Showing posts with label RugMark. Show all posts
Showing posts with label RugMark. Show all posts

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Unbridled Enthusiasm




Greetings from Creative Matters!


Carol and Ana returned this past weekend from their trip to Nepal. Carol managed to steal a few hours from her busy trip, to visit the Goodweave site where children are taken after being rescued from forced labour in carpet mills. While she was there, she taught an art class for the 33 students who are living there at the moment. After she left, Carol sent the most uplifting email from Nepal - very inspiring! I had to share:


I had such a fun day I felt I had to report right away.

I went to the home where the kids live at Rugmark/Goodweave today with paper, paints (house paint tinted yellow pink and blue) black ink and paintbrushes. The kids were really excited that we were going to have an afternoon of art. I began with them all up on the roof of their home, as it was a gloriously sunny day. We sat in a big circle and started with the ink and did life drawing, which of course, was absolutely hilarious. I got one of them to model and at first they were shy and their poses a bit dull, but one by one (I guess I had about 15 models by the end) the poses became more elaborate. There were lots of judo-like poses by the boys and tiger-like poses from the girls. They all just leapt into painting with marvelous abandon!



I then had them take the black and white paintings and add colour. By this time, the paint was starting to get all over the place, including in my hair as it was quite a flurry - paint pots were spilling, what with 33 kids exuberantly painting... but they were so into it, and so incredibly focused. I've done workshops like this before and there are generally a few goofballs that really can be disruptive, but not these kids - they worked really hard.



After about an hour I wanted to do one larger piece. I wanted them to try working larger so the full sheet that was 24”x36”. I instructed them to paint themselves in a setting that they liked and WOW, the results were amazing. Many of them did houses with the Himalayas in the background with clouds in the sky and big suns. One boy painted the RugMark house that they all currently live in with him on the roof flying a kite; another boy drew himself as almost a cartoon superman type figure in a charming landscape. Gorgeous work. And they were so proud of themselves - I couldn't take enough pictures of them holding their artworks, it was absolutely lovely.



A touching moment was when one girl, who had just arrived the day before, who was too shy to do anything but watch finally picked up a paintbrush (well I may have put it in her hand). She did a lovely figure painting all pinks and blues. You could just sense her feeling more settled and part of the group. The warden and I were both really pleased to see that.




Namaste,


Carol




Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Good-bye summer...

Dear Friends,


It’s been a busy Spring/Summer season at Creative Matters. The month of April saw our fearless leaders trek back to Nepal for almost 2 weeks to visit our mills, weavers, spinners and washers. Quality control is of the utmost importance to CMI and this is how we ensure beautiful carpets and samples. This brief chance to speak with the mill owners and weavers is best opportunity to mesh our visions and instructions, maintaining this strong partnership and that produces our custom carpets and our Aerial Collection.


After all of the work is done, on those long Nepalese days, Carol and Donna manage to find some spare moments to decompress. This comes back to us in the form of their beautiful photography that tells us at the studio in Toronto, a million stories.


May, June and July have provided busy days filled with artworks and colour-matching, samples and carpet installations. One of the most exciting events was the installation of the beautiful lobby carpet at the Soho Grand Hotel in New York.

The sleek new design lends itself beautifully to the chic, luxurious vibe that the Soho seems to float on. And working with Studio Sofield is always a pleasure (especially when the results are this beautiful!)



Now our water-logged summer seems to be in her home stretch as we look forward with anticipation and excitement to our next steps for 2009. Samples of the new additions to the Aerial Collection are trickling in and the buzz is starting to build as we look forward to Domotex 2010. Granted, the big day for Germany is in January, but we at Creative Matters know how fast time flies. This year the team will truly be taking pieces of Canada with them overseas – but that’s all that I’m going to give away.


If you want to see what I’m talking about, you’ll have to meet Creative Matters in Hanover for the launch...




Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Creative Matters Immersed in “Contemporary Culture”


Last night the Creative Matters team was delighted attend the celebration of the newly renovated 3rd location of Weavers Art in Toronto. Michael Pourvakil and his team launched Weavers Art – Contemporary Culture last night at 162 Bedford Rd., in Designers Walk Building 3.

