Merida

Students to design eco-friendly rugs

Yesterday Maegan and I hosted a group of graphic design students from my favorite local nonprofit, Artists For Humanity. The group came to the Boston office to learn about a really exciting opportunity for them to explore the meaning of sustainability and push the limits of creativity.

The Tufted Rug Design Contest (if you have a better idea for the name, let me know…) challenges the seven high school students in the graphic design department at AFH to think about what sustainability means to them as young artists. They will transform their ideas and inspirations into graphic designs that could be made into a tufted rug made from 100% New Zealand Wool. In November, three winners will be chosen by a panel of judges made up of interior designers from our Boston network, and each winner will receive a rug tufted from their own design. Events are planned in December and January to promote the contest, and we may even decide to produce the rugs as a new tufted collection in 20210. Stay tuned!

We created this contest with the staff and mentors at AFH for a number of reasons. First, we think there is amazing synergy between our two organizations: our shared love of design, our interest in maintaining a vibrant local community, and our dedication to sustainability. We also wanted the opportunity to work with the students in a way that would bring their incredible creativity to our design process, and teach them about sustainability at the same time.

Another important purpose of the contest is to give the students the chance to participate in a real-world product development process where technical specifications and market trends can often guide the process.  Throughout the contest, the students will have multiple opportunities to receive feedback from Maegan, who will work to educate them on basic principles of textile design, the technical capabilities of our tufting equipment, and trends in the fashion and home furnishings markets that may influence their decisions.

Next week Maegan and I will meet with the students to go over their first-round sketches and inspiration. We will conduct a second critique two weeks later, and the students will submit their final designs the first week of November. We’re so excited to see what the students will come up with and are looking forward to sharing it all as we go!

The photos below are from the workroom tour and presentation yesterday. Maegan and I tag-teamed to present background information on Merida, our design process, how Maegan approaches design, and the meaning of sustainability. Enjoy!

Maegan gave the AFH students a tour of our custom workroom in Boston.

Maegan gave the AFH students a tour of our custom workroom in Boston.

We explained how the air tables work and the excellent craftsmanship that goes into a Merida rug.

We explained how the air tables work and the excellent craftsmanship that goes into a Merida rug.

The students loved the soft texture of this Bora Bora Volcano rug, made of undyed eco-friendly jute.

The students loved the soft texture of this Bora Bora Volcano rug, made of undyed eco-friendly jute.

Maegan showed the students her 2010 color inspiration boards as she described the process she goes through to design a product.

Maegan showed the students her 2010 color inspiration boards as she described the process she goes through to design a product.

We showed the students samples of hand-woven prototypes and discussed how the same design can change when woven on a mechanical dobby loom.

We showed the students samples of hand-woven prototypes and discussed how the same design can change when woven on a mechanical dobby loom.

Click the links below to check out previous posts on our ongoing partnership with AFH.

Student artists visit Merida

Fun Viewpoint Coasters for AFH event!

AFH’s Greatest Party on Earth

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  1. What a fantastic partnership! I’m excited to see what the students create for designs.

  2. What a wonderful idea. I will be back, and probably become a regular visitor. thanks