Jaipur Rugs has had unusual collaborations in the past and was most recently at the Salone del Mobile in Milan this April, courtesy a capsule collection with designer Pavitra Rajaram. There was also the creative partnership with Ashiesh Shah in January, to turn this designer’s watercolour paintings into hand-knotted rugs. Its latest, therefore, comes as no surprise as the Rajasthan-based company ties up with one of Britain’s most distinguished silversmiths and jewellery artists, the late Jocelyn Burton, to create a collection of limited-edition rugs. Edited excerpts from an interview with Yogesh Chaudhary, Director at Jaipur Rugs:
Question: From Hiren Patel to Ashiesh Shah, Vinita Chaitanya to Central Saint Martins, Jaipur Rugs have had many collaborations over the years. What got you interested in Jocelyn Burton’s work?
Answer: Jaipur Rugs has always collaborated with prominent, leading and celebrated designers and architects. The late Jocelyn Burton is certainly considered one among life’s originals, an explosive, opinionated, effervescent being. All of that’s amply meditated in her work and everything is just very exact and technically perfect.
Her life ethos, guided by the Buddhist principles of fairness and kindness, very much resonated with our own beliefs, and her fascination with peerless craftsmanship found a natural receptacle in the ancestral art of rug making.
Q: Whenever Jocelyn designed anything — be it a wall sconce or a piece of jewellery — she created full-size paintings. This is true of the new collection too. The 16 pieces are inspired by some of her most iconic designs… could you identify a few?
A: The entire ‘Woven Gems’ collection is motivated by her astounding and exquisite designs.
Lirio’s delicate floral pattern is based on Jocelyn’s original painting made when producing a two-metre long tulip centrepiece in Sterling silver and fine enamels, commissioned by the Chelsea Arts Club in London.
Ammonodia takes cues from Jocelyn’s fondness for the sea and its most intriguing creatures. The corner designs depict an ammonite fossil shell from the Jurassic period, which became Jocelyn’s favourite shell design and is still used by her studio as its corporate letterhead.
Tessel’s intricate design, which originated as an inlaid stone tabletop, boasts an exuberant wreath motif adorned with botanical elements.
Belomancy evokes an extract from a quiver of alabaster arrows featuring in one of Jocelyn’s iconic lit sconces.
Neptune draws from the notable Fishmongers Wall Sconce, a piece commissioned by Lord Inchcape to commemorate his father, a former Prime Warden of the Worshipful Company of Fishmongers, and which now sits in the Fishmongers Hall on London Bridge.
Crystallum’s design emanates from a wall sconce made in gold, lapis and cast glass.
Secretum and Arborium were inspired by manifold coral shapes from Jocelyn’s found collection, which she gathered in the course of her travels around the world and fondly called her ‘Cabinet of Curiosities’.
Tapestry is a perfect replica in silk of a design Jocelyn had originally conceived for an inlaid stone table.
Porcella displays Jocelyn’s ammonite shell motif found in much of her work.
Q: How closely was Jocelyn involved with the rug makers who were using Tibetan and Persian construction techniques for this collection. Did she visit the studio before the pandemic struck?
A: Jocelyn had a deep-seated association with India and its legacy, which energised her to channel her inventive energies into creating an arrangement of carefully assembled floor coverings propelled by her gems and flatware designs.
During her visits to Delhi and Jaipur, she was captivated by the colourful magnificence of the neighbourhood design, as well as the unparalleled artfulness and creativity of the craftsmanship on show. It was in 2018 that the chance union between Jaipur floor coverings and Jocelyn Burton was manufactured through the presentation of a common companion. Guided by the Buddhist standards of sympathy and value, which were central to her ethos, Jocelyn’s values consistently adjusted with those of Jaipur Rugs, who held the same convictions. Her interest with the exceptional artfulness and expertise included within the genealogical craftsmanship of mat-making found a natural home in Jaipur Rugs’ conventional strategies. From the initial conceptualisation to the final plan changes just before her untimely passing, Jocelyn remained wholeheartedly committed to the creation of the collection.
The ‘Woven Gems’ collection is a collaboration that brings together the unparalleled design expertise of Jocelyn and the superior craftsmanship of conventional Indian craftsmen, while paying tribute to the bequest of the primary lady silversmith.
Q: The rug collection was first launched at the London Craft Week. How was the response?
A: This collection was a showcase of creativity, talent, and inspiration crafted from 100% pure silk, by over 30 artists, each rug has been meticulously created over a period of 60 days, using traditional techniques passed down through generations.
The entire collection of Jocelyn Burton and collaboration with Jaipur rugs received a tremendous response at the Nehru Centre during the London Craft Week as this was the limited – edition rug collection which discovered the unique fusion of global craftsmanship and traditional Indian artistry.