Art in a Warm Home

Kourosh Mahboubian Fine Art
Feb 14, 2018 8:02PM

If you were a child of the 1960’s or 70’s you probably still remember the cosy feeling of rolling around the floor on a deep pile shag carpet. It was luxurious.

Shag rugs have made a comeback, but whether or not they hold a place in your heart, your home should have soft surfaces that make it feel warm and inviting. Good use of carpets, curtains, upholstered furniture, and textile artworks can turn even a cold post-modern steel, glass and concrete box into a comfortable, embracing living space. It will also absorb noise, rewarding you with a greater sense of quiet.

People value textiles as much for their beauty as for their practical qualities. We see this every day in fashion, home décor, industrial design, and fine art. Evidence suggests that humans may have started wearing clothing somewhere between 100,000 and 500,000 thousand years ago. However, the earliest known woven fabrics didn’t appear until around 8,000 years ago, coinciding with the founding of agrarian civilizations in the Neolithic age. As the need for textiles grew, so did the desire to decorate them. Different fibres and dyes came into use and the art of weaving was born.  

The Persian carpet has its roots in nomadic tribal rugs that were needed for protection against the cold, damp ground. The weavers’ skills were handed down and improved upon generationally. Over time, the weavers in some regions became known for the exceptional quality, complexity and beauty of their rugs. This led to their products becoming highly prized and sought after. Trade eventually brought Persian carpets into the medieval and Renaissance castles of Europe.

By the 17th century weaving was reaching new heights. In France, under the patronage of Louis XIV, the Gobelins and Aubusson workshops elevated tapestry to an art form. Skilled artists used the finest threads and best dyes to depict intricate stories or scenery on carpets, drapery, wall hangings and upholstery. At the same time, in Persia, the Safavid Golden Age was peaking and Islamic art and architecture were blossoming, resulting in some of the most magnificent rugs and textiles ever produced.

A 17th C. Safavid silk textile

Most likely for use with a table setting

A Louis XV Aubusson upholstered armchair

Circa late 18th C. The chair stands on an early 20th C. Persian carpet.

By the 19th century, wall tapestries fell out of favour, as wallpaper came into use. In the 1930’s a number of artists including Georges Braque, Alexander Calder, Jean Cocteau, Salvador Dali, Raoul Dufy, and Pablo Picasso were invited to create works of art to be interpreted as Aubusson tapestries. The results were striking but had limited success.

Bringing us to current day, I have illustrated this article with works by contemporary artists Brigitta Varadi and Nick Cave, who experiment with an unlimited array of unconventional materials and techniques. Like their ancient counterparts, they are rethinking the act of weaving and the purposes of their textiles. Their works are spectacular and, like a shag carpet, they embrace you with warmth and luxury.

Noel Ruane, 2015, by Brigitta Varadi

Felted Wool and sheep marking paint

Soundsuit, 2015, by Nick Cave

Kourosh Mahboubian Fine Art