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532 Annette St
Toronto, ON, M6S 2C2




Our mission is to design and create exceptional, original, high quality and ethically produced floor and wallcoverings

Narrative Threads

25th Anniversary Events with the Textile Museum of Canada

Creative Matters

We’re well in to the swing of our 25th Anniversary and kicking off some exciting events to commemorate this milestone!

Creative Matters has partnered with the Textile Museum of Canada on The Art Day Project – a series of lectures, workshops and displays being held at TMC from November 20 to 24, 2013, which promises to demystify the process of creating hand-knotted fair trade rugs and help celebrate 25 years of responsible rug making.

Learn more about how you can join in the fun at:

Art Day has become a pillar of the creative process at Creative Matters.

On Art Day, our team comes together with a variety of mediums and inspirational materials to create artwork as jumping off point for new designs.

Our talented artists then transform their paintings and other hand-made creations on the computer where new concepts for floor and wall coverings are born.

Learn more about the process here to see how the team creates in mediums beyond digital.

One Art Day project even had the whole team explore the art of glass blowing.

You can read about that experience here.

You can try out our Art Day process at the Textile Museum of Canada from November 20 to 24, 2013.

Art Day workshops will begin with a tutorial by Creative Matters designers that will walk you through the process.

Choose to take your design home or leave on display as part of the Art Day Display and rug design competition.

You’ll then be invited to join a lecture, entitled The Art Day Project, and finally the group will have an opportunity to view the TMC’s collection and Art Day Display.

Space is limited so please reserve your spot early. Visit here for more information on how to RSVP:

Interested in learning more about fair trade practices and the process for making Tibetan hand-knotted fair-trade rugs? 

Join us on Wednesday November 20 at 6:30pm for a lecture, “Responsible Rug Making: The Fair Trade/Quality Connection” at the Textile Museum of Canada.

We will be joined by Reto Ashwanden from Label STEP, a company committed to improving the working conditions of carpet weavers and fights abusive child labour.

Creative Matters was one of the first carpet design and manufacturing companies to support the Label STEP initiative for a sustainable carpet industry in Nepal and to sign an accordant petition to the Nepali government.

Click here for more information and to reserve your spot:

Photo source:

Over the past few months on the blog we have introduced the Creative Matters staff in detail, (here here here and here) but our Art Day installation at the Textile Museum of Canada from November 20 to 24, 2013 will give you an opportunity to learn even more about each of us.

Photos of each staff member, bios, a description of their work and examples of their Art Day creations will be featured.

Here you’ll also get the chance to see samples of hand-knotted fair-trade rugs, raw materials like wool and tools, details of the weaving process, fair-trade practices, and, of course, some of the artwork creations from workshop participants.

Check out the TMC’s website for hours of operation, admission and directions at:

Once we wrap up the events at TMC on November 24, there is an exciting next stage.

As with previous Art Days, the pieces from the Art Day workshops at TMC will be used to create computer-rendered designs.

Five rug designs will be selected and you will have an opportunity to vote online with Facebook for your favorite design.

Don’t forget to ‘like’ our Facebook page so you don’t miss any of the action! 

The winning design and designers will be publicized and a one-of-a-king fair-trade rug will be created by Creative Matters and donated to Label STEP for their fundraising efforts.

Photo source:

Stay tuned for more excitement as our 25th Anniversary celebrations unfold over the coming months, including regular updates about the making of our official 25th Anniversary The Art Day Project  rug which we will chronicle on our blog, CMI: Narrative Threads.

Meet the Founders

Creative Matters

Today we are celebrating our founders on the blog!

If you missed the previous installments of Meet the Administrative and Design Team, please click here for Part IPart IIPart III and Part IV.

In honour of our 25th anniversary this month, we will focus on co-founders Carol Sebert and Donna Hastings.

Creative Matters Inc. was established in 1988 when Carol and Donna joined forces to bring their vision for original, handcrafted floorcoverings to interior designers, architects and residential clients worldwide. 

Born in Virginia, U.S.A. and raised in Ottawa, Ontario, Carol attended Ontario College of Art and Design (OCAD) in Toronto to explore art and textiles.

