Artist weaves magic on a bigger canvas

Artist Dena Lawrence has her works weaved into pure silk carpets in Kashmir.  Picture: Andrew Ritchie        www.communitypix.com.au   d446524
Artist Dena Lawrence has her works weaved into pure silk carpets in Kashmir. Picture: Andrew Ritchie        www.communitypix.com.au d446524

A SPLASH of paint that artist Dena Lawrence flicks on to a canvas by mistake can take days for weavers to painstakingly recreate at her carpet production centre in Kashmir, India.

The idea to translate her abstract artworks into pure silk carpets first came to Ms Lawrence three years ago.

“I was having some of my designs made into scarves and the person helping me said, ‘why don’t you make them into rugs instead?’ and I immediately thought that was worth exploring,” the Wembley Downs resident said.

Ms Lawrence, who founded the art therapy program at Hollywood Private Hospital, took time away from treating patients to run a pop-up shop in Subiaco over the past month.

“This is the first time I’ve had a collection to put out there because the production process is so long and difficult,” she said.

“First I send through a digital image of my painting, which they make into graphs and then translate it into carpet language for the weavers.

“Each pixel has a different symbol, so the weavers have piles of pages to look at.

“In traditional carpets, there are about five or eight different colours, but my carpets use about 36 colours. It takes the weavers five to six months to weave each carpet.”

Ms Lawrence said she travelled to Kashmir at least three times a year.

“The weaving of these carpets is also helping keep the carpet industry alive, which has been corrupted due to the conflict there over the past years,” she said.

“Usually they get paid per square foot, but I pay them on a wage.

“It’s more stable for them, but it also means there are no shortcuts.

“They are so incredibly talented, I have been over-awed with their work.

“The end product is quite obsessively executed.”