The Playful Informality of Faye Toogood’s ‘Doodles’
Drawing on tinkering techniques and her own hand-made textile artworks, British multidisciplinary artist Faye Toogood has materialised a vibrant, three-dimensional rug collection in collaboration with Italian rug manufacturer cc-tapis.
Producing contemporary hand-knotted rugs created in Nepal by expert Tibetan artisans for over 18 years, Milan-based rug manufacturer cc-tapis’ team of designers have continued to innovate the medium through maintaining a collaborative new approach to traditional methods. Currently led by artistic director and partner Daniele Lora, the studio prides itself on its strong respect towards the materials, as well as for the culture of creation behind this ancient craft. This respect is reflected back in it’s continuous eco-friendly approach to production, which in turn leads to consistently unique, handmade rugs. In their second collaboration (their first being the ‘Inventory‘ collection), cc-tapis reached out to British multidisciplinary artist Faye Toogood to, in Daniele Lora’s words, “capture the materiality and richness of the individuality of each rug”. The result of a year and a half long creative process, the ‘Doodles’ collection is comprised of six handmade, bespoke rugs based on a series of artworks that Faye created by hand. Their overarching painterly aesthetic is abstract and freethinking, responding to Toogood’s preoccupation throughout her work to ‘tinker’ and intuitively explore new styles without boundaries. These qualities make up a collection that, according to the artistic director, “perfectly embody the brand’s philosophy of creating handmade artefacts”. Here, TLmag spoke to Faye about her staying true to the original point of creation, the process of conceptualising the ‘Doodles’ collection and what makes a collaboration successful.
TLmag: Your work not only crosses different disciplines (from sculpture to furniture and fashion) but looks past their boundaries: creating designs based on their best possibilities. How would you describe your approach to creating new works, especially as you break down these labels/terminologies?
Faye Toogood (FT): I approach new works freely, concepts are born from a nucleus which can be applied in theory to fashion, product and space. For me there are no boundaries between the different disciplines and the point of crossover between them is the most interesting.
TLmag: Your most recent collaboration with cc-tapis is equally playful in design as it is in name and narrative — with designs named ‘Interior With Table’, ‘Reclining Figure’ and ‘Seated Nude’ (to name a few) and ‘Doodles’ as the collection’s overall title. What story did you want to tell with this collection?
FT: The notion of retaining and valuing the original point of creation – taking the rawness and playfulness of early maquettes and artworks directly to the final point of production. Over the past two years, I have focused myself on staying true to this early point of creation and pushing this honestly into production – without cleaning it up. Doodles are things that you do subconsciously in a state of relaxation or distraction – this is the playful informality I strived for in this collection.
TLmag: The “Doodles” collection features 40 individually dyed colours, off-cuts and appliquéd cords to create collage styled assemblages that have a painterly and abstract aesthetic. Could you walk us through the process of conceptualising this collection?
FT: cc-tapis visited the studio and saw one year’s worth of maquettes, mock-ups and internal drawings that I had been working on aside from any other project. They responded to this new body of work and chose a painted canvas and appliqué textile piece. We then decided to work on further five. These fabric mockups were then taken to Nepal to be painstakingly translated into hand-woven rugs, achieving all the texture, painterly qualities and stitching of the original artwork. There were many discussions about how three-dimensional the surfaces should be, and ultimately we achieved six different techniques and depths within the rugs.
TLmag; Most of your work is proudly made locally (in England), but with this collaboration, the rugs are exclusively hand-knotted in Nepal with Himalayan wool by Tibetan artisans. What was that like?
FT: Previously I’ve mainly worked with British manufacturers because these are within my network and reach. I find the proximity easier to work with, as it helps to build relationships and then push boundaries. cc-tapis has worked for a long time with their Nepalese workshop, their professional relationship ensured the success of this collection. As for the similarities with manufacturers around the world, I always seem to ask for something which is out of their usual comfort zone. At the beginning of each project we stand together at the bottom of the mountain trying to overcome several obstacles, but once reaching the top both me and the manufacturer admire what we achieved together as a truly new body of work which we can both be proud of.
TLmag: In your experience, what makes a collaboration successful?
FT: Successful collaborations are equal! Equal through creativity and exchange. They’re necessary to develop and push your practice on. Without collaborations you wouldn’t always get access to technologies, production, clients and projects. Ultimately, collaboration is a relationship and the most successful ones are the one where both sides get respected and nourished.
The ‘Doodles’ collection will be exhibited alongside their paintings until the 31st of October at the cc-tapis showroom in Milan (Piazza Santa Stefano 10).