Rugs made of new materials

Marjatta Metsovaara made rapid carpet design progress as she grew up in carpet manufacturing as a small child.

Artek’s exhibition in 1957 featured a convincing display of a collection of new and promising carpet designs that did not exist in Finland before. High-quality rugs were enthusiastically received, and their varying color scales were considered with acclaim in the carpet industry. 

Metsovaara’s carpets were very durable. The materials used were netting fabric, linen twine, sisal yarn, coconut hair, and horsehair yarn which made these carpets truly dirt-repellent, easy to clean, and considerably more durable than, for example, wool or rag rugs. 

In the 1950s, the range included thick and very soft rugs. A skillful combination of wool and sisal made the carpets airy and light and available in different thicknesses. It wasn’t easy to dye the fibers for such carpets. Marjatta also valued handspun yarns, even for carpets produced by machines.

In the 1960s Marjatta Metsovaara experimented with tough and green esparto rope. So came the Sparto rug with sisal as a warp and plastic tape and esparto rope as a weft. The ends of this hand-woven rug were braided. It was a vibrant and solid, and durable carpet.

At the end of the 1950s, Marjatta Metsovaara introduced more carpets with imaginative and open-minded woven surfaces. New products included a rug in wool with a thick weft yarn that was hand-spun into bamboo and light woven linen. The thick parts of the mix formed a kind of fluff during weaving. The name of this carpet was Tarik.  

Patternless pile carpets were also hand-woven at the mill in Urjalankylä. One famous design was Nukka (pile), and it was sold by the meter and was a huge success. Its surface impression was very rugged. The colors were deep and softly harmonious, and personal. Nukka went well with other Metsovaara textiles.

From the 1960s, Metsovaara began to commission mechanical productions, especially the ryijy rugs. Wittrup in Denmark produced some designs like Rinkula.

Terra and Villaterra (wool terra) were soft rugs in wool skilfully mixed in 2 colors or in 2 different yarn qualities to create an exciting surface effect. Sisal hemp (the most valuable stiff fiber) was combined with linen and jute to make the Raanu rug, a practical country house rug designed for the Swedish market. It was sold in Finland as well.

American-Finnish company Finnrya moved to Finland in 1963 to manufacture rugs industrially. The most exciting models they made were those designed by Marjatta Metsovaara. In the beginning, Finnrya used a long, worsted yarn of high quality, glossy, vibrant, and bright in color, and 20 different shades of color were available. Only two different shades of colors could be tied to one fluff tassel. Simpukka was the most exciting design and is now among the most coveted collectibles reaching high prices in auctions.

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