Contemporary Culture is showcasing hand-knotted, silk and wool luxury carpets by a handful of international designers such as Emma Gardner, Lapchi and New Moon, and perhaps, most excitingly, yours truly - Creative Matters. Pause for applause. – Thank-you.

The beautiful open-concept showroom exudes luxury with it’s high ceiling, cream wall colour and seductive lighting. I must say, we felt right at home...and so do our rugs!

If you get the chance, go and have a look - you'll be floored. ;)

Cheers,
Erin

Monday, March 23, 2009

There's something in the air...

Spring has sprung in the Creative Matters studio, the sun is shining and thankfully, there is no more snow on the ground in Toronto (knock on wood). We’ve all been super-busy with various new projects and we can hardly believe that it’s almost the end of March! It seems that we have a million things on the go - ok, maybe just a hundred - but the there’s a buzz in the air and we like it.

The design team has been working hard on new additions to the Aerial Collection (some are in the sampling stages) and we’ve been toying with the idea of adding a second collection to our Creative Matters line of carpets, with a completely different look and feel. That’s under lock and key at the moment so, stay tuned to see what we come up with! Trust me, it’s going to be great.

We’re also excited to be in the throws of planning an event in April with the lovely people at Modern Weave to celebrate our successful collaboration and creative merging of the minds, if you will. Modern Weave, along with their sister store Weavers Art, carry our entire Aerial Collection of wool and silk carpets in various sizes and colourways. They are continually supportive of what we do and they have a breath-taking showroom so if you haven’t seen our carpets in the flesh (or fibre) head to King Street East for a peek. For those of you in the trade, visit one of 3 Weavers Art locations in Designers Walk or on Davenport Road or Bedford Road all in Toronto (see the website for details).

I know it’s short but hopefully this post piques your interest. Before you know it, the season of bare feet will be upon us – what better time for a wool and silk carpet, hmmm? The carpet above has some nice Spring appeal - nothing like a bright, cheerful botanical to freshen things up. (You can check out this one in the December 2008 The World of Interiors, December 2008 article "Made for Manhattan" with Studio Sofield)

Talk soon,
Erin.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Happy 20th Birthday Creative Matters!!

What a flurry of activity November has afforded Creative Matters! More than a week after our 20th Anniversary Gala Fundraiser, I finally have a chance to sit down and write about our fantastic night.


First of all, we’re 20! Happy Birthday Creative Matters! Congratulations to Carol and Donna for such a great feat – and here’s to 20 more, right? So, the night went off without a hitch and we saw just over 500 people come through our event at Gallery 345 to help us celebrate. Our long and arduous hours of installing the show, that saw the whole staff (and some of their parents!?) hammering and hanging, sweeping and cleaning, paid off. The gallery was transformed from a very promising canvas into a feast for the eyes (and hearts!) that displayed our new collection of hand-knotted carpets as well as a retrospective of 20 years worth of CMI designs and photographs.


One of the other big highlights of the evening was the unveiling of Hariti, the responsible, luxury rug that was created as a fund-raising piece that will be raffled to benefit RugMark. RugMark, as you know, works to end illegal child labor in the carpet industry in South Asia and offers educational opportunities to children who are rescued from carpet mills. The carpet is stunning and we sold a ton of raffle tickets. We’re nearing our goal but we’re still not there – so buy buy buy! You still have 13 days left! I can't even tell you what an opportunity this is - the chance to win a hand knotted, one-of-a-kind, wool and silk carpet - for $25!


In addition to all of this we finally had the opportunity to meet a RugMark representative, in the flesh! Heather Joseph, RugMark’s Development Officer (who is lovely) flew in from Washington, D.C. She came and spoke and worked the room to spread the word. And as a special treat, Heather was joined by Robin Romano, the talented photographer (and amazing speaker) who shot the Faces of Freedom show that hung at Gallery 345 in conjunction with Floored to be 20. The photos were breath taking and we were so happy that they could share in our celebration.


