Won­der­ful weave world

Western Suburbs Weekly - - News -

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.”

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