Issue Date: 2016 MARCH, Posted On: 4/2/2016

04022016 RUG TEXTURE: THE NEW DESIGN FRONTIER 5 Minutes with Ayka Design's Michelle Evans
By Carol Tisch

5 Minutes with Ayka Design's Michelle Evans

Designer Michelle Evans creates a unique art form in Avenues, a three-dimensional rug using new techniques with 100 percent handspun silk in Tibetan knotting for an abstract  interpretation of an aerial street map.

LOS ANGELES  -- Designer rugs on view at The Rug Show in L.A. this week will further explore the texture trend, which at winter shows in Europe had already showed signs of becoming a movement, if not an art form. RugNews.com spoke with exhibitor K. Michelle Evans, a trailblazer whose work has inspired everyone from remote village weavers to giant carpet mills to push the envelope with texture. 

"A tactile rug invites more personal interaction. It is not just a design you can see, but also a design you can touch." -- Michelle Evans, Ayka Design
"My design philosophy had always been about movement and three-dimensional design in rugs, so using textures is one way of expressing that," said Evans, creative director of Ayka Design of London.  "It's more challenging when designing with different yarns and textures, as the thought process is slightly different. You have to visualize the design in more detail; you have to imagine how the textures will look in the design. Then you have to do the opposite and simplify it, so as to not complicate the final result," she continued.

"Different yarn constructions and textures can really bring a rug design to life, which is more tactile for the end user. As a designer, I find that more appealing. It's a more personal interaction with the rug so it becomes not just a design you see, but also a design you can touch and it creates more emotions."

At the recent Domotex 2016 fair in Hannover, Germany, Evans previewed a new collection which will launch at The Rug Show at Javits in September with four designs each in three colorways.  "The rug featured in our display in Hannover was called 'Overall,' and it was the first in this new texture series.  Coincidentally, it sold to someone from Los Angeles," she said.  

Michelle Evans stands in front of the Overall rug, part of a new collection of textures from Ayka Design which will launch at The Rug Show at Javits in September.  

The transitional rugs exhibited at her Domotex stand revealed sophisticated palettes and textures, expanding the range of Evans' three-dimensional designs, which run from a modern abstract called Elements, to a portrait of a woman called Beauty, both finalists in the Carpet Design Awards. 

"Origami is inspired by modern day fabric manipulation where material surfaces are becoming more three dimensional, while at the same time creating a unique art form. The folds and stripes are timeless as their pattern covers the canvas. Combining traditional elements of design with the twist of using innovative new techniques with silk yarns gives this design its modern edge," Evans explained. 

In Origami by Ayka Design, the textures of the looped background harmonize with long hanging threads along the edges of the lines to create a three dimensional form, which appear as rhythmic stripes in the full view silk Tibetan knot rug. 

The contrasting yarns in this design lift the pattern from its background casting shadows along the plainer surface to create the 3-D effect.  Evans says the strong and unusual contrast colors such as beige and pink together give a vibrancy of the unexpected.
"Beauty is inspired by the characteristics of our faces and the secrets they reveal or conceal.  Bold, strong colors of contrasting tones of golds, oranges and purples add a sense of drama to the features of the woman," Evans noted.  In this design she used new techniques of twisted silk yarns with long threads and flat looped knots to create a modern abstract pattern, which is seen when the rug is viewed closely.
Michelle Evans of Ayka Design uses faces as inspiration for several rug designs, and the new Beauty rug (shown in detail) reveals a combination of twisted silk yarns with long threads and flat looped Tibetan knots. 

Textures are introduced to add a third dimension to the woman's face by long silk yarns overlapping each other as the strong colors stand next to each other revealing and concealing the design.  "The long silk yarns are flattened or raised as they form shadows across the face giving a further depth of wisdom across of the map of the face, becoming the personality of the design," she concludes.

The Rug Show in L.A. is held April 3-5, 2016 at the Los Angeles Convention Center.  

Crafted of 100 percent handspun silk, a close-up detail of the Elements design by Michelle Evans of Ayka Design, which uses Tibetan knotting to create a three-dimensional interplay of textures.

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