Rosemary – Simple and Elegant in Appearance

July 26, 2010

Continuing with our series in which we explore various applications of Lapchi carpets in today’s home furnishing environments, this month we turn our attention to Rosemary, a Transitional Botanical pattern.

The aromatic herb rosemary has been associated with the Greek Goddess Mnemosyne and through her, the human rituals of life, death, rebirth and memory. In the age before the written word, Mnemosyne’s gift to mankind was to name everything in the world, enabling collective reasoning, recognition of the past, the present, and the memory of all.

The Greek name Rosmarinus means “dew of the sea.” The Goddess Aphrodite, a personification of love, beauty, rapture and the mother of all living beings, rose from the sea adorned by a wreath of rosemary and myrtle. Because of this mythical association, rosemary was considered an aphrodisiac, traditionally worked into bridal wreaths, strewn about as a carpet for every nuptial pair, and planted by newly wed couples as a good omen. If you were tapped by a flowering rosemary sprig, true love would be yours.

In England, churches were adorned with rosemary in honor of the divine ability to protect and save one from evil. Rosemary sprigs were placed under pillows to prevent nightmares and hung in doorways and windows to safeguard homes. The narrative “Rose of Mary” tells of Mary being sheltered by a rosemary bush while escaping into Egypt.  Mary threw her cape over the white flowers of rosemary turning them blue – a color forever associated with Mary.

Like the plant is so gracefully represents, Lapchi’s Rosemary simple and elegant in appearance, is more than just a decorative surface, it is a part of a cultural heritage made visible.

Transitional Botanicals

A visual spark is created when objects and design influences from divergent places or historical influences are brought together.

The term “Transitional Design” can be applied to individual objects, as well as the juxtaposition of two provocative objects in space. To design in a “transitional” manner is to be able to see contemporary possibilities in the traditional, rewriting history with fresh eyes. Transitional carpets and transitional decor blend and contrast the time honored and the contemporary, shifting the visual ingredients to balance elements of the past and present equally.

The Lapchi botanical patterns Arrowroot, Belle Leaves, Thalia and Rosemary have roots in the past. Freshly interpreted by Lapchi, they bring transitional qualities to classically inspired interiors.

Within contemporary interiors, botanical Transitional patterns provide serene and subtle organic contrast to edgy or geometric furnishings.

Lapchi Transitional Botanicals Arrowroot, Thalia, Belle Leaves and Rosemary

Lapchi and Tibetan Wool – Breathtakingly Beautiful Carpets

July 1, 2010

Wool is the strand connecting Lapchi’s lush and sophisticated floor coverings to the vast open plain of the high Tibetan plateau.

Highly prized for its luster, tensile strength and elasticity, Tibetan wool comes from a place and people attuned to the land and the herds of livestock that sustain them. Tibetan wool is the life of the Dropka. These approximately two million semi-nomadic people roam their sheep in an area famously called “the Roof of the World”.

The inhospitable altitude and frigid temperature of the plateau, some 4000 meters above sea level, eliminates crop cultivation as a means of support, but provides extensive grazing land – one of the largest on the earth. In response to a beautiful but harsh climate, Tibetan wool is a miracle of strength and wear – a fibrous protein of high-luster, long-staple strands with thick shafts, and crimps and waves which aid in spinning while helping to keep spun wool twisted tight.  Sheep lanolin, a greasy water-resistant barrier that breathes as it hydrates, coats the overlapping serrated scales of the wool strands, adding sheen and softness to Tibetan wool carpets.

Herds are valued, protected and cared-for, not a product of commercial animal farms. Sheep are sheared twice a year and the “living” wool of many colors is taken to the wool traders. While wool is a naturally non-toxic, biodegradable, and chemically neutral fiber, Tibetan wools are not certified as “organic” by the Organic Trade Association as this would require testing of soil throughout the immense plateau.

Wool absorbs dye color into its core beautifully, but feels dry to the touch in moist weather. Spills bead on the surface, there is no static build-up; it’s a fabulous insulating layer, a wonderful sound absorber, odor resistant, and slightly antibacterial.  More dramatically, wool ignites at a higher temperature than plant fibers and synthetics, has low heat release, low “flame spread”, and is self extinguishing with less smoke and toxic gas emitted than alternatives.

Large pile carpet making is not part of the nomadic migratory tradition, but tents, clothing, storage bags and household needs are woven from sheep, yak and goat hairs and are integral to survival. Traditionally men spin the wool, while women weave cloth and small carpets for tents, flooring, saddle pads and horse blankets. Each group of Dropka maintains ties with communities living at lower altitudes in order to sell their wools and purchase supplies such as barley.

In choosing to use Tibetan wool, Lapchi weaves fine design, craftsmanship, and the natural world of a traditional nomadic herding culture into breathtakingly beautiful carpets for your clients.

Lapchi - All Wool Detail - Anthemion, Pebble and Honeycomb

Photograpy: Thanks to Michael Jones, Kerry Smith and Mani Lama

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