Design competition launched in celebration of Allistair Covell: Canvas To Carpet exhibition at Broadway Gallery

Written by Digswell Arts

On April 14, 2019

To celebrate the Broadway Gallery exhibition Allistair Covell: Canvas To Carpet, featuring the artworks of Digswell Arts Fellow Allistair Covell, the Broadway Gallery has launched its ‘Design Your Own Rug’ competition. Organised in partnership with the Digswell Arts Trust, Letchworth Garden City Heritage Foundation and Rug Maker, the competition invites the public to create their own ‘canvas to carpet’, using the exhibition and Allistair’s abstract colourful paintings and hand-knotted carpet designs as inspiration.

The winning design will be hand-made into a 1 metre x 1 metre square rug, hand-woven by Rug Maker’s weavers in Nepal. The winner’s rug will be initially placed on public display at Letchworth’s new tourist information facility Discover Letchworth, before being awarded to the winning artist or designer to keep.

The competition closes on Sunday 5th May 2019, the same day as the exhibition Allistair Covell: Canvas To Carpet closes and for more details on the competition and how to enter click on the link below:

Canvas To Carpet is the first major solo exhibition of Digswell Arts fellow Allistair Covell and opened at Letchworth’s Broadway Gallery on 8th February 2019. The exhibition presents a series of hand-knotted carpets as the centrepiece to a display that surveys the artist’s creative practice over the last five years. The carpets, handcrafted in Afghanistan by Turquoise Mountain and Nepal by Rug Maker, are woven interpretations of Allistair’s vibrant and rhythmic abstract paintings, themselves inspired by the artist’s synaesthesic responses to music and sound. Synaesthesia is a neurological phenomenon, a condition best described as a ‘union of the senses’ where one sensory experience prompts another. For Allistair, synaesthesia grants him the ability to see colour upon hearing musical notes. Music is an ever-changing audiovisual landscape, with sounds appearing as different shapes, tones and textures. Allistair mixes his synaesthetic experiences with traditional art subjects such as abstract depictions of people, places, events or memories.

Commenting on the exhibition, the Broadway Gallery said “we are very excited to host Allistair’s first solo exhibition and the reception to it has been overwhelmingly positive with comments and praise ranging from Allistair’s work and being given the opportunity to follow his journey from canvas to carpet, to learning more about the techniques the weavers in Afghanistan and Nepal use to interpret and faithfully translate his energetic brushworks into unique, hand-woven compositions”.

International design magazine COVER, which specialises in carpets and textiles for interiors and the art world, and that has featured Allistair’s work in the past, have written an online article supporting the exhibition and the competition:

In 2014, Allistair won the inaugural Best Young Designer Award at the 9th Carpet Design Awards at Domotex Hannover. This was Allistair’s first experience of creating a composition solely for a carpet and, driven by the fascination of the artistic heritage and traditional techniques involved in making carpets, he began to translate his paintings into woven artworks. Allistair is currently a fellow of the Digswell Arts Trust and is an elected member of Design-Nation, the premium portfolio for Craft, Design and Product in the UK.

Since opening in 2016, the Broadway Gallery has shown retrospectives of the work of artists Richard Smith and Gordon House, alongside exhibitions including Kate Terry, Michael Brennand-Wood and Rebecca Louise Law, and recently an exhibition in collaboration with the Crafts Council and a Hayward touring show of screenprints by Sir Eduardo Paolozzi.

Allistair Covell: Canvas To Carpet is open until 5th May 2019 at the Broadway Gallery, 2 The Arcade, Letchworth Garden City, SG6 3EW

For more information on Allistair Covell: Canvas To Carpet exhibition please visit

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