Christopher Farr

ENGLAND (1953)

Educated at the Slade School of Fine Art in London and trained in textiles in villages in Peru and Turkey, Christopher Farr has made his mark as one of today’s preeminent rug designers. As a young abstract painter in 1975, he won a Boise Travel Scholarship to Peru. It was this trip that soon sealed the direction of his artistic life, because there Farr encountered pre-Columbian textiles for the first time and was seized by the magnetism and utility of the 3,000-year-old work. He began to search for ways to marry his love of abstraction to the ancient craft of textile art and spent months designing and making rugs in a village in Western Turkey. With time, his work fused the venerable techniques of hand-dyeing and hand-looming with a modernist concern for color and form. The result is abstract wool canvases for the floor.

In 1988 he established a company under his own name, Christopher Farr, with antique rug dealer and restorer Matthew Bourne. For the first few years of the company’s existence, a collection of carpets designed by Farr was sold alongside high-quality antiques. Then, in 1991, the company collaborated with the Royal College of Art in London on Brave New Rugs, an exhibition of rugs designed by the college’s textile students. The instant success of this show convinced Farr and Bourne that the future lay in new production, and they went on to devote all their energy and resources to enhancing the profile and status of the contemporary rug. The company now has two showrooms, in London and Los Angeles, which feature Farr’s work, as well as rugs designed by Gillian Ayres, Kate Blee, Allegra Hicks, Rifat Ozbek, Gunta Stölzl and Georgina von Etzdorf, among others.

Farr’s work has also been shown and sold in the United States at Ralph Pucci International, and in 2000 he launched Christopher Farr Cloth, a line of woven fabrics and prints. Farr co-wrote (along with Bourne and Fiona Leslie of the Victoria and Albert Museum) Contemporary Rugs: Art and Design, an encyclopedic reference tome on modern rug design around the world, published in 2002.

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