Liz Eeuwes’ topography-inspired carpets, clockwise from top left: Ontario, Bay of Plenty, Fuding and Algarinjo.
Liz Eeuwes didn’t move to Scotland to learn carpet design. Drawn by the city’s handicraft industry, rich lore and pool of collaborative talent, she enrolled in the Glasgow School of Art in 2004. She returned to Toronto with a degree in product design, a deep interest in heirloom- quality products and, to her surprise, a desire to tell stories through rugs.
Her first collection, Landscapes, replicated Indonesian, Australian and Danish topographies in hand-knotted wool. Eeuwes’ experimentation with scale echoes the sense of discovery her grandparents felt when they took to the skies and absorbed the shapes and palette – the vastness – of their new homeland. Immigrants from The Netherlands, they operated a nursery in Northern Ontario, and would fly to Sudbury by seaplane. “Early flight had a romance and mystery to it,” she says. “A sense of pioneering.”
For her second series, Terres des Hommes, Eeuwes digitally manipulates man-made terrains, deducing forms and amplifying colours. She leaves the elaborate weaving process to skilled artisans in India; each of her hand-tufted rugs is made from New Zealand wool, in accordance with GoodWeave’s strict ethical standards, and carved with shears to produce pile heights that range from five to nine millimetres. Shadows between piles and colour striations further the dual perspective each carpet presents: a balanced, visually pleasing tapestry, plus the unexpected discovery that, upon closer inspection, it is a topographic block with the language of crops and fields. Tea farms in China, olive groves in Southern Spain and wind-swept marshlands of Ontario – all abstracted for personal interpretation and narrative.
Eeuwes’ strong graphic sense, along with her experimentation with scale and geometrics, has garnered a great deal of interest – particularly in the architecture community. It’s a safe bet that her ability to tell stories with textiles will captivate many more fans. eeuwen.co
Find Liz Eeuwes’ rugs at Made.
Originally published in our Spring 2013 issue.