A few months back I got involved in a rug designing competition for GUR. It came at a time when the world was in an odd state; daily life felt scary and had completely changed. I’d been working all day on other projects when I came across it on instagram. Seeing the competition on it’s closing day I just had to submit some entries. It was literally a race against the clock with only a few hours before the deadline! So after all these months, I’ve decided to write up this post, so you can see what I did and learn about this interesting traditional company based in Portugal.
The Beginnings of GUR
GUR is a small business based in Portugal that creates traditional hand woven rugs. Celia, GUR’s founder, came from the town of Viana do Castelo that is rich in traditional handcraft. She worked at an artists studio in Porto for a number of years until she was invited back to Viana do Castelo to an exhibition. The exhibition was about bridging the gap between artisans of traditional handcrafts and young designers. It was here that she met an experienced weaver, Cláudia Vilas Boas, and they worked together to create the first GUR.
Growth of the Concept
Pleased with the results, the initial project expanded as she shared her experience with some friends who were illustrators and asked them to come up with their own creations. From here the concept grew into a successful creative business. GUR has maintained the traditional handcraft manufacturing techniques of the region whilst incorporating a design factor by working with illustrators and artists. The essence of GUR is taking the typical Portuguese woven rug and making it more fun.
The competition was very straight forward and open in terms of its brief. Up to 5 entries could be submitted and a use of their manufacturing methods could be used to make the designs more interesting. Unfortunately due to the time available, I had to get out a few designs and mock ups very quickly. I would have loved to design the rugs in a way that made use of the unique threading method and depicted this in the mock ups too.
The designs were based around a mental health illustration I’d made a few month prior. It was of a series of interlocking crescent shapes, flowing with a calming blue gradient with contrasting dot at it’s edge. The first design is an adaptation of the illustration. I genuinely loved making these designs and will hopefully getting some prints made in the not too distant future. Unfortunately I wasn’t selected as a winner but the designs did get a good reception on Instagram. Let me know what you think.