Mangum adds rugs to licensed collections

Initial Surya collection includes Artisan, Essential & Remarque

Artist Bill Mangum stands beside one of his new Artisan Collection rugs from Surya in his Greensboro, N.C. gallery.GREENSBORO, N.C. — Bill Mangum is quick to joke that he got into the home furnishings world in reverse.

The artist, known for landscapes based on scenes from his native North Carolina, said most licensees typically begin their home collections with accessories and build up until they get their opportunity to design major furniture collections.

But Mangum said, “I’ve backed into this whole home collection thing.”

In 2013, Mangum and Klaussner united to create the Carolina Preserves Collection, which now has three whole home lines. A partnership with Klaussner allowed Mangum to meet representatives of more home furnishings companies, including Surya President Satya Tiwari.

From there, Mangum said, conversations turned to rugs, which piqued his interest.

“For someone to create a home collection, rugs are an integral part of it because they are the foundation, so often, of what is built upon,” he said. “For me, I wanted to create a collection that raised people’s sensitivity and awareness but wasn’t so in your face that it didn’t create harmony among everything else.”

Mangum said he wanted his first foray into floor coverings to live up to the same ideals he brought to the table when designing his Carolina Preserves furniture.

“When I began to collaborate with Klaussner, one of the things I wanted to bring to it was style and function — great scale,” Mangum said. “A lot of the furniture had almost become, in my opinion, impractical. The beauty of working with Surya is they have such a great skill set to recognize the importance of (style and function).”

Surya didn’t turn away any of his designs, but Mangum said that submitting them to the Calhoun, Ga.-based producer’s design team was just the beginning. From there, he said he got an inside look at the ins and outs of what makes a good rug design and how it differs from other forms of art.

“It’s kind of like taking your broad, 64-color box of crayons, taking it away and saying let’s see you create with only 32 of them,” Mangum said. “What was fascinating was they would give me colors I had never heard of before, like adding viscose or changing the substrings. I have been bowled over in a new way to push my talents — restricted, but at the same time, contemporary in the delivery of it. It’s been amazing.”

Mangum said his initial rug lines — Artisan, Essential and Remarque — hold true to his artistic point of view. He said all of his designs were created with impressions in mind.

“One of the things I hope to drive home is to be specific and go within my work and show exactly what I drew it from,” Mangum said. “You could do a lake scene and talk about the ripple effect on the bank of it, but as I move them closer into the painting and show them exactly how it came about, I think it will give them a better understanding and make them pause as they take a walk in the park.”

And with the rugs making their first appearance here this week, Mangum is hopeful that his perspective resonates with retailers familiar with his work, and consumers who shop their stores.

“After painting for 40 years as a landscape painter, it’s a marvelous new medium to work in,” he said. “As long as the consumer is willing, I’ll keep participating and see if we can stick. I think we bring something new and fresh but more importantly, I think it is authentic.”

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