Great big thank-yous to everyone who helped to make our party perfect! Stay tuned for more party pics on our next post "The Guest List".

Stay warm (curled up on a wool carpet)!
Erin

Friday, October 10, 2008

Just a little reminder...


Good morning everyone!

The countdown is on to win Hariti, Tibetan for “Protectress of Children”, an original and responsible, luxury rug designed by Creative Matters.

All proceeds from the raffle go directly to RugMark, a non-profit organization working to end child labour in South East Asia. The cost of only two tickets ($50.00) offers a child a full year of education.

If you have already purchased a ticket for Hariti, here is a great photo of the hand made wool and silk area rug, graced by furniture courtesy of Klaus by Nienkamper.

Visit the Creative Matters blog for the inspiration and progress of this journey. Send a child to school, give an opportunity for an educated future and hope to win Hariti.

Click Here to Purchase your Ticket for Hariti!

Have a great weekend and keeping checking in for more updates!
Erin

Monday, October 6, 2008

Cover Story


We were delighted to see one of our projects on the cover of October 2008 Metropolitan Home this month titled "Asian Fusion". Working with the talented Shamir Shah on this Soho apartment, we assisted on textures and offered suggestions on some of the natural fibers. Needless to say, the rug was woven at one of our RugMark certified mills in Nepal. The striped rug was a combination of wool, hemp and silks in browns and gold tones with a bright persimmon accent.

Beautiful photos, beautiful magazine - here are a few shots of the residence and carpet taken by Met photographer Antoine Bootz.







Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Letters to Canada Pt.1

I'm happy to announce that Carol and Donna arrived home unscathed, albeit a bit late from their cross continent journey to South Asia. A "Storm Signal 9" typhoon called Nuri decided that she was going to swing by the Hong Kong airport where the ladies had a stopover, and wreak a little havoc. During their extended stay they took the time to write some great emails while the images were still fresh in their heads. Over the next few days we'll be sharing some of these writings and beautiful photos in preparation for September 8th (this Monday!) when raffle tickets officially go on sale, for a chance to win Hariti. As I mentioned before, she's all finished and we have photos...but you can't see those yet - you'll have to wait until Monday! In the meantime, here's some food for thought:



Donna and I went to the RugMark facilities today to see with our own eyes where the children are living who have been rescued from the looms and factories in Kathmandu. It's a four storey building with a large playground that was, unfortunately, not usable at the time. It's rainy season here in Nepal so full of puddles, but one can imagine great games of soccer taking place. Many of the residents are young boys, as they are the more valuable child workers because they are strong at a young age. However, there are a number of girls here.

We were introduced to one lovely young girl, probably around the age of 11, who had been rescued just the day before. She had already woven 2 rugs but now has a chance for an education and a better life. She was not yet dressed in the uniform that all the children wear, a maroon shirt with navy pants. Boys and girls alike wear the same.


We toured all the facilities, from the bedrooms, which look a little like what we have in summer camp. There are bunk-beds in each room with around 10 beds in per space. The rooms were very clean and very tidy, the blankets all rolled up at the head of each bed with the pillow, shoes carefully lined up at the door. There's a cupboard for additional clothing, but these children do not have any personal items.

School books for studying were on some of the beds, rest time for some includes math review. There is a library where the children all meditate for half an hour each day, then can read and enjoy quieter games. The kitchen, which had delicious smells wafting through, was staffed by a number of women, and there was a room adjacent that was the dining hall. In total there are about 40 children at this facility.


In the kitchen however, there were 5 older boys who had gone through the program at RugMark, had completed their Grade 12 level and now have sponsors for university in Kathmandu. It looked like they'd returned for a homecooked meal!

The three classrooms are simple with schoolbooks, tables and benches and a blackboard. The children are fast tracked to grade three level and depending on their competency they either continue on for the potential of university education with help from sponsors or are trained for vocational work such as carpentry.

