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The Alternative Blog

The Museum of Carpet

View the wonderful work of two of our creative collaborators Margo Selby and Louisa Knapp at the ‘Magnificent Design’ exhibition at The Museum of Carpet. The show explores historic and contemporary carpet designs and runs until 3 September.

Alternative champions British design, British Wool and British Making in the magnificent exhibits by Margo and Louisa.

Margo Selby

Margo Selby is a renowned British textile artist and designer who has crafted beautiful designs for Alternative over many years. Her practice is focused on pushing the boundaries of weaving to create contemporary stylish fabrics for a range of textile applications, uniting the very best weavers and high-quality fibres to produce well-crafted products.

Louisa Knapp

Louisa Knapp studied at the University of Huddersfield specialising in textiles. She won the Campaign for Wool competition with Alternative Flooring and Margo Selby with FIBONACCI a co-ordinating carpet and cloth celebrating British design and the wonders of wool.  We are proud to nurture young talent. Quirky Stayathome Fibonacci is now a limited-edition Alternative carpet.

Festival Rug by Margo Selby

Margo Selby’s ‘Festival Rug’ as seen exhibited at The Museum of Carpet

Festival Rug’ by Margo Selby – A dynamic patchwork of pattern this hand-tufted rug  features carved motifs in varying pile heights. It is made by artisans in wool and Tencel, in a multi-coloured palette of light and dark. Each hand-dyed yarn is chosen to maximise contrast and texture. The design organises shapes on an invisible grid, juxtaposing shape and scale.

The Festival Rug designed in 2013 and now re-woven, is handmade in India. Supporting traditional community weaving industries in economically developing countries is a core-value of our design and production practice.

Are there considerations for designing a pattern for a rug?

I have learnt a lot about scale from designing rugs. What can work beautifully on a smaller scale fabric can become crude if scaled up literally. I like to put pattern within pattern, filling larger scale designs with smaller textures.

What makes a great pattern?

Texture: The shapes and colours create their own textures which help to add depth when layering a space.

Flow: A good pattern will flow and not create any specific directional lines; it will work when being seen from any angle.

Colour: Colour can change a pattern dramatically; the placement of colour will draw the eye to different elements of a design. It’s important to get the balance right for a successful design.


From fun Quirky patterns to bold designer striped carpets, we have worked with Margo on numerous award-winning carpet ranges. We love her use of colour and how she transforms her stunning fabric designs into carpets and floor coverings. See the entire collection here…

Margo Selby for Alternative Flooring Patch Red whipped whipped stair runner

Quirky  Stayathome Fibonacci by Louisa Knapp

Quirky B Stayathome Fibonacci Carpet by Louisa Knapp as seen exhibited at The Museum of Carpet exhibition, ‘Magnificent Design’

Describe this design.

Fibonacci is a series of interlocking organic curves which weave in and out of each other creating a feeling of undulating, rippling waves.

Created during the first lock down, my Fibonacci design was a reflection of my craving for nature and addresses the shift towards working from home and the need for a symbiosis between nature and our interior spaces.

Quirky  Stayathome Fibonacci Carpet as seen exhibited with the matching cloth and cushion at Campaign for Wool.


Why does it work as a carpet?

Fibonacci lends itself well to a woven carpet which requires a repeat pattern. It seamlessly blends organic curves with a bold graphic design twist and therefore the repeat line is not seemingly obvious. I think the visual illusion and movement created within the design works so well in an interior space by giving depth and interest to a flat floor which can often be large open spaces in our homes.

What did you learn from the making process?

Although it took me weeks to design and present my application, even after winning, the hard work was really just beginning! I worked over the summer with Margo Selby and Lorna Haigh, Alternative’s Creative Director to finalise the pattern, scale and colourway of the design over Zoom. So, for me it was a great experience to learn first-hand the amount of work and business to business co-ordination that goes into releasing a new product.

In the making – Quirky B Stayathome Fibonacci Carpet by Louisa Knapp


What makes a great pattern?

Although an incredibly difficult question, for me great patterns create intrigue, make you look and allow room for discovery. Patterns works in synergy with your colour palette and adds depth to the look, feel and narrative of the overall design.

What are your exhibition highlights?

It was so great to visit a museum of such heritage, exhibiting historic carpets side by side with contemporary and young designers. It was fascinating to explore old and new. Admiring contemporary craftsmanship as well as seeing how many of the historic carpet designs have truly stood the test of time and these classic, timeless designs seeming now quite contemporary!

It was an absolute honour to have my design hang in a museum and hopefully the exhibition with spark interest and passion for British design and carpet manufacturing.

The Museum of Carpet

The Museum of Carpet is only museum in the UK dedicated to the heritage, art and industry of carpet making. It explores the legacy of this global trade, both in Kidderminster and the UK as a whole. Kidderminster was recognised as the Woven Carpet Capital of the World. The town has been the centre of the carpet industry since the early 1700s.

The Museum of Carpet

The inspiration behind the exhibition and the designs

Each summer the Museum of Carpet opens a temporary exhibition with the aim of showing off some of the collection that is not on permanent display. ‘Magnificent Design’ is an exhibition of historic carpets and contemporary designs, celebrating the 10th anniversary of the opening of the Museum of Carpet.

Birthdays are a time to wonder at the past, celebrate the present and look forward to the future. This exhibition was created through collaborations between the Museum of Carpet, our industry partners and by connecting with recent textile design graduates, we are inspired and challenged to embrace new ideas.

The textiles on display were selected to illustrate themes which have inspired the designs including lockdown, the environment and the current trend for biophilia – love of nature.

Festival Rug by Margo Selby and Quirky  Stayathome Fibonacci by Louisa Knapp as seen at The Museum of Carpet

Sue Hetherington, the Museum Manager comments on designs by Margo Selby and Louisa Knapp…

“We are delighted to have the opportunity to exhibit Margo Selby’s ‘Festival Rug’. It forms the climax of the exhibition, where there is an explosion of colour and abstract forms. This section also features the work of Lucienne Day, was one of Britain’s pioneering textile designers in the 1950s and 60s, she brought contemporary colour to an otherwise drab post war Britain.”

“Louisa’s ‘Fibonacci’ reflects the concern young designers have for the environment and the climate crisis. Her design reflects her fascination with the psychological concept of biophilia and humanity’s deep need for connection to the natural world. ‘Quirky Stayathome Fibonacci’ was named after the Medieval Italian mathematician. It features a mesmerizing motif woven in British wool. The design pairs the beauty of mathematical patterns which are prevalent in the natural world with a bold style of graphic design.”

Here at Alternative Flooring, we believe that carpet making is a craft that should be celebrated. We celebrate our makers and all the people involved in making our products, we can never say it is just a carpet.

Carpet makingAlternative’s Margo Selby Fair Isle Reiko handcrafted in the Axminster looms

The exhibition Magnificent Design runs until 3rd September and an illustrated talk ‘Art into Industry’ with Margo Selby will take place on Saturday 20th of August at 11am.


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The Edit - home style by Alternative