She specialized in textile design at Sheridan Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning. Carol has worked with a variety of mediums as a silk painter, paper maker, costume dryer, set decorator and freelance artist.

She moved in to carpet design and went on to co-found Creative Matters in 1988.

Carol is passionate about textile design and enjoys the thrill of working with the team of talented designers at Creative Matters and the fair trade weavers in Southeast Asia to take the designs from concepts and artwork to the finished product.

Donna was born and raised in Toronto, Ontario, and graduated from Ryerson University’s Fashion Design program where she specialized in custom hand-crafted garments.

She created and painted silk tapestries and kimonos before moving in to carpet design and management.

Donna enjoys Art Day for the opportunity and freedom to create spontaneously and she has always enjoyed drawing and painting.

Her favorite place to be is in nature and observing the flora and fauna, especially at her cottage where she can watch birds and be on the water.

Stay Gold!

Creative Matters

The 1920s has been described as the decade in which fashion entered the modern era.

The '20s and '30s saw flappers, shift dresses, hats for men (fedoras, bowler hats and newsboy caps), and accessories such as elbow length gloves.

The art world saw the rise of Surrealism and Art Deco.

When Creative Director Ana Cunningham stumbled upon a stack of vintage Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar and Vanity Fair magazines at a garage sale, she bought them immediately.

The publication dates range from 1924 – 1940 and their pages are full of stunning artwork, advertisements and fashion.

Comparing magazines from the '30s with the modern day magazine insert also proves interesting.

Here is the Globe Style Advisor insert for Fall 2013 with the vintage magazines for contrast.

The trends from the Roaring Twenties and the 1930s continue to inspire many different aspects of film, music, fashion, pop culture and interior design, to name a few areas.

Creative Matters 25th Anniversary line of rug designs captures the essence of the era with the “silver and golden hues yet intricate patterning” that is reminiscent of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby.”

The latest line of luxurious fair trade rug designs will launch at the New York International Carpet Show in October 2013.

Here are some of the designs next to the pages of the vintage magazines.

Empire, XXV Collection

Dream - Vibrant, XXV Collection

Dream - Gold and Silver, XXV Collection

Twiggy, XXV Collection

It’s not hard to see how current clothing trends are also derived from these fashions. Brooks Brothers recently put out a Great Gatsby line of menswear, and other major retailers like ASOS and Topshop offer pieces to replicate this “iconic style with a modern twist.”

The Creative Matters team looks forward to the October launch in Manhattan at the New York International Carpet Show, described as an “inviting and established showcase for the most current and innovative products by visionary artisan carpetmakers.”

Until next time...

Meet the Design Team, Part III

Creative Matters

Introducing the Design Team, Part III

If you missed earlier installments, click to get caught up on the

Administrative Team, the Design Team Part I and the Design Team Part II

Leah Phillips, Art Director

Originally from Fredericton, New Brunswick, Leah has been with Creative Matters for the past six years and in textile design for over 15 years.

She studied Fabric Surface Design at New Brunswick College of Craft & Design and brings a variety of skills and expertise to the design team in her role as Art Director.

Leah’s eye for the innovative shines through as she loves to mix traditional and contemporary techniques.

She doesn’t shy away from making a mess and working with her hands on Art Day as the designers are inspired to create new and fresh designs.

Ana Cunningham, Creative Director/Project Manager

Having been inspired by textiles while traveling in Ghana, West Africa, Ana brings her international experience to Creative Matters.

Back in Canada, she graduated from the Textile studio at Sheridan Institute and has been an integral part of the Creative Matters team for 15 years.

She views textiles as a vehicle for self-expression and storytelling, and this passion is relayed in her role as Creative Director/Project Manager.

Ana is always ready for a challenge and approaches Art Day with excitement for the opportunity and freedom to explore different mediums and their capabilities.

As a bonus, click here to read an interview all about Ana's education background.

Ali McMurter, Senior Designer

Ali grew up in Streetsville and attended the University of Guelph for Fine Art and Geography.  Upon graduation she worked in a design studio in New York, then later moved home to work in Toronto and has been with the CMI team since 2006. 

