Every Asmara needlepoint rug starts out as an idea which is translated into a quick pencil sketch which goes through several revisions and discussions between artist Elizabeth Moisan and myself. When a sketch looks promising, Elizabeth mixes colors in Gouache. It usually takes several failed attempts before we get just the right colors. Elizabeth then hand paints the design on poster board. A painting usually goes through several revisions and if we are happy with the final result we send it over to Asmara’s needlepoint rug making artists. The pictures tell the story from here.
Here the needlepoint rug artist has searched the yarn color library and found several near matches, but not an exact match of the colors in the painting of Asmara’s Bombay DC needlepoint rug. The painting and yarn shade card are stored in the blue freezer bag on the left to keep them from the sun and dust. View the finished Bombay DC Needlepoint Rug. Photo copyrighted Asmara, Inc.
The needlepoint rug artist searched for the nearest match for the Bombay needlepoint rug colors from among the thousands of wool yarns in the color library. Photo copyrighted Asmara, Inc.
This section of the needlepoint rug color library has hundreds of shades of beige, taupe and grey. Photo copyrighted Asmara, Inc.
The red section of the Needlepoint rug yarn library has a thousand shades from deep burgundy to very pale pink. Photo copyrighted Asmara, Inc.
Since the needlepoint yarn color library did not yield just the right shade needed for a new design, the dyer is creating a new shade to match a color in the painting of a needlepoint rug design. Photo copyrighted Asmara, Inc.
The rug artist drawing a full size sketch of Asmara’s Flowing Coral needlepoint rug. View a finished Flowing Coral Red Needlepoint Rug and Flowing Coral Green Needlepoint rug. Photo copyrighted Asmara, Inc.
Asmara’s embroiderer reads the pattern of the Bergamo Needlepoint rug off the graph paper to her left. Each color is represented by a number on the drawing. Asmara’s embroiderers are highly skilled at reading the pattern of the graph paper and never sketch the pattern directly on the canvas thereby avoiding any risk of the sketch colors running on to the rug. Asmara’s method of making needlepoint rugs differs in this respect from the method described in the recent post How needlepoint rugs are made on a painted canvas. View a finished Bergamo Needlepoint Rug. Photo copyrighted Asmara, Inc.
Several embroiderers work as a team on large needlepoint rugs. The needlepoint canvas is stretched between two poles. The finished section of the canvas is rolled onto the pole on the left and fresh canvas is unrolled from the pole on the left. The finished canvas is kept covered with a white cloth for cleanliness. Photo copyrighted Asmara, Inc.
An embroiderer hand stitching an Asmara floral needlepoint rug in fresh green, blue, gold and rose. Asmara needlepoint rugs are renowned for their clear colors and original designs created by American artists. Photo copyrighted Asmara, Inc.
While Asmara needlepoint embroiderers are skilled at reading patterns off a black and white graph on paper vellum, the embroiderers at London’s Royal School of Needlework require a hand painted canvas so they can easily follow the pattern. A RSN artist is painting the design in detail so every shade is clearly distinguishable. Later, a needlepoint embroiderer will hand-stitch directly on the painted canvas.
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Images courtesy Asmara, Inc. and the Royal School of Needlework, London.