We Make Carpets to make US debut at Rice U.’s Moody Center for the Arts

Rice University’s Moody Center for the Arts has commissioned Dutch collective We Make Carpets to create a site-specific installation for its Central Gallery. This exhibition marks the first time that artists Marcia Nolte, Stijn van der Vleuten and Bob Waardenburg will show their colorful work in the United States.

We Make Carpets

We Make Carpets, Umbrella Carpet 2 (detail), 6000 paper cocktail umbrellas. Photo: Ewout Huibers

The public is invited to the Moody’s free opening celebration Saturday, June 9, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.; the artists will give a gallery talk at 11:30. The installation will be on view through Sept. 8.

Eschewing a preconceived plan, the We Make Carpets artists decide only the location, size and material prior to the intuitive, labor-intensive marathon by which they create their artworks. They call these pieces “carpets” in light of their early works’ rectangular shapes and intricate designs.

We Make Carpets often celebrates local materials in its works. For their Moody installation, the artists were inspired to use vibrantly dyed crêpe paper after visiting Houston and witnessing the production of handmade piñatas. “Crêpe Paper Carpet” will be constructed over a multiweek period in the Central Gallery, where floor-to-ceiling windows will allow it to be seen by viewers both inside and outside the building.

The simplicity and accessibility of material that characterizes We Make Carpets’ work began with the artists’ first collaboration in 2009. For a Dutch Design Week exhibition titled “Instant Nature,” they created “Forest Carpet” from pine cones and needles they collected on-site. They have continued to create works using everyday materials, including coffee stirrers, mussels, balloons, pasta and cocktail umbrellas.

About Katharine Shilcutt

Katharine Shilcutt is a media relations specialist in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.