HOUSE & GARDEN MAGAZINE
By Elizabeth Metcalfe
A new retrospective exhibition celebrates the work of the carpet designer Sandy Jones.
‘I think rugs should sit quietly and make everything else in the room look wonderful,’ says the carpet designer Sandy Jones. Now, her designs are taking centre stage in a retrospective selling exhibition from May 14 to June 14 at the Afridi Gallery, SW3, which specialises in twentieth-century design and antique carpets. Seven of Sandy’s playful, colour-blocked works, reflecting her 27-year career, have been reproduced for Sandy Jones: Stepping into the Light.
Having modelled for Mary Quant in her youth and later worked as a costume designer, Sandy turned to textiles in the early Nineties. She became passionate about African and Asian examples - thanks in part to her interior-designer husband, Chester Jones - and enrolled on a textiles and embroidery course at London College of Fashion. She started making carpets when a client of her husband’s suggested that a couple of paintings in Chester’s office would provide wonderful inspiration for a carpet. ‘I made eight for him,’ recalls Sandy.
Since then, she has created carpets for interior designers, including Hugh Leslie, and worked on prestigious projects such as a 12 x 12 - metre rug for Claridge’s. The carpets in this exhibition, created in collaboration with the gallery’s owner, Shahbaz Afridi, are made in Turkey from hand-dyed, hand-spun wool. ‘The craftspeople don’t scour the wool, so you get a wonderfully irregular finish,’ she says.
Now in her seventies, she continues to take on commissions. ‘Some people just ask me to design a carpet for their space,’ she says. ‘They don’t specify a style and they let me get on with it. I create the designs by tearing up handmade papers, colouring them and playing with their arrangement,’ Sandy explains.
The gallery is holding a number of exhibitions over the coming months, including a showcase of Neisha Crosland’s original artworks in September.