She is deeply interested in the effect of colour, lines and texture, and exploring different materials.  

Ali is inspired by found materials as a medium, full of possibility and history.  One of her favorite parts of working with textiles is the process: “manufacturing techniques, influences and stories.”  

Back to School

Creative Matters

A new school year has started!  It’s always a little sad to say goodbye to summer, but there is an excitement to the new year and all the opportunities and possibilities it can bring.  Here at the CMI office we’ve been reflecting on our own school days. 

Photographs are from an Art Day that Creative Matters ran in "Hamro Ghar", a school run in cooperation with Goodweave for children that have been saved from weaving mills.

Tell us about your program of study and other programs you considered studying?

Elizabeth: “I went to school at OCAD for Fibre Arts and I considered ceramics, jewellery, interior design.”

Ana: “I studied Textile Design at Sheridan College (SOCAD), with a focus on printing, dyeing, material exploration and design.  Other programs I considered studying were Graphic Design and Illustration. I currently freelance as an Illustrator during my free time, which I enjoy as it offers very different parameters compared to what I do here at CMI, aside from being another creative outlet for me.”

Ange: "I went to Sheridan College and took the Crafts & Design Program. When I went there you had the option to take 2 of the craft courses the first semester (Textiles, Glass, Furniture, Ceramics) and then decide which one you wanted to major in.  I took Textiles & Glass Blowing and obviously majored in Textiles.  The textile program is very hands on and covers many different things like:  fabric printing (painting by hand/ screen printing), printing with different mediums (pigments & dyes..etc), paper making, felt making, pattern making, dye chemistry, pattern design, digital design, sewing, etc."

What advice would you give someone trying to decide which program to study?

Elizabeth: “Take the one that you find the most exciting.  If you come alive when doing things from the program it's the right one for you.  Try a few different subjects to know you've made the right decision.”

Ana: “This is not for everybody, but taking time off after high school to travel allowed me to hone in on what I wanted to study. Being surrounded by bold textiles during my stay in Ghana is what ultimately set me on my path.”

Ange: "As soon as I saw the Sheridan Textile Studio (during a school tour) I knew I wanted to go there.  I didn't want to apply to other schools/programs but my parents talked me into it just incase I didn't get in.  I applied to other schools for Graphic Design as my back up."

From the most recent Art Day.

Did you have a most enjoyable moment, lesson or course while you were in school?  How did that moment shape what you do now?

Elizabeth: “I loved silk screening any time I got into the studio that's where I went.   I love pattern and texture so carpets as a medium is pretty appropriate.”

Ana: “After working many days (and nights) on a printed textile piece, the moment seeing the finished product come out of the heat set machine was always an exhilarating one.  The continuous learning and understanding of the qualities we offer and how we can manipulate them to convey the desired intent is a fascinating aspect of what we do. Whenever a finished rug or a package of samples arrive from the mill, I get that same feeling of anticipation and excitement.”

Ange:  "My favourite course in the Textile Program was the Surface Design Class.  We would have full days of sketching/drawing/mark making in our sketchbooks and on large papers with different materials and mediums.  We would use the marks/things we created in this class for our pattern designs and assignments.  The art days that we now have at CMI are based on the surface design classes from Sheridan.  When I attended Sheridan the studio classes were fairly small (maybe 12-15 people) so everyone was really close, kind of like a small family.  I really enjoyed working so closely with people and having them critique my work."

What advice would give students deciding to pursue a design program?

Elizabeth: “Don't expect to have a social life if you get in.”

Ana: “Students have so much more access to information now and my advice would be to research and fully understand the field you are planning to study. Networking with people who are already in the field will be an asset later on.”

Ange: "I would tell them to look into all of the options and then decide which is right for them.  There are so many different programs out there that offer many different things."

Introducing: The Design Team, Part II

Creative Matters

 Introducing: The Design Team, Part II

 Here's the next round of staff introductions, continuing with our Design Team. 

