Following up the last post on artist-designed carpets…more creative carpets! These “temporary contemporary” rugs, however, are all made by one Dutch design group, conveniently called WE MAKE CARPETS. Marcia Nolte, Stijn van der Vleuten and Bob Waardenburg “mix traditional skills and a critical view of the consumer society in unusual carpets”. And they do this with common household objects (like pasta, paperclips, clothespins and coffee) and upload the (fantastic) results to WordPress (Jeremyriad’s blog platform of choice).
Before we get to the awesome, let’s begin with a bit of education from Dennis Elbers, curator of The Graphic Design Museum, Breda, The Netherlands.
The word [carpet] is derived from the Persian ‘tafta’ and literally means woven. Weaving carpets is a centuries-old tradition, which flourished in (Flemish) Brabant in the 13th century. Throughout the centuries, the carpet industry was leading in designing graphic patterns. The decorative carpets were, in this way, at the cradle of what we now call applied art. Owning this labour-intensive product was associated with wealth, prestige and power. The acoustic and insulating function often came in second place.
Still with me? Good. To continue:
WE MAKE CARPETS makes a contemporary interpretation of this centuries-old medium. The weaving method, use of materials and patterns reflect the 21st century. At a distance, we simply see a decorative carpet. Closer inspection will, however, surprise us. WE MAKE CARPETS sampled analog everyday items of use into carpets with impressive sizes. Products that normally have no value once they have been used, such as plastic forks, plasters, paving tiles, pasta, cotton balls and pegs are arranged in an inventive way to form a graphic pattern. WE MAKE CARPETS are inspired by the colour, shape and possibilities of the material chosen. The result is not just a decorative carpet, but an object that makes us think about the consumer society that produces these ‘weaving materials’. A contemporary interpretation of wealth.
How many 99 cent boxes of Barilla pasta does it take to make this? How much pot do I need to smoke to have the patience to “weave” the pasta yet not get so high that I begin to eat the pasta? Is it in bad taste to make a “carpet muncher” joke here?
Despite (or perhaps due to?) the jokes, I’m completely enamored with these beautiful, ephemeral (and sometimes even edible) carpets. It’s a clear case of OCD art in my (four) eyes. Now head down these stairs and through the threshold for a few more glimpses at the unique art of WE MAKE CARPETS.
I love the pattern that they achieve by mixing gold and silver paper clips for this carpet runner. I find this carpet rather elegant, and it’s difficult to come up with a punchline for it. So, in lieu of that, I’m just going to picture someone on rollerskates falling down those stairs. That’s better!
You can do a lot ofcoolstuff with little plastic army men. I used to march them around on the floor of my room, but even with OCD, I never thought to create such a perfect pattern.
OK, I’m going to stop cracking wise. I think these are amazing. I’d love to meet the people who make them, and maybe even help construct a carpet made of pills or pens or whatnot. They seem quite nice, and they’ve got a newsletter. In closing: some clothes pins. These carpets hung at The Graphic Design Museum over the summer. (No laundry required.)