Translating the complex layered artwork of Australian visual artist Lara Scolari into another form would seem an impossible project – created using a variety of media and experimental techniques, the artist is known for her atmospheric abstract expressionist painting. Designer Rugs rose to challenge, creating a new collection of three hand-tufted rugs that capture the exquisite transparent layers and hidden dioramas of her artwork.
For Lara, the process of rug design was a far cry from her artistic process of painting. “When planning a body of work, many hours of thought are put into the artworks, but then the actual execution flows and is delivered almost automatically”, she says. “With rugs, the execution is a more precise art, with each section of colour carefully drawn and tufted.”
Capturing the energy and spontaneity that comes with this process of artistic ‘flow’ proved the greatest challenge for the Designer Rugs team. Fortunately, Designer Rugs had experience translating the work of Indigenous artist Minnie Pwerle and the dappled impressionist painting of Felicia Aroney to draw upon.
The result of this experience is a collection of three hand-tufted rugs, created in the delicate shifting hues of New Zealand wool and shimmering bamboo silk. Stippling, the process of tufting using several shades at once, creates a soft, subtler blend of colouration, and the dyes were carefully tested and selected to create the perfect hues. Capturing the complexity of the transparent veiled layers of paint was achieved by using bamboo highlights to draw the eye to foreground, while also creating a luxurious textured finish.
The three artworks selected for the collection are strikingly different yet united by a common inspiration – memory, meditation, music and most of all the landscape, culture and essence of Australia. They also share Lara’s ability to create form from fluidity, reflecting the movement and structure of the natural world.
‘Deluge’ captures Australia’s relationship with water – the ocean, the waterhole and deluge of rain after drought. Swirls of white create the image almost of a whirlpool, and impressively replicate the splash of a line of paint thrown across a canvas.
‘Grain Trader’ interprets similar swirling forms differently, adding in hues of terracotta, red, mustard and burgundy that evoke the rich vibrant soils of inland Australia. These are combined with layers of blue, some so subtle that they recall the image of the earth seen from space. Areas of a more neutral sand tone provide a backdrop that highlights the richness of the colours swirling in the centre, and brings an abstract quality to the scene.
The third and final rug in the collection, ‘Shepherds Delight’ is a remarkable shift in form and colour. Consisting exclusively of shades of green combined with a monochrome black and cream palette, ‘Shepherds Delight’ is both an energetic and a calming presence. Green is reminiscent of nature and captures the soothing effect of living green spaces. Simultaneously, the movement of the lines is vibrant and engaging, suggesting the complex array of natural processes at work below the surface.
Capturing such essential themes and principles, the debut Lara Scolari collection is designed for modern family homes, contemporary hotels and commercial projects. Above all, the collection marks another creative collaboration between a celebrated Australian artist and Designer Rugs. “Designer Rugs has always been passionate about creating a strong link between the manufacturing, art and design worlds,” says Designer Rugs managing director Yosi Tal. “The creativity of these unique artists like Lara has proved to be a constant source of inspiration and pushes us to new, uncharted areas of rug design”.