If you missed the last posts on our Administrative Team and the Design Team, Part I, click here and here

Ange Yake, Senior Designer

An intensely creative designer with a passion for painting in the medium of India ink using found objects, Ange is one of our senior designers.  Her enthusiasm for the unlimited design possibilities and different tactile qualities available in- and outside of the world of textiles brings yet another dimension to the CMI team.

Since graduating from Sheridan College, Ange has been a part of Creative Matters for over 5 years.  Her talents also transfer to the kitchen where she enjoys baking! 

 (Here is Tiffany playing the piano as a child, one of her many creative outlets.  She has always been very hands-on and crafty from a young age, from piano to art to sculpture!)

Tiffany Wu - Senior Designer

Originally from Taiwan, Tiffany now calls Toronto home. She graduated from a Material Art & Design program from OCAD University in 2010 and joined the Creative Matters design team in the following year. She has a passion for textiles and a talented eye for colours, graphic designs and photography. Tiffany loves capturing interesting textures through the camera lens and later transforming them into abstract patterns in Photoshop. Her favourite thing about Art Day is the same freedom it allows to play with marks and shapes and turn them into beautiful carpet and wallcovering designs.

Introducing: The Design Team, Part 1

Creative Matters

Continuing with our staff introductions, this month we feature two members of the design team!

Elizabeth White, Designer & Retail Coordinator

A graduate of OCAD University, Elizabeth joined Creative Matters almost 2 years ago as a member of the design team. Taking on many roles, Elizabeth keeps the office in high spirits through impromptu singing, dancing, and an infectiously positive attitude, all while managing our three international retail lines and custom designer projects.

Textiles for Elizabeth are an experience. She loves the variety of materials and textures that allow for endless exploration and design possibilities. Her favourite thing about Art Day is the freedom it gives to play with tactile materials.

Clemence Hardelay, Senior Designer

From a background in fashion and textile design, and a passion for weaving, Clemence joined Creative Matters this year as a member of the design team. Born in France and raised in Italy, Clemence speaks four languages. With her years of design experience, and international upbringing, she adds a fresh approach to our creative process.

Her favourite things about textiles are textures and colours, and the possibilities of combining fibres to create dynamic constructed forms.

July: Announcements, Glass Blowing for Art Day 13, and Summer!

Creative Matters

We've jumped into July with a splash!

Last month we announced our big silver jubilee plans. In November, Creative Matters will be mounting The Art Day Project to celebrate and demystify the art of rug design and fair trade weaving, in partnership with the Textile Museum of Canada and Label Step

Showcasing our process of custom handknotted rug design, the show will include Art Day workshops and an educational display of how our rugs are manufactured in Nepal.

Art Day 13

The Creative Matters team also learned to make glass last month! For Art Day 13 (the luckiest of Art Days) we ventured out to Gregor Herma's studio in the Junction for a couple lessons in glass production.


Art Day is a way for our whole team to enjoy the process of making and creating in mediums beyond the digital. The results of each Art Day inspire our design process and help generate new concepts for our floor and wall coverings.

How can the art of glass blowing inspire our designs?

Let's follow the process with one of our Senior Designers, Tiffany Wu.

Here's Tiffany with her colours ready to be picked up by the molten glass that will become her final piece.

Tiffany blows through a special rod called a blowpipe that holds the ball of hot glass at the opposite end, while Gregor turns the rod to keep the shape of the glass even.

Once the hot glass has a bubble of air started, Gregor shapes it up a bit to prepare for design details.

Tiffany is using a tool to move the bits of colour into patterns for the final piece, as well as creating small bubbles inside the glass to add to the dynamic design.

Tiffany is being as precise as possible, but because the glass is so hot it's hard to tell colours apart.

After adding details, the glass is ready to be heated again for the second stage of blowing!

The glass is blown into a sphere.

The glass sphere is cut off from the blow pipe via heat and stuck to another rod. This creates an opening for the sphere, which can then be made into a small vessel.

Tiffany opens the vessel using special tongs, while Gregor turns the rod to keep the design even. 

A happy maker with her finished piece!


Back in our studio, the glass is photographed and added to our Art Day files. 

