Geometric Needlepoint Rugs Inspired by the Geometry in Majolica
While designing Asmara’s Geometric Needlepoint Rug Collection I did extensive research into Italian Majolica (or Maiolica) the tin glazed pottery from the Renaissance that is decorated in bright colors on a white background and frequently depicts historical and legendary scenes.
Modern Majolica tiles from Deruta. Image courtesy Zyance in Wikipedia.
I liked the geometric patterns that lay hidden amongst the legendary images and scrolls in Majolica pottery and tiles. Further research revealed similar geometric patterns in French inlaid floors, Classical architecture, Eastern architecture and Renaissance fabrics. This formed the historical basis for the Asmara Geometric Needlepoint Rug Collection.
Last week I was delighted to discover that Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana had also reached back into the ancient art of Sicilian Majolica for their F/W 2013 Collection of dresses, colorful earrings and fun loving accessories.
In today’s post I will present Dolce & Gabbana’s Majolica fashions alongside Asmara geometric needlepoint rugs to show the connection as well as the contrast in our approaches to drawing inspiration from the same ancient source.
Dolce and Gabbana’s earrings are based directly on Majolica tiles. Image courtesy Dolce & Gabbana.
Dolce & Gabbana added delicate flowers on top of the traditional Majolica patterns in this skirt. The sandals also have a Majolica inspired pattern. Image courtesy Dolce & Gabbana.
How Majolica Reached Italy
Majolica is a type of tin-glazed earthenware pottery known for its bright, lustrous colors.
The name Majolica is thought to come from the medieval Italian word for the Spanish island of Majorca which was on the route of the ships transporting Spanish-Moorish wares from Valencia in Spain to Italy. It is believed that Moorish potters from Majorca migrated to Sicily and introduced the art of Majolica to Sicily. Majolica probably reached the mainland of Italy through the Sicilian city of Caltagirone which has long been famous for its Majolica production.
The splendid outdoor stairs made of Majolica tiles in Caltagirone, Sicily. Image courtesy Wikipedia.
How Majolica is made
Majolica is made by tin glazing which creates a brilliant white, opaque surface for painting. The colors are applied with metallic oxides then glazed with sand, wine lees (a by-product of wine making), lead compounds and tin compounds.
Majolica pottery jumped in popularity towards the end of the 14th century, when new colors such as cobalt blue, yellow, and orange became possible.
Majolica was very expensive to make partly because tin had to be imported. During the 14th to 17th centuries, it was the custom for rulers of Duchies to present Majolica objects as presents to powerful foreign princes.
Dolce and Gabbana’s Majolica sandals and handbag displayed on steps made from Majolica tiles. Dolce & Gabbana added more pattern on top of the already ornate Majolica patterns, Asmara took the opposite approach and subtracted the heavy foliage and uncovered the elegant geometry. Image courtesy Dolce & Gabbana.
A Dloce & Gabbana top paired with a soft blue and white damask skirt. Image courtesy Dolce & Gabbana.
Asmara Geometric Needlepoint Rugs Liberate the Geometry in Majolica Patterns
Asmara edited out the heavier decorative elements of Majolica and liberated the simple and elegant geometry that lay hidden in the foliage. I wanted Asmara Geometric Needlepoint Rugs to clebrate the beautiful geometry that is hidden in Majoica patterns.
Bombay Needlepoint Rug has an elegant geometric pattern in cream and soft blue that works with both modern and traditional decor. Available in other colors. Asmara Copyrighted Rug.
Ascot Needlepoint Rug is a riff on geometric patterns found in historical objects. Available in several other colors. Asmara Copyrighted Rug.
Bamboo Needlepoint Rug has a geometric pattern that combines curvilinear and angular patterns in vibrant greens with yellow highlights. Asmara Copyrighted Rug.
Timur Needlepoint Rug is based on a Moroccan tile pattern that was shaded in the manner of an ikat textile. Asmara Copyrighted Rug.