When graphic artist Liam Stevens of London-based Aiio Studio decided to add rug design to an artistic repertoire that for many years had focused on commercial art for magazines, the decision was based on of two things. The first was his increasing interest in interior design. “I held a great respect and admiration for artists that crossed into producing more domestic wares and textiles.”
The second, he explains, was his longtime fascination with folk arts and crafts and the stories each object told. “I decided I wanted to create a piece that had a value and a story.” His wife, Yuriko, who is Aiio’s co-founder, suggested, that rugs might be the perfect starting point and that the GoodWeave® website was the perfect place to educate themselves about the industry. “I was adamant that the works were realized through ethical practices,” Liam says emphatically.
Aiio Studio’s hand-knotted, limited-edition rugs are made in Nepal and include pieces such as, “Ineo” with its frost gray linear design on a backdrop of undyed Tibetan wool. Inspired by both the architectural and natural worlds, the lines, Liam says, flow like a silver river. Forest green “Vew” with its mix of curves and straight lines offers the imagination a view of nature as if from a window. The collection, Liam says, takes its inspiration from many artistic streams such as the Bauhaus and Modernist Movements, painters such as Ellsworth Kelly and Ben Nicholson, music from artists as diverse as Franz Liszt and David Bowie and, importantly, the Japanese aesthetic with its “rich philosophical and visually rich culture” that he was exposed to through Yuriko and their travels to Japan.
Liam admits that despite his long experience in and knowledge of the world of art, he has been utterly surprised by the process of rug making. Looking back on the completion of his first rug, he says, “Seeing my design translated and knowing people spent months making it was quite a moment!” He says his awe and respect for the weavers is endless as is his desire to honor them and their craft. The rugs, he says, are as much a creation of the region and the weavers as his own artwork. His alliance with GoodWeave, he continues, is crucial. “It gives me peace of mind.”
Learn more at https://www.aiiostudio.com