Fort Street Studio’s signature collection of exquisite wild silk hand-knotted carpets is crafted using Dandong silk, a natural fiber selected for its durability, luxurious texture, and matte luster. The Studio’s weavers execute quintessential painterly designs with watercolor bleeds that set its carpets apart.
Dandong silk is harvested from the wild in oak forests in Northern China, an area with a rich history of silk production. Since the silkworms must endure harsher climates and conditions, their cocoons result in a silk fiber much thicker and stronger than the domestic variety typically found in rugs today.
Wild silk yarns yield one of the softest and most luxurious hands in flooring, similar to the feel of the finest cashmere or the softest suede. The yarns are spun tightly together and the rugs are densely woven – a standard 9’x12’ carpet can have over a million and a half knots – which makes it especially resistant, and downright luscious.
In 2013 Fort Street Studio launched its first design collection hand-knotted in wool. The collection represented a broadening of design aesthetics while maintaining the highest hand-made quality standards, and the addition of innovative weaving techniques to the designers’ repertoire.
After years of resisting invitations to produce carpet designs in wool, founders Janis Provisor and Brad Davis connected with master artisans who were up to the task of executing the designs & textures the couple were after. The company’s catalog of iconic watercolor designs had been executed for 16 years using a precise Persian knot, so producing in other countries with different fibers was an adventure that began with a 6 week research trip to Asia. The couple immersed themselves in the world of wool carpets until they sifted out the best ateliers that could produce the innovative design vocabulary for which the Studio is known. They wanted to establish a broader offering of handmade carpet for every room in a home.
The resulting wool collection is a symphony of texture, design, intricate hand cutting and subtle coloring, where in some cases the design motif is created by a change in weaving texture or pile height.
Fort Street Studio’s newest material introduction takes the idea of fine weaving in high knot counts with lustrous fibers to the next level. These Thai silk carpets are entirely flat-woven of multi-ply, hand-reeled silk in an antique kelim weave, which yields glamorous results reminiscent of a tapestry.
These carpets are made in a weaving atelier in a small village in Northern Thailand that cultivates the silk worms, harvests the cocoons, processes the silk threads and hand-spins the yarn within the same community. The yarns are then custom-dyed in small lots and hand-woven into luxurious carpets. The carpets are then washed and finished to the highest standard. Each has the luminosity and luster for which Thai silk is world famous. This hand-crafted product is unique to this one-village factory, and is exclusive to Fort Street Studio.
Fort Street Studio’s wool tweeds and cut pile carpets are interpreted in hand processed, high altitude wool, according to time treasured Persian and Tibetan hand-knotting techniques. Often, a dose of cultivated silk can be added for an extra touch of luxury.
Watercolor designs can be accented with a hint of shimmer, as the mottled abrash of wool is juxtaposed against glistening cultivated silk. Subtle striations or soft heathers, where wool and silk strands are spooled together, complete a tailored collection of solid textures.