Combining Past & Present: Contemporary Carpets with Faded Designs

Have you ever refinished an old table or reupholstered an old chair? There’s something rewarding and exciting about bringing new life to an old memento. It’s one of the reasons why traditional oriental rugs have remained in vogue for hundreds of years. It’s also why distressed rugs, furniture, and textiles have been growing in popularity. Recently, rug designers have developed their own take on breathing new life into old rugs with a pattern that us in the rug world refer to as “erased motifs”.

rug textile furniture

So what is an erased motif rug?

A motif is a decorative design or pattern. An “erased” motif is one that looks as if it has been erased by the hands of time, the inspiration for this look coming from antique rugs. erased motif example gold While it may seem all too obvious that fading colors and torn threads indicate time and wear, what’s exciting about erased motif rugs is that these faded designs are created with a dynamic use of color and texture. The result of these intricate patterns is an innovative work of art: a timeless rug that can adapt to rooms ranging from traditional to contemporary.

Danielle In Love rug Danielle in Love from the Wool and Silk Collection (above)a gorgeous wool/silk blend rug hand-woven in Nepal, plays with a vintage damask pattern that looks as if its colors have faded away over time. The background of this rug alone is made up of 27 different colors, which really gives this rug a deep sense of age. Traditional 14th-16thcentury damask patterns were woven in two contrasting colors; background color vs. pattern color:

traditional damask

But Danielle in Love plays on a range of possibilities. Was this damask originally gold, silver, or a daring red? The faded yellows and touches of deep cranberry suggest these colors, while the variety of greens adds a contemporary pop of color to this multi-dimensional piece. The beauty of this rug lies undoubtedly in its visual appeal, but there is much to be appreciated in its clever design and construction. Danielle in Love is a one of our bestselling new hand-woven rugs from Wool and Silk -- our clients love the wonderful feel of its fibers and the elegant durability of its hand-woven knots.

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Why are erased motif rugs so popular?

Beyond their design innovation, erased motif rugs are appealing to a variety of individuals because they have tension. Tension captures our attention whether it’s between two people, two ideas, or two design concepts. Tension is the reason we’re drawn to Elizabeth Bennet & Mr. Darcy (Pride & Prejudice), to yin and yang, and to contemporary/rustic interior designs. Erased motif rugs create a tension between traditional rug patterns and contemporary design. The tension behind the faded patterns in these hand-woven rugs gives them life and character. It pays homage to the traditional rug patterns that inspire warmth and nostalgia but remains exciting and new given its fresh wools and unique use of color and texture.

Pasha and Agra

Erased motif rugs are easier to spot than you might think because they feature traditional patterns that are easy to recognize even with parts of them fading away. The flowers and shapes in the patterns above scream traditional, but some of these fades look more contemporary than they do antique. Pasha from the Tissage Collection features a modernistic fade; the rug’s use of various shades of green and lavender provides a fresh pop of color against the 13th century tulip motif from the Ottoman Empire. Meanwhile, one of our bestselling rugs, Tissage’s Blue Vintage Agra, features a 19thcentury Agra pattern with a beautiful water-color fade effect.

Timeless ice and relics

These versatile, hand-woven rugs can set the stage or accompany a variety of room settings. Timeless Ice whimsically erases its 16th-17th century central Asian pattern. Imagine this rug in a room full of layered neutrals; Timeless Ice could easily fit into any room whether it’s style ranges from ultra-modern to art deco. Did you notice any similarities between the floral medallions on Pasha and Relics? Both rugs play with 13thcentury flower motifs and could easily serve as centerpieces of a room’s design or as quieter accents.

Danielle in Gold and Tissage Poise resized 600

Why erased motifs?

Erased motifs give carpet designers the unique power of creating the image of time. Creating erased motifs is like painting a new picture of an old photograph. It’s tricky and thought provoking but the result is an everlasting work of art that pays tribute to a beloved memory. Erased motif rugs can appear aged but still be sturdy and beautiful. The Tissage Collection and the Wool and Silk Collection include some of our best sellers because clients love the durability and feel of the wool/silk blendandthey can continue to enjoy some of the more traditional designs they have always loved.

Tissage VIntage Reserve and Arabesque

Erased motifs rugs, by embodying the tension between the old and the new, have been a huge hit this year. They are versatile pieces that can appeal to a contemporary, vintage, and transitional design eye.

These rugs are beautiful embodiments of dual nature: they are rugs and art, vintage and contemporary, classic and trendy! Don’t miss out on one of the hottest design trends this year!

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