We discussed with the managers about the cost of each student's education, and for around $50.00/ year they recieve their uniforms, school books and education. That works out to two tickets for the raffle of Hariti. Imagine, 2 tickets sends a child to school for one year! It was a great tour and wonderful to see the facilities. We are delighted to see first hand the great work being done by RugMark and feel so good about contributing directly to helping the children.

Namaste, Carol and Donna

Friday, August 22, 2008

Yarn Spinning 101

Happy Friday Everyone! I can barely believe that its the end of the week AND that, as we speak, Carol and Donna are in the sky, flying home from Nepal. They sound like they have some pretty amazing stories to tell. This is a little excerpt from an email from the ladies about their visit to the factory that produces the yarn for our carpets. Sounds like Carol and Donna had a little lesson in spinning yarn (and when we get those picture, I'll be sure to post them!) :)



On Tuesday we were able to visit a factory where the hand carding and hand-spinning of the beautiful Tibetan yarn takes place. After watching the skilled women who turn a pile of fluff into weaving yarn we tried our hand at it. Now, having seen it, first hand, we appreciate much more, the skill of the spinners. By hand they feed the yarn onto a simple spinning wheel. It is their shear skill and manipulation of the yarn that determines the fineness of the wool, super fine (like sewing thread) for 200 knot construction, a little thicker for 100 knot, thicker still for 60 knot. Incredible! We had quite a few laughs as Donna and I produced lumpy, broken, completely unusable yarn.

The group went on to explain all the ways the yarn can be spun. Most commercially and quickly is by using the spinning wheel. But we were also shown very simple ways that work too, like using a pencil, then using a spinning top that the shepherds use in the fields while tending their sheep. One of the women then showed us her Tibetan traditional robe that was woven from very fine hand spun yarn. Part of theTibetan costume is an apron of multi coloured stripes woven on narrow looms (6" wide) and sewn together. She showed us her tradtional piece, still well in use.


When the yarn comes in to be spun, it arrives from the hill stations in packages. It gets sorted into piles of white best yarn (from the underbelly of the sheep), to brown yarn (from the back) and to yarn that cannot be used (from behind the head). The best yarn is silky and smooth, and can be dyed to any colour. The brown yarn is good for flecky rugs and is also smooth but cannot be used for clean colours.

The wool from the back of the neck is like the white hairs on our heads - it's dead and has no lanolin or softness at all. The yarn is then washed and dried in the open air. Generally on the roof of the houses, which looks like a blanket of snow, even with icicles of wool dripping off the edge roof.

This is just one aspect of the many skilled portions of what goes into the hand made rugs we order. Every time I come to the Nepal I find I learn more and further appreciate the craftsmanship and detail that goes into our rugs.

See you Monday!
Carol and Donna

Check back soon for more stories and photos from the trip!
Have a great weekend!
Erin




Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Postcards from Nepal...

The following is an email from Carol - straight from South Asia. We've all been sitting on the edge of our seats, waiting to see photos of Hariti on the loom. When Carol and Donna arrived in Nepal they had a huge surprise waiting. Read on:



Nepal never ceases to amaze.

Donna and I went to the carpet mills today. Theoretically rainy season but the rain seems to conveniently fall at night and the days are glorious with some sun and then huge clouds rolling over the Himalayas to blanket Kathmandu valley. Driving in Kathmandu is exciting. Quite frequently a cow will interrupt traffic and it is a terrible crime to hit a cow as they are holy. If they decide to stop and lie down in the middle of the highway, so be it. It's hard to describe the loose relaxed driving style in Kathmandu. There are traffic police at particularly busy intersections, which helps a lot, but otherwise one just moves through the traffic flow and magically it seems to work. Donna and I dart across the street, we clearly have not
mastered the relaxed manner.


We saw Hariti today for the first time. It's fantastic - the colours in the silk and wool
just dance off the floor. The weavers at the factory, who made the rug, were intrigued with the concept that a photo from here (Nepal) was turned into a design and then a 6' x 9' rug. The translation from photo to artwork and now to finished rug is really exciting. The gleam from the broach that the child was wearing in the photo really sparkles in the finished piece. It was expected that Hariti would be in mid-production, upon our arrival. We could have been dreaming it but, were the weavers were so intrigued about production of this exciting rug that they finished it in half the time?

