Using digital jacquard loom techniques to create textiles with an artistic quality, as if yarns were paint, EMDAL has translated its unique style into a beautiful hand-knotted rug for FLOOR_STORY. We caught up with Signe Emdal in our Designer Sessions series to find out how she found the move from electronic jacquard looms to the hand-knotting used by our Nepalese makers.
Treating yarn as if it were paint, Signe’s creations are incredibly beautiful and demonstrate the power of an artisan at the top of her craft. Using colour and pattern in unique ways to express inspiration ranging from the nature of summer to inner-self and historic figures, Signe’s work is acclaimed and desired by many, and has been exhibited in the National Gallery of Denmark and the Gallery Direktorenhaus in Berlin. Signe’s famed huggable scarfs and warming blankets have now been joined by a beautiful rug for FLOOR_STORY. In a departure from her usual machine-woven approach, the rug is hand-knotted by our Nepalese artisans in a blend of semi-worsted New Zealand wool and pure Chinese silk.
How would you describe your style and what has influenced your design?
I like to work with ornamentation and get much of my energy from the sea, trees and flowers, but I also look to history, it’s a big influence in my work. The idea of strong and powerful females, among whom I count Queen Victoria, Ingrid Bergman and the modernist Danish artist, Astrid Holm; is also a running theme in my work.
I see myself as something of a translator, taking traditional ideals or inspiration from the natural world and making them relevant to today, as contemporary interior textiles, clothing or installations.
Can you tell us a little more about your designs for FLOOR_STORY and exactly what inspired them?
Signy is the Nordic translation of the Latin name Victoria - referencing Queen Victoria - but also a powerful princess in an old Icelandic tale. Her love and courage is so strong that she decides to follow her husband to his death, side-by-side, into battle.
A representation of these two powerful and strong women, Signy is part of a bigger journey, one of showing kindness and strength as a woman. It’s on behalf of all those females before me that through tireless effort now afford me the position of being able to show my work alongside my male counterparts.
What attracted you to working with FLOOR_STORY and more importantly, the process of rug making?
I wanted to collaborate with a UK brand, since I’ve always felt a great connection to Britain and particularly the style of the Arts & Crafts Movement. I could see that FLOOR_STORY was a bold, positive brand with a contemporary style, yet very much classic beauty. One might say working with Simon was the perfect match.
Rugs have long been a passion of mine, their way of telling stories with ornaments and symbols is shared in the essence of my textile work. It seemed a really natural step to experiment with this tradition that dates back thousands of years. Signy is my very beginning in rugs and I hope that it is a love that endures and marks the start of a long journey into the world of rugs.
Can you describe your new rug?
Signy has a subtle gradient of warm red tones on a pale rose foundation. Red silk represents the strength and fire inside these strong females, the overwhelming feeling of a powerful light. It almost feels like a red lipstick contrasted against a pale Nordic skin tone.
The knotted silk fringes of Signy are inspired by macramé, a knotting technique that made its way to Europe on trade routes from the Arabic world. It was wildly popular home decoration in the Victorian era, although the technique dates back to 13th century Arabia, developed side-by-side with rug making processes.
How does the rug make you feel?
Strong and feminine at the same time. I’m amazed that my energy can translate into a handmade piece of art without having been through my hands. Signy really is a testament to the amazing artisans in Nepal that have breathed beauty into my work through their exquisite abilities and true understanding of their craft.