Crayon Artel brings Persian carpets into the 21st century

Start-up incorporates age-old craftsmanship in realising personalised luxury

07 June 2024 - 12:04
By Declan Gibbon
Crayon Artel: Untitled II is a one-of-a-kind creation.
Image: Crayon Artel Crayon Artel: Untitled II is a one-of-a-kind creation.

Born in South Africa, Edward Wakefield has always been focused on the big picture of fashion trends, hype and the encompassing culture.

The young entrepreneur started reselling Yeezys in high school, progressed to working at Palace Skateboards in London, and these days travels across the Silk Road with his latest venture, Crayon Artel.

Inspired by the history imbued within the millions of wool and silk knots of a Persian carpet, Wakefield and his small team, based in Iran, Turkey, Australia and the UK, incorporate contemporary design from the art, photography, and academic worlds into bespoke, one-of-a-kind creations.

Crayon Artel’s carpets are completely and authentically Persian, and as far as we can tell  we have no competitors within this field,” said Wakefield.

“We are thinking outside the 2,500-year-old framework of Persian craftsmanship. It’s incredibly hard to manufacture carpets in Iran, given the sanctions and political and economic instability. A lot of people end up making their carpets in India because it’s cheaper and there are fewer restrictions, but with the costs to culture and craftsmanship.”

Crayon Artel Mr. Happy Face was created in collaboration with South African-based artist Tanja Margetts.
Image: Supplied Crayon Artel Mr. Happy Face was created in collaboration with South African-based artist Tanja Margetts.
Crayon Artel Mr. Happy Face.
Image: Supplied Crayon Artel Mr. Happy Face.

A luxurious narrative, one of modern technology, art old and new, and a deep reverence for the crafts of yesteryear affords clients an unheard-of exclusivity. Crayon Artel uses the same knotting technique as the Pazyryk carpet, the oldest discovered, as the foundation of its all-inclusive offering.

“The client’s individuality is completely considered. Each and every knot is intentionally placed to reflect their vision and sense of self,” said Wakefield.

Crayon Artel’s team is hands-on throughout the process of translating the artwork, and sourcing the naturally dyed, premium materials, ensuring the design is accurately articulated. Viewing the carpets as a piece of history and part of the enduring legacy, as well as a means to express one’s unique personality or brand, gives the start-up its cutting-edge in the field of bespoke home art.

Crayon Artel Untitled II was created in collaboration with London-based Polish/German artist Anna Walach.
Image: Supplied Crayon Artel Untitled II was created in collaboration with London-based Polish/German artist Anna Walach.

“This is the next stage of the Persian carpet’s evolutionary cycle. ‘Traditional’ art is often limited to the wall and viewed with the same physical perspective by each person, but when art is on the floor it must make sense as an artwork and as a piece of design used and viewed in multiple different ways,” said Wakefield.

Details, which are digitally rendered to reflect the client’s wishes, or sourced from artists or the notable archive of licensing rights Crayon Artel has acquired, are woven through the fingertips of craftspeople who possess the skill passed down from generation to generation.

“A lot of the work we do is closely linked with digital art, and the model of NFTs, which plays into our ethos of juxtaposing the past and the future, bringing them together in the present,” Wakefield said.

“Our carpets are unique, down to the very knot. We allow a previously inaccessible luxury to be realised in a true reflection of our contemporary culture. The crafting technique is incredibly beautiful and truly human, and very grounding.

“In an age where everything is digital, or mass produced and ephemeral, our Persian carpet are created, almost in protest to this, as artworks that will literally still be around 100 years from now.”

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