The collection takes its name from the Sumi ink used to create the original designs. Inspired by Louise’s love of Japanese aesthetics and the natural world, the eight designs in this concept collection are brought to life through the luxurious combination of colour and material lustre.
“Visual design has the power to intrigue us so that we ask such questions, to point things out we may have overlooked or forgotten, to enrich our environment, both internally and externally and thus our lives. I believe in the ability of design to do all these things and at its very best to ignite a spark, just as it did in me. This is why I created the Sumi 墨 Collection.”
Sumi seeks to continue the long established tradition in rug design of utilising symbolic motifs. A contemporary take on this practice, Louise worked with non-figurative motifs throughout the collection with the aim of imparting the essence of the natural phenomena that inspired it into the interior. All the patterns in the collection will sit well together, as it was conceived of as a whole making them ideally suited to multi-room schemes and larger projects which require a theme. Louise hopes they will inspire their owners and bring a little of the beauty and harmony of nature to the everyday.
All the designs in the collection are available in four carefully chosen colourways, five sizes and in New Zealand wool and art silk via Notting Hill Rugs. They are also available in hand tufted form for contract use. Louise offers a bespoke design service giving customers access to, individual colour and material combinations and custom size options.
Louise discovered the possibilities of design when she was a child when she was drawn to the abstract designs on her mother’s Poole pottery and the different painting styles of her uncle’s. It was a revelation for her to discover that an image could have life and meaning yet not be an obvious representation of the world. This led to a long standing fascination with form and pattern which was cemented when she encountered the work of William Morris as a teenager whose representation of the flow and beauty of nature still inspires her to this day. “My parents are both passionate gardeners who have worked together on their own garden for the last forty years.
The result is a place which has always been my haven, my heaven. Everywhere you look there is something to see, look closer and deeper and that journey starts anew until your eyes can focus no more. I always know I’m labouring under a misdirection. The beauty of nature is unsurpassed but its colours, sights and patterns have always moved me to want to draw them; to try to put something of their beauty down to share with others. The possibility of such shared communication, of such connection has always given me great hope that we might be able to say to others do you see or feel this too?”
“As a student of design I started to work in black and white often using cut and paste. As my work has evolved it has become much more colourful but it’s still often my starting point. There’s nowhere to hide, it forces you to question the marks you’re making, the way you’re using and balancing the space and I like that.” Drawing has also remained a consistent starting point and as result of Louise’s training the repeated drawing and refining of forms.
In this collection she wanted to work with an economy of line; to try to find the root of what it was in the natural phenomena which inspired her, to almost create a kind of notation. “I became very interested in drawing as a form of notation when I was studying for my MA where I translated the Serpentine into sound using simple mathematical means; creating a series of abstract musical scores to accompany the audio.” Through the creation of many drawings Louise arrived at the final elements of the motifs using digital software to transform these into the eight repeat patterns which comprise this collection.
“The visual environment I was exposed to as child had a far reaching and lasting impact on me and the way I see the world. This eventually led me to want to originate my own pieces; to develop my own point of view. It’s my dream to create objects that ignite a spark of emotion or inspiration in their owners just as the design of others has done in me and in that way to bring a little joy to their everyday. This is why I decided to create my own label and a rug collection of my own - the natural convergence of these two parts of my life.” The Sumi Collection is the result of this close collaboration and the artisan craftsmanship of the men and women who produce rugs.