A concept is then created from the original piece using Adobe Photoshop! Can you see the inspiration? 

Happy July! Stay hydrated, wear sunscreen, and enjoy some lemonade!

June, Already?

Creative Matters


it's the sixth month of the year. Not to overwhelm you, dear reader, but we have almost reached the half way point of 2013. (As I write this, it is day 155 of the calendar year.) 

We've also been experiencing the benefits of seasonal change, with longer days and warmer nights. Summer is edging ever closer, and the good vibes can be felt around Toronto. Although June is the month in the Northern hemisphere with the longest daylight hours, it is the month for the Southern hemisphere that has the shortest days. So, with a global perspective in mind, welcome to summer! And! Welcome to winter! (Depending where you are reading this from.)

This posting, along with a warm welcoming for summer, kicks off a special series of postings for the next few months.

Each month we will be spotlighting members of the Creative Matters team, introducing you to the people behind under our rugs, and in our offices, that help bring our design vision to the world.

This month we feature three members of our administrative team. These superstars of efficiency and organization keep the company creative by providing seamless operational support. 

Julie Baldwin, Office Manager

Overseeing the operations and management of the office, Julie has been with Creative Matters for almost 10 years. With her wealth of knowledge of our administrative systems, and her calm approach to answering questions, Julie is the go-to for both internal and external inquiries.

Julie holds an Honours BA in English, enjoys trying new foods, and keeps active by cycling. Materiality and tactility are what interest her in textiles, and her favourite colour is blue. Her favourite thing about Art Day is the comradery and team building that it encourages.

Jane Addie, Financial Manager

Jane has been with Creative Matters for more than a decade. Her responsibilities include financial management, accounting, bookkeeping, and supplying the team with laughter through her sassy sense of humour.

The freedom and playfulness of creation are what Jane enjoys most about Art Day. She also likes the feeling of helping the design team with inspiration for their creative process.

Ashley Solymar, 

Junior Administrative Assistant

Ashley Solymar is the newest member at Creative Matters Inc.  in the role of Junior Administrative Assistant.  She is a graduate of the Interior Decorating program at Humber College.  She admires the colours, textures and patterns of textiles and is fond of abstract and contemporary design.  Ashley is passionate about creativity and design and looks forward to her first Art Day.

Happy June!

Hello, May! Hello, Flowers! Hello, Inspiration!

Creative Matters

Ah, the first days of May!

The sun is shining, it's above 20˚C, buds are emerging from the trees, and magnolias are in full bloom. It's a lovely day today, and truly the first signs of summer have arrived!

This month at Creative Matters, we're thinking about florals. 

Flowers have been a clear inspiration for many other artists, designers, and creative people throughout history. 

Flowers have also been a clear inspiration for some of our designs over the last 25 years, such as these examples from our Art Day archives:

CMI Designer: Ange Yake

CMI Designer: Ange Yake

CMI Designer: Tiffany Wu

Thinking about the impact of flowers on the creatively minded, I've rounded up a few good quotes to inspire during this month: 

“Just living is not enough... One must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower."


Hans Christian Andersen

“The artist is the confidant of nature, flowers carry on dialogues with him through the graceful bending of their stems and the harmoniously tinted nuances of their blossoms. Every flower has a cordial word which nature directs towards him.”


Auguste Rodin

The earth laughs in flowers.”


Ralph Waldo Emerson

“I hate flowers. I only paint them because they're cheaper than models and they don't move.”

- Georgia O'Keefe

For more inspiration, I thought I would also share an informal gathering of the favourite flowers of Creative Matters:


These flowers exist in over 100 varieties.

2. Lilac

Did you know this flower belongs to the olive family?

3. Bachelor's Button (Cornflower)

Aww, these flowers are worn by young men in love.

3. Peonies

This flower is named after the Greek god of medicine and healing.

4. Carnations

This flower represents love... except in France. (In France they symbolize misfortune.)

5. Bird of Paradise

The real name of this flower is Strelitzia.

6. Orchids 

There are over 20,000 species of this flower. 

7. Cherry Blossoms

This flower is edible.

Happy May!