What inspires us? The beauty of natural materials, the soulfulness of true craftsmanship, and the uplifting spirit of design.
Some people think I’m crazy for believing in the idea of designing and weaving natural fiber rugs in a once thriving mill town in New England.
But if you walk through our workshop in Fall River, Massachusetts, you’ll see skilled craftsmen with decades of experience doing things no one in the world is doing. You’ll see spools of natural wool and plant fibers combined in wildly imaginative ways. You’ll see looms that have been taken apart and reconfigured, enabling new techniques that disrupt mechanization with masterful handwork, creating an entirely new approach to weaving.
You’ll see originality in the making, which to my mind is the cornerstone of American ingenuity, and what great design should always reach for.
But originality takes investment, which is why in 2017 I made a decision to commit 50% of our time to research and development. That same year, the talented Sylvie Johnson joined Merida as artistic director, an artist in her own right who brings a wealth of design knowledge and weaving expertise. For the past two years, Sylvie and our craftsmen have been working hand in hand, re-engineering our looms, testing new materials, and developing new techniques. We have spent countless hours striving for the perfect combinations of alpaca, linen, mohair and thin-felted wool. We have tested colors and patterns to arrive at optimal combinations, with subtle interplay of light and texture.
Atelier 19, our newest collection, is the result of that inspired collaboration. If you have not yet had the chance to experience these truly one-of-a-kind rugs at one of our recent exhibitions, I invite you to make an appointment or stop into one of our showrooms.
We are continually looking for new ways to create value for our design clients, with rugs of true originality that will bring joy to your clients for years to come. And in a world that is increasingly denigrated by disposable products, we are more committed than ever to bringing the focus back to the deep beauty of natural materials that are smart for the environment (and safe for the home); the soulfulness of true craftsmanship; and the uplifting spirit of design.
Is that such a crazy idea?