Many of your rug designs bring an essence of the outside inside. Is this becoming more important for interiors?
I find nature to be the ultimate in comfort. For most people, our favourite places are outside—at the beach, mountains, desert, garden, woods; it’s where we feel most like our true selves. My designs are inspired by those favourite places and the desire to feel like our true selves. The COVID-19 situation in the US (and world) is so unsettling that it’s more important than ever that we find ways to calm our minds so we can think clearly and be part of a positive shift in the world.
How will the increase of people working from home affect their interior purchases?
Home is becoming our sanctuary even more than it has been in the past. Casual, comfortable living is what we all need right now. I’m finding myself setting up in different pockets in our house, following the sun as it moves throughout the day. Our cats follow me around and I think they are digging the new spaces we’re hanging out in. The other day I decided to completely change up our living/dining room. I switched it all around, took a couple of big chairs out and now we have all kinds of space to think and stretch in. It feels good and enables us to breathe a bit more freely just having more open space.
Are your rugs used as tapestries as often as they’re used as rugs?
My designs are primarily used for area rugs, however we’ve had fun experimenting with them as tapestries. For designs we envision as tapestries we push the designs more toward illustrated stories that evoke peaceful, inspiring aspects of the natural world. We’ve had the opportunity to work on some special projects for the hospitality industry designing and creating wall hangings for private and public spaces. This is an area where we continue to explore and experiment.
Tell us about your studio.
We used to make our rugs here in Portland, Maine. That experience was critical to our growth as designers. Having our production on the first floor and our studios on the second floor allowed us to experiment with techniques and textures, pushing the craft into directions not previously explored. Making rugs in any quantity was not sustainable in the US so we established partnerships with rug makers in India, Thailand, Belgium and Peru. Now nearly all of our rugs are handmade in India by skilled craftspeople. We offer handmade, hand-knotted, and hand-tufted constructions in a variety of fibres.
Have the repercussions of COVID-19 altered your view on in-store versus online shopping?
COVID-19 has changed the world for all of us in so many ways. In the past few years we haven’t focused on e-commerce because most of our business is to the trade—residential and contract. We’ve been developing an e-commerce strategy that will allow consumers to shop efficiently and provide them with the tools they need to make their decisions. This is an important part of our future and we will continue to develop our strategies in order to remain a healthy business. As the world around us changes, we need to evolve in order to remain a relevant part of it.