The abstract patterns in Creative Matters Inc’s (CMI) tenth rug collection—Halcyon—were inspired by designs created during one of the Toronto-based rug company’s signature Art Days. The company’s design staff periodically gather for a stress-free day-long themed immersive event of exploration and activity where no idea is a bad idea. Free expression reigns. ‘Our signature Art Days are when we pick a theme and unleash our imaginations,’ says Carol Sebert, CMI President. Some designs immediately create a collection, while others await their turn in the company’s archive.
Art Day themes include techniques and subject matter. The Halcyon collection emerged from a 2017 Art Day that focussed on texture. All manner of fluid mediums and ‘extras’ were used as inspiration. Colleagues at the 2017 event were inspired by a medley of mediums: canvas, burlap, plaster, paint, plus various conventional and unconventional tools.
Hand-knotted in blended wool and silk, a cohesive twelve colour palette is used throughout the collection of eleven designs. Each rug evokes a sense of calm while visual and tactile softness are heightened by texture. Sebert describes the designs as a collaborative desire to create ‘movement, not too speedy, but movement—some are sweeps, some arcs, some grids, some clouds, but it’s all moving—gently.’
The collection is named after a protagonist in Greek mythology. The halcyones (the aquatic kingfisher) were a pair of birds transformed by the gods from a human couple who drowned. Storms threatened when the female bird tried to brood her eggs on the beach. The gods created storm-free placid seas so she and her chicks were safe. Eventually ‘halcyon days’ became a phrase reflecting nostalgia for a ‘golden era’ of calm and happiness.
But rather than focus on the past, the Halcyon Collection looks to the future with hope. Each of the eleven rugs in the collection is named after children and grandchildren of CMI staff: Balthazar, Marlowe, Isabel, Estelle, Sofia, Eva, Lucas, Ruthie, Theodore, Guadalupe, Redden. The indistinct, fluid and mesmerising abstract patterns capture the promise of an unknown future. The rugs ‘may look simple,’ says Sebert, but they are ‘surprisingly complex’.