That's all for now,

gotta go and meet Dawa,

Cheers,

Carol



Stay tuned for more from Nepal. We're all so curious about Hariti...maybe they can squeeze her
into their carry-on?


Until next time,

Erin

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Extra, extra, read all about it!

It’s been a busy summer, thus far, here at Creative Matters. We’re not sure where these precious days have gone but, here we are on this hazy July morning, working hard on the new additions to our Aerial Collection and on our November gallery show. Did she just say November??? Yes she did! Did I mention that we’re still working on our regular custom design projects? And starting to cultivate ideas for the Domotex show in Hanover….and so it goes.

So, what better day for a little bit of summer excitement than today, to see Creative Matters splashed over a full page (L3 to be exact) of the Living section in the Toronto Star. It’s a great article called "Rug Designers at Top of Pile" by Star columnist Barbara Turnbull, who graced our office in early June to speak to Carol and Donna about just what it is that we do. Barbara chats with the ladies about design, colour, what we’re up to now and about Creative Matters’ impressive 20-year mark. It's a great read and a great photo (thanks to Keith Beaty at the Toronto Star).

http://www.thestar.com/living/Shopping/article/461414#Comments

Stay tuned for more updates on Hariti – we hope to show off some photos soon, after the ladies return from their trek to Nepal in August.

Enjoy the sun!

(and buy more carpets!)

Erin


Monday, June 16, 2008

Carol Takes the Mic

VERY EARLY last week I, Carol Sebert, had the exciting experience of going to the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) for a live radio interview with Andy Barrie on Metro Morning. I had been contacted to talk about Creative Matters and RugMark and our efforts to end child labour in carpet mills in Asia. For those non radio listeners, or those folks that may not listen to morning radio, Metro Morning is the preeminent morning radio show in Toronto and Andy Barrie is the most listened to interviewer within the GTA for the morning spot.

So I was terrified.

I drove downtown, arrived at 5:30 - there were no coffee shops open (not even Starbucks)!?, so there I sat, in the lobby of the CBC building fretting, until 5:50 when I was asked to show up. I was constantly reading my notes, getting the facts and figures memorized about child labour in carpet mills and the political upheavals in Nepal. I felt like I was in high school getting ready for a big exam and just like an exam, they reminded me that I couldn't read from my notes - sigh.

They kindly gave me my first question before I entered the recording studio. I go blank. I have to call my business partner Donna to get her input. Yup, 6:00 a.m., but she's a trooper and she's up ready to listen. I realize that I don't know what else Andy is going to ask and now the veil of fear starts to overcome me.

Anyway, I go into the studio, Andy and I have a little chat while the news is being reported (somewhere else in the huge CBC building), he's inquiring about websites and cruises our site while he asks me a few questions. Then the fellow tells me how close to be to the microphone (around 7") and I'm frozen in position ready to roll.

Cue the sound, Andy gives the intro, and we chat for a few minutes. Andy asks me about child labour in Asia, if I'd witnessed it, and I had to say no - but I'm not so naive to think that just because I'd been there it wasn't possibly happening. This is why we're so excited to be working with Rugmark. I explain how the mills put on the labels that are carefully monitored and each number can be traced to the loom and weavers who made it. How the inspectors go into the mills unannounced to ensure there is no child labour and our initiative of Hariti and the raffle are explained matter-of-factly.

Doing our part to end child labour, and ensuring that our rugs are made under sound working conditions has become really important to me. I'm thrilled to be able to tell our clients that the rugs they get are made by adult weavers. It feels so rewarding to be able to provide good employment not only in Canada with the great team that I work with, but as well, to the weavers in Nepal.

All in all it was an extremely exciting opportunity to be on the radio show I listen to every morning.

Afterwards - I had to go home for a nap.

-Carol

video

Photographer: Romano / Stolen Childhoods (courtesy of RugMark)