Rug designer, Emma Gardner, has unveiled three new collections this season and we got a chance to chat about what inspires her and how she puts together a collection, from start to finish.
All three introductions: Stream, Flow and Daphne are hand-knotted in Nepal and shown in 100 knots per inch. The wool is all hand-carded, hand-spun and pot dyed while the silk is pure Chinese silk.
Stream features bands of raised silk dots on an all wool background and is shown in three color ways: Quiet, Blue, Marble and Dusk.
Flow is a mesmerizing curvy organic pattern that also employs raised silk and is shown in three color ways: Quiet, Ocean and Truffle.
Daphne, a stylized study of a delphinium, is shown in two color ways, Blues, in all wool and Buttered Toast, in silk/wool combination.
But the real question is, how does do these collections come to life? Where does it all begin? Take a look at our Q&A with Emma.
Q: What inspires you as a rug designer?
A: "Really it can be anything," said Emma. "Of course nature is a big factor and the kind of overall awareness of fashion and color. I've always loved Japanese art and textiles and I try to go to museums a lot to get my mind churning."
Q: Did anything specifically inspire these three new collections?
A: "The Daphne design was based on a delphiniums plant that I photographed and then blew up and started to play with. That one I wanted to render in two different color ways because I felt I could be playful with it."
Q: Where does the process go next, after the inspiration, how do you get it to come alive?
A: "Generally, a design will appear in my brain almost fully developed, but as often as not there is some play involved. Once I start to sketch or put something in the computer it changes, but in a good way."
Q: When it's finished does it look exactly how you imagined it?
A: "There is always an element of surprise, just seeing it at scale. There's nothing like seeing a full-size rug. But because we sample it and know the colors ahead of time, it's like wow, a pleasant surprise."
Q: How do you then get your new rugs into the various showrooms that carry your line?
A: "What we do is we make one full-size version of each rug in every color way and then we photograph them and send them in so that everyone is up to date on what they can offer. Then we make 2x2 samples of every design and distribute them to the showrooms, they can take a look through the collection and choose what they want to display. If a designer's local showroom doesn't have something on hand, they can order it through us — so everyone has complete access to everything in the collection."
Q: Have you ever thought about opening your own showroom?
A: "Because we don't have a showroom, it allows us to do what we love, design and make rugs and work with designers, because we don't have the day-to-day work of running a showroom."
Q: What can we expect next from you?
A: "We're working with 2-4 designs and another collection that has 4 different designs and we're now sampling colors. They are nice organic and graphic patterns, next year is definitely a 2 collection year."
Q: One more thing...
A: "Whenever I introduce a design, I think of it as the beginning of its life because it gets manifested in many different creative ways."
All the rugs in Emma's new collections, as well as her other designs, are made to order and available in standard and custom sizes, shapes and colors.