Monday, 26 March 2012 10:06

Meet Robyn Waffle, Designer of Modallion Rugs

Written by stephania
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Before we kick off Birthday Week, we have one more 70's inpsired post to share with you from our new guest contributor, Miss Carli Vierke.

Take it away Carli! 




Meet Robyn Waffle, Designer of Modallion Rugs 

By Carli Vierke


In celebration of this weeks 1970’s theme, I tried to seek out a creative mind who not only plays with the psychedelic motifs so definitive of 1970’s print, but also engages with ancient spiritual themes that helped to inspire the often otherworldly subjects of 1970’s culture.  Enter fashion-forward, cutting-edge artist and rug designer Robyn Waffle of Modallion Rugs.


I don’t know about you, but when I think of rugs, what springs to mind are large slabs of beige and brown – mellow tones of wooly softness that subtly enhance and cozify private rooms and public spaces.  Waffle seeks to challenge this standard by turning the world of rug design on its ear. Rather than the buttery palates we’re used to seeing, Waffle designs intricate, wildly colorful explosions that are almost too beautiful too walk on.


Her dynamic creations generated serious buzz at this year’s annual interior design show in Toronto, and landed her a full-page spread in the Toronto Star – and it’s not hard to see why. Waffle’s intersection of hyper-contemporary design, traditional technique and ancient motifs might just shift our perception of rugs from one of background subtlety to full-blown centerpieces that qualify as art.

 The process of turning an illustration on paper into a silken masterpiece isn’t exactly a simple one. Her designs must first be rendered with custom rug design software, where she matches the colors and structure of her sketch on the screen. This part is done on an enormous Dynex flat-screen TV with an attached keyboard and Macbook pro. The process can take up to three days and moves in roughly 8 stages. Since the program is not only incredibly complex, but also finicky and unpredictable, designs are often completed only after a healthy dose of trial and error. The rugs, once completed in the program, are sent to Nepal where a team of expert weavers turn Waffle’s imaginings into tangible reality.


Waffle’s most recent rug “collection” is titled Across the Line. The vivid 4’6” prayer rug series comes in six different color variations and retails for approximately $2500 CDN, or $100 per square foot. The imagery is rooted in components of traditional rug design: prayer, panel and tribal motifs, and of course, medallions, are featured in most of Waffle’s rugs. “I was obsessed with the tradition of these rugs,” she tells me in her studio, “and I will continue using these themes for a while… they are a source of infinite inspiration for me.”


In her prayer rugs for Across the Line, the skull medallion at the rug’s center is where one’s head would traditionally be rested and the “keyhole-like” blocks in the lower center are markers for where to kneel.

Panel rugs, such as this inspirational piece hanging in the Modallion show room (shown below) usually depict the changing of the seasons. Waffle’s panel rug shares similar conventions, but she has chosen to represent the circle of life in her imagery.


The inroads made since Waffle started Modallion with business partner Jordan Reznick just over a year ago cannot be overstated – Waffle’s artistic skills and design prowess have quickly garnered attention from some of the top trail blazers of her industry. A recent collaboration with designer Glen Ploso and fashion guru Jeanne Beker are major milestones for such a young company.


As an artist, Waffle is thrilled to have an outlet to showcase her work, while pioneering the cross between psychedelic art and rug design. “I don’t just consider it my most recent collection of rugs,” she emphasizes, “but my most recent collection of art.” I think we can all look forward to watching her star rise in the years to come.


Last modified on Monday, 26 March 2012 08:04
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