Barbara Jacobs' rugs are works of art.
Vibrant colors and rich textures are at the core.
Barbara Jacobs is a nationally recognized Boston-area color consultant who brings her fine arts background in painting and printmaking to the field of rug design in her company, Barbara Jacobs Color and Design/Silk Road Weaves.
Since 1984 Barbara has combined her experience in the areas of printmaking, textile design and painted surface design. "Everything I do artistically and in design comes from my core belief that color is the element of design I can translate into any medium."
Color and design are evident in her Medfield studio, where the vibrant colors and rich textures reflected in Barbara’s creative process play an active role in her daily activities whether it’s architectural color design or creating new designs for Silk Road Weaves.
“It’s only natural that my work in creating fine decorative finishes has evolved into an interest in the broader use of color in context, what I call ‘supportive color design,’ states Barbara.” “When I create a new finish for decorative painting my approach to developing a color field is similar to how I approach creating color palettes with ‘straight paint,’ using color in ways that are both functional and beautiful.”
Barbara’s background includes a lifetime involvement with art and design in one form or another, starting as the child of a well known Minnesota painter, sculptor and stained glass artist. When she worked in textile print design for the garment industry, she used dyes on silk. Some of those designs became the first designs for Silk Road Weaves.
Supportive color design approach translates to fine art for the floor
In Barbara’s approach to design she considers the floor as important an area as the walls when it comes to selecting color and textures for the greatest advantage. She sees color mixing as integral to the process of creating rug designs, much as it is with mixing paint colors, bringing her skills and over 20-years experience in mixing paint colors to her designs.
States Barbara, “Using multiple colors together in a rug to create any single color field is an exciting, detailed process having beautiful and interesting results. Rug design is to me another art medium—working with colors, fibers, and textures in a 3-dimensional surface. Texture is another way I bring interest and richness to a rug; you feel it, but it’s also visual.”
But even with the hundreds of beautiful wool, silk, and allo yarn she has at her fingertips—and of course the ability to create custom colors if that’s needed—sometimes undyed fibers are Barbara’s choice. When she asked her producers to send yarn samples of undyed wool, linen, allo, jute, silk, and more, she found those materials to be perfect for her Simply Natural Collection, which she plans to develop extensively.
Materials and Construction
Barbara emphasizes the importance of high quality construction methods and materials. Only the most experienced adult artisans create rugs for Silk Road Weaves. Using the traditional Tibetan "cross-weaving’ technique, where the yarns are "locked in place", not just overlapped, this labor-intensive method makes the most durable rugs.
All Silk Road Weaves custom rugs are completely hand made from start to finish, from shearing to shipping. They are made only by the most experienced adult artisans, using the more technically difficult Cross-Weave technique. This is the way that the most durable rugs are made. Unlike some rugs, the knot count is true. 100 knots really does mean 100 knots per square inch.
The wool for Silk Road Weaves is obtained from sheep reared in the cold, high mountains of Tibet. The fibers of this type of Himalayan wool have an average length of 6 to 9 inches. This superior long fiber wool holds the dye properly and has smooth surface. This is the highest quality Tibetan wool available. Silk Road Weaves rugs also use silk and have options for plant fibers like Allo, Linen, Hemp, and many other materials.
Get the details about the construction and materials of Silk Road Weaves: http://www.integralcolor.com/silk-road-weaves/construction-details/
Ultimate customization and bespoke design
When people think of ‘custom rug’ they are usually looking at changing color, size, and sometimes fiber options. Barbara takes it further, offering custom options like modifying an existing design by re-scaling and repositioning elements to accommodate client needs.
Barbara enjoys the collaborative process in creating completely new custom, “bespoke” designs with her clients’ fabrics, furnishings, artwork, and even personal interests as the starting point. She compares this with her process in painting a mural. “It’s so personal ,not only in terms of subject but also in the level of input from the clients about the experience they want to have with this kind of art work,” states Barbara. One example is a pair she currently has in production: custom design of an 8’ diameter octagon shape rug that will go under a round table, with a coordinating 5’x7’ rug for a nearby area.
A good example of modifying an existing design is in a project starting with her ELEMENTS/Fire Islands design. Her client loved the original design, which was in a square format. But they wanted to use it in their kitchen as a runner, 2.5 x 12 feet. Barbara describes, “I originated this design collection, ELEMENTS, with five colorways. The client for this project loved the red version, ‘Fire Islands’, so we started with that and changed the main red color to a slightly different tone. I also changed some of the accent colors from the original design in order to pick up colors from their artwork in the room.”
Barbara’s inspiration comes from many sources –nature, travel, fine arts, literature, design, music, pop culture, construction projects and building materials, and more. For the MoonShadows collection, it was shadows cast on a wall, originally becoming a stencil she cut.
Her approach to design development is her natural inclination to develop new versions of a each design with different colors, textures and scale—not just a number of colors of the same design. “That’s why,” she explains, “you’ll see a lot of in-depth variety within collections from Silk Road Weaves. Each design is really a unique piece of art, not just a color variation. It’s a fascinating artistic process.”
To make it easy for you to find out all about the Green factor in Silk Road Weaves, here’s a link to some details about that subject. http://www.integralcolor.com/silk-road-weaves/green-rug-faqs/
No Child Labor & "Human Green"
Barbara knows you have many options when it comes to selecting a high quality rug for your home or your office. Who is doing the hundreds-of-hours of work that go into a completely handmade work of art for your floor?
Child labor is a serious problem in rug producing countries, but there are options. Rugmark™/Goodweave™ is a highly regarded independent non-profit organization dedicated to ending child labor in the rug industry. When you purchase a rug that has a Rugmark or Goodweave label you can be confident that your rug was made with No Illegal Child Labor. In addition, these children now have educational and health care opportunities in RugMark-inspected facilities like those where rugs from Silk Road Weaves are made. Check out this video to see the details. http://www.integralcolor.com/silk-road-weaves/no-child-labor/
A licensed RUGMARK member since she started Silk Road Weaves about four years ago, Barbara is proud to be a part of this very important organization. A portion of all sales of Silk Road Weaves Tibetan rugs goes to make sure this care is taken. Barbara describes it as “‘Human Green’…the human connection, where my designs are the way that you connect with the artisans who are making the rugs for you. This enhances their lives on a daily basis, while it adds beauty and comfort to yours! “