Wonderful weave world
A SPLASH of paint that artist Dena Lawrence flicked on to the canvas by mistake takes days for weavers to painstakingly recreate at her carpet production centre in Kashmir, India.
The idea to translate her abstract artworks into 100 per cent silk carpets first came to Lawrence three years ago.
“I was having some of my designs made into scarves, and the person helping me said: ‘Why don’t you make them into rugs instead?’ and I immediately thought that was worth exploring,” the Wembley Downs resident said.
Lawrence, who founded the art therapy program at Hollywood Private Hospital, said she was taking time off treating patients for the next month to run a popup shop in Subiaco.
“This is the first time I’ve had a collection to put out there because the production process is so long and difficult,” she said.
“First I send through a digital image of my painting, which they make into graphs and then translate it into carpet language for the weavers.
“Each pixel has a different symbol, so the weavers have piles of pages to look at.
“In traditional carpets there are about five or eight different colours, but my carpets use about 36 colours. It takes the weavers five to six months to weave each carpet.”
Lawrence said she travelled to Kashmir at least three times a year.
“The weaving of these carpets is also helping keep the carpet industry alive, which has been corrupted due to the conflict there over the past many years,” she said. “Usually they get paid per square foot, but I pay them on a wage.
“It’s more stable for them, but it also means there are no shortcuts. They are so incredibly talented; have been over-awed with their work.”