Frances McBain, a third year student on BA Textile Design at The Cass, was the inaugural winner of a rug design competition established by Nikhil Kappor of Tissage Carpets. Her prize included a trip to the company’s factory in Jaipur, accompanied by course leader James Hunting, to see her winning design realised. The design, for an innovative flat weave 6’ by 9’ rug called Tractus, was inspired by patterns in the human brain.
The competition came about following a conversation between James, Nikhil and Lucy Upward, the Editor of Cover magazine who also judged the submissions with Nikhil. Tissage also made the rug designed by runner-up, a hand knotted carpet, designed by Ellen Williams, currently studying at the Royal College of Art (RCA).
During the visit in December, Frances and James also visited the Indian Institute of Craft & Design, Jaipur, where print, weave and embroidery are taught in a combination of traditional and forward looking techniques.
In January 2018, the rugs by Frances and runner up Ellen featured at DOMOTEX Hanover, one of the world’s biggest rug and carpet shows, organised and provided by Cover Magazine and Domotex themselves. Frances attended the exhibition where she enjoyed a lot of praise and recognition from the industry for her design approach, and abilities. Finally, Tractus was exhibited at Sacco Carpet Showroom in Manhattan, New York in March 2018.
Speaking about the experience, Frances said: "Working with Tissage has given me a huge amount of direction for the future. Jaipur was such an incredible experience, opening my eyes to a really exciting industry. Visiting the Tissage studios was inspiring, overwhelming and invaluable experience and I am so grateful to the Cass for giving me industry exposure. The opportunity has really launched my career within the design world and I feel I have gained a huge amount of confidence through the whole experience. Thank You."
Nikhil of Tissage said that the competition will be relaunched in 2018/19 in an expanded format adding: "It is important to open the industry to young new approaches and introduce new ideas and freshness to the rug industry."
Image: Frances McBain and James Hunting with Tractus at Domotex, Hanover and the sample Loom at Tissage in Jaipur