FINE ART UNDERFOOT

BY ALAENA HOSTETTER | PHOTOGRAPHY BY HOLGER OBENAUS

For art lovers who’d just as soon cover their floors in works of art, as well as their walls, Interior Resources has made that possible. The rug dealer recently debuted a new collection of rugs created from large-scale abstract paintings by Dallas artist Hope Harrison.

Harrison approached the rug gallery with the idea, and co-owner Paige Green Sowden says she was instantly on board.

“I loved that Hope was a local Dallas artist. We are constantly developing new collections and her art would be a great challenge,” Sowden says.

“The collaboration was a win-win for both of us.” The process of converting a painting into a rug wasn’t easy. It took about a year to design a prototype. High-resolution images of Harrison’s paintings first had to be converted into detailed renderings by an onstaff artist before the weavers could create an actual rug.

“Our custom expertise was essential to the transformation from art to final rug product,” Sowden says. “There are a lot of details that go into planning how the rug will be constructed and what fibers to use because there are so many different choices.”

The Interior Resources team decided on a Tibetan hand-knotted wool and silk blend that implements alo, a natural plant fiber, to add rich texture to the pieces, according to Sowden.

After getting the plans in place, each rug takes four to six months to make, but the time and effort is worth it. Machine-woven rugs could be produced faster, but Sowden says nothing compares to the quality of a handwoven rug. They wear better and hold up after repeated cleanings.

Harrison’s converted designs look like aerial views of waves washing onto remote beaches somewhere in the South Pacific. She uses a pour method to create her large-scale works—literally pouring cans of paint onto the canvas.

“There’s a stunning organic look to her paintings with their layers upon layers of paint,” Sowden explains. “To emulate this free-flowing feel in our rugs, we alternated wool, silk and alo fibers to achieve rich texture.”

The smattering of options offered on Interior Resources’ website depict undulating cool blue tones in a range of typical sizes, from 9-by-12 to 12-by-15. Interior Resources can also fulfill custom orders of Harrison’s designs in any size and color. The rugs can be hand-knotted or hand-tufted with a latex backing.

When it comes down to it, perhaps the most important aspect of this collection, Sowden is proud to assure, is that the rugs were produced by the highest caliber manufacturers.

Interior Resources is designated as an “international importer” for GoodWeave International, an organization dedicated to ending child labor in the rug manufacturing industry. The organization regularly does inspections of rug manufacturers, and if children are found working there, they are provided housing and sent to school.

Its founder, Indian activist Kailash Satyarthi, won a Nobel Peace Prize in 2014 for his work with GoodWeave and other initiatives to stop child labor. Not only is it a certified importer, Interior Resources also donates a portion of proceeds to Good- Weave’s mission.

“Developing a unique collection is sensational, but at the end of the day, the true reward is knowing your sales are making a difference in the lives of children locally and internationally,” Sowden wrote in a statement that appears on GoodWeave’s website.

The mother of two has seen the industry change drastically in the 40 years since her parents opened the business. She and her brother, Evan Green, were involved from the start, playing among the samples and helping out where possible.

They inherited the business from their parents, Merikay and Jack Green, when they retired recently, and the duo continues to fulfill their parents’ vision for operating one of the largest industry-supplying showrooms in Dallas, with over 300 manufacturers represented.

“We are blessed with an amazing staff and work diligently to create a showroom that designers will enjoy perusing,” Sowden says. “Our spacious 13,000-square-foot showroom is one of a kind in beauty and product selection.”

Alaena Hostetter is a Dallas-based journalist who writes about her favorite things: art, design, culture, music, entertainment and food.