Max Gimblett’s new range of floor rugs
New York-based New Zealand designer Lucy Tupu and Max Gimblett have developed a range of 12 rugs from the artist’s lesser-known ink-on-paper works. How did the project start? LUCY TUPU Max and I met in the Fall of 2016 in New York at a Kiwi event. Being a huge fan of his work, I immediately introduced myself. During our chat, I mentioned I would love to visit his studio – the following week we were sitting together in his Bowery studio of some 30-odd years and began discussing a collaboration. I knew this was an incredible opportunity and a very special chance for me to work alongside Max. You drew from Gimblett’s work on paper – what was the appeal? His colourful paintings have deep roots in the New Zealand and New York City art scenes and our goal was to create a collection of rugs inspired by his lesser known works. We chose this medium because we felt it would translate best to the textural, woven form. We considered many artworks before ending up with the final 12 designs that make up the collection. How do you adapt them without losing the spirit of the original work? There are different materials and fabrication techniques to make rugs and carpets. The physical properties of Max’s art lend themselves to be expressed in the traditional hand-knotted technique – silks reflect the careful gilding and carving, emphasising certain lines. The unique dying process of wool conveys the translucency of the colourful inks. Max paints with the mantra “all mind no mind” – a deep brush and mark on paper and his work comes together in an instant. It takes many months to create a hand-knotted rug; this itself gives a new meaning to the work, creating a piece that is intrinsically Max yet incorporating a generational art form that relies on patience and time. Where are the rugs made? Max’s rugs are hand-knotted and produced in Nepal, using local Tibetan wool and silks, and generally take 12 to 16 weeks to produce. All the rugs are certified by Goodweave, an organisation dedicated to ending child labour and forced and bonded labour in global supply chains.