Émigré weaver develops bonds with key design talents Day, Conran and Liberty
Born in Norway, Gerd Hay-Edie (1909 – 1997) studied design at the Home Industries School for Women in Oslo. Before the war she held posts at Dartington Hall, the Welsh woolen mills and in Oslo, then traveled to Shanghai, Calcutta and Hong Kong. In China Gerd learned to weave on local looms whilst extensively researching Chinese design and in India she designed and produced hand-woven rugs.
In 1949, Gerd founded a weaving studio in Ireland, later to become Mourne Textiles. She established long-standing successful relationships with Robin Day, Terrance Conran and at Liberty.
The rug design shown here as a wall hanging was chosen by Robin Day for La Triennale de Milano 1951, then shown at The Festival of Britain; it is produced on a linen warp, combining looped wool yarns and hand twisted unspun fleece to create a rich surface effect. Milano Rug won Silver Medal at Milan 1951 and is still produced today by Mourne Textiles.
Grandson Mario Sierra took over the healm of the family business in 2012 from his mother Karen Hay-Edie from whom he learnt his craft and whom had kept the looms going with courses and commissions through the 1970s when the international rise of synthetics and more local troubles threatened survival. The mid-century style and process of Milano rug has clearly inspired a current range of wall hangnings, hand-twisted fleece combining with speckly berber yarns and linen to create great textural interest.