in Kathmandu and India called Care and Fare which ensures that no child labour or any other unethical practices are employed during the making of the rugs. Amy also supports schools in both regions by organising private fund events.