Company Profile: Axminster 2: Weaving a legend

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    Having spun a yarn in Pt 1, now I want to weave you the tale of how the yarn turns into high quality contract carpet. Axminster Carpet’s design library goes back to the days of Thomas Whitty in 1775, with royal palaces representing the peak of their special contract weaving, recognised by the recent award of a Royal Warrant. However the company recognises the importance of their relationship with designers, and their willingness to create bespoke carpets is enhanced by their vertically integrated operation which enables rapid specialist dyeing for matching the designers needs in colour terms, through to their technologically advanced looms (so advanced no photography of the back of the loom was permitted) that cuts the time and cost of changing the loom for custom weaving.Weaving sheds are noisy places. Older generations of weavers, especially in the larger textile weaving sheds of Lancashire, for example, became adept at lip reading to make themselves heard over the clatter of the looms. Carpet looms are not as noisy as textiles looms but the familiar clack and thump of the weaving frames brought a smile to my face as we entered the weaving sheds. There is something magical about seeing wool coming in one end and carpets going out the other.

    Of course the starting point is the design. Bespoke design can be presented in many ways. I used art historical references and coloured pencil sketches which were worked up by the designers into detail design. Others make accurate 1:1 scale drawings of the carpet and refer to the tuft box for colours.

    Continued on page two

    Daniel Fountain / 10.02.2012

    Editor, Hotel Designs


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