The Guild: Joanne Hurd

An artist spins yarns.
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Joanne Hurd_rug_designs

Joanne Hurd with her yarn samples.

Successful kitchen designer Joanne Hurd was minding her own business when her intuitive design sense manifested in fantastical patterns that sometimes appeared to her in the wee hours. Not that she leads with that.

Design for ‘Playing in the Undercurrents.’

Design for ‘Playing in the Undercurrents.’

We knew Hurd as a kitchen designer and went to say hello when she exhibited at an artisan fair; she’d brought her chest of 1,400 exquisite yarn samples, several full-size rugs, and a photomontage of others. That’s how we discovered her designs for beautifully hand-knotted wool and silk rugs ... Is this one a little bit Morris or Voysey? Or maybe Knox—but then again, something tribal, African or aboriginal. All with an underlying design mathematical in the way of a nautilus or fern.

Joanne Hurd custom rugs

‘Ramdidas’ is an apparently abstract design that morphs into a shape-shifting zoo of mirror-image animals—elk and elephants, snake heads, bears. Blink and it’s abstract again.

The work is not reproduction or even interpretive. It is essentially new, and truly Arts & Crafts. Even as a little kid, Joanne says, she found drawing rhythmic pattern on paper magical. She and her twin sister would unroll brown paper on the floor and settle in to draw house plans and even towns. She and her older brother often rearranged bedroom furniture, taking delight in creating a totally different feeling in the room.

“I’m amazed at the hand-tied knots; I drool over the craftsmanship,” the designer says.

“I’m amazed at the hand-tied knots; I drool over the craftsmanship,” the designer says.

Her brother became an architect and interior designer: “He gave me the nudge to pursue my own interior design degree,” Joanne says. “Years later, still doodling, I was managing my kitchen-and-bath design business when he asked me to assist with carpet designs. That was a brief interlude in the 1980s. I’ve been doing my own rug and tapestry designs only since 2009.”

'Dancing Masks" is one custom design by artist Joanne Hurd.

'Dancing Masks" is one custom design by artist Joanne Hurd.

All commissioned pieces are made-to-order from designs that either are customized from the collection or newly created from the client’s own inspiration. “The team in Nepal is wonderful... I’m now an importer proudly licensed by Good-Weave, a global non-profit foundation dedicated to eliminating child, forced, and bonded labor in the carpet industry.”

Joanne Hurd
Interior DesignScapes in Motion
Gloucester, Mass.
(978) 283-5105
jshurddesign.com

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