Lily Banning X Kush Rugs November 16 2020

One of our favorite challenges is translating an artist's work into rugs. It’s not easy, especially when the artwork is a painting. The dimensionality of paint on canvas is an expression. The blending of pigments is a harmony. The quiet detail of a brush stroke is a sixth sense. How does one communicate all of this in a series of knots? How does one mimic a subtle flow of colors in dyed wool and silk?

When Lily Banning visited us, late on a Friday afternoon, to ask us if we ever took on projects like this, we were immediately taken by her. Lily is clearly passionate about her work, but seemed equally as energized by the medium of rugs as an outlet for her creativity. It’s a fine distinction, but an important one. When the artist can possess a love for both mediums, the result is better. This was absolutely true for the Banning Rugs.

The first step in custom rugs is always the same: selecting colors, materials and construction. Lily's paintings, being complex and nuanced, demanded a fine, hand-knotted construction with wools that allow soft shifts in tone.

We felt that raised silk would be an important ingredient as a way to convey the painting’s play with light and shadows. We specified several different ply techniques to convey the texture of brush strokes. And we integrated subtle color tweeds to suggest the flow of pigments.

The artisans in Nepal possess legendary weaving skills, and imbue every rug they create with an artist’s rhythm. Their deep experience with custom work makes it easy to navigate complicated projects like this one. We start with computer renderings-- maps which specify each knot. From approved drawings, we ordered samples, which are treasures all on their own.

After approving the samples, Lily was ready to move on to full size pieces. Weaving took several months, and we were updated by our team in Nepal with regular progress shots. These progress shots are consistently wonderful and remind us of the history of rug weaving- its importance in the world.

The finished rugs, shown below, are magnificent. Shimmering jewels, full of emotion and movement, telling the stories of artists on opposite ends of the earth. 

We are honored to have partnered with Lily Banning to produce these remarkable rugs.

Banning Rugs may be ordered direct through the artist. Check out these rugs and her other work here