First Look: Rugs Too Beautiful to Stand On

Dana Barnes’s debut collection “Souled Objects” won the Editors Award for Textiles at last year’s ICFF. And deservedly so: They are like nothing you’ve ever seen. Her new collection, Unspun: Tangled and Fused, currently available at Ralph Pucci International at 44 West 18th Street, is equally astounding. “This is a whole new direction,” Dana told me over the phone. “I love to work in large scale, and now I am experimenting mixing unspun wool fibers with alpaca and silk as well.” My jaw dropped as I surveyed this surreal wonderland, starting with the huge wall hanging at the end of the gallery called In Knots, and the circular braided piece in front of it, Grazed. Photo: Antoine Bootz, Courtesy of Ralph Pucci

In her fiber lab, Dana loves to experiment with all forms of historical knotting and netting. This collection was inspired by a trip home, down south, where aspects of the landscape and vegetation (oak trees, hanging Spanish moss) made their way into the needlepoint and knotted vessels seen here. Photo: Antoine Bootz, Courtesy of Ralph Pucci

Dana used rug-braiding and felting techniques to create this family of objects. The inner tubes against the wall are covered in alpaca fiber that is spun and knit into a fabric that is then felted and sculpted around the tubes. Photo: Wendy Goodman

Dana previously worked in the fashion industry, where her clothing and textile designs were influenced by her travels around the world. The Crossroads rug is made up of hand-felted panels. The design is a modern interpretation of a magnified cross-stitch pattern. Photo: Wendy Goodman

When Dana spied a tractor tire on a farm, she thought, “How great does it get! This is a perfect design for embossing.” The tire’s treads are embossed with felt while the hole in the middle is covered in chocolate-colored leather. Photo: Wendy Goodman

The luxurious area rug is made with extra-large unspun merino wool, which Dana crocheted into a 40-inch square motif. The square was hand sculpted, wet-felted, and sculpted again and again until it shrank to a 34-inch square”a very labor-intensive process. Photo: Wendy Goodman

This rectangular wool rug uses “a new technique pulled from ancient blanket stitching,” Dana says. She added loose tails at the ends, along with the flat felting. Photo: Wendy Goodman

First Look: Rugs Too Beautiful to Stand On