In August, the media was abuzz with the opening of the Park Hyatt hotel in New York.
Eight years in the making, it was intended to be a New York icon. Even so, the vision for the interior design was created by the Toronto firm Yabu Pushelberg (YP) which has been our client for many years.
We started work on this project in May 2009 but the carpets were not installed until August 2014. Through experience, we have become accustomed to the lengthy process attached to carpets in iconic hotels, but we thought it would be interesting for our blog readers to see how a carpet project might extend over five years.
A magnificent addition to the Toronto cultural scene opened in September and we are very proud to be part of it. Not only is the Aga Khan Museum the first museum in North America devoted to Islamic art, but it is also the first time Creative Matters has designed a floorcovering for a museum.
Situated at the north end of the city, the museum is part of a $300 million complex that has been eight years in the making. More than 1,000 artifacts from the 8th to 19th centuries are on display. We created the carpet for the Bellerive Room which features a ceramics collection
Although Creative Matters’ carpets are produced and installed all around the world, we actually design in Toronto, home of North America’s most important film festival.
During the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), way too much attention is paid – in our opinion anyway – to what is happening on the carpet and not to the carpets themselves. In fact, back in 2010, knowing the success of the Festival is dependent on volunteers and sponsorship opportunities, we offered to design and produce all the red carpets at no cost to TIFF. In return, we hoped to add "official supplier of red carpets" to our resume.
Just like fashion designers, we have our custom pieces (haute couture) and our collections (ready-to-wear). However, we don’t walk our carpets down the runway, so trade shows are where we present our collections “in the wool” to current and potential retailers.
We are shortly off to NYICS – the New York International Carpet Show - taking place this year from September 7 – 9. It’s been interesting to see this relatively new fair (10 years) steadily growing. Domotex in Germany and Forza Tappeti in Italy are longer-running and among the ones we have attended regularly during our 25 years in the business.
The New York City designer chose the ultimate in simplicity – a one-coloured grey rectangular rug with no pattern. She also chose the ultimate in luxury fibres – 100% silk.
She was only willing to trust the simplicity of the design and the luxury of the fibre to the finest production processes. For this she came to Creative Matters. No detail was to be left unperfected in the painstaking production of this rug. And that included the lesser-documented process of binding.
Following Carol Seberts’s discovery of some incredible natural dyeing expertise in Nepal in March, we are excited to announce our first natural dye collection. We’ll be bringing the first rug to show off at NYICS in September and rolling out the full collection quickly thereafter. And here is a sneak peak at the design of the first rug.
The rug itself it is still in the weaving process, but here are some incredible photos of the wool at the dyeing mill. The dyeing stage alone, can take as long as two weeks.
By Carol Sebert, Principal
Even though our design hub is based at our head office in Toronto, an equally important part of our work takes place in the countries where our carpets are physically produced. We regularly visit India, Nepal, Thailand and now China to liaise with the skilled artisans who bring our creations to life.
In March, I was back at the “temporary field offices” in India and Nepal. After 25 years of touring these beautiful but challenging countries, you might think I’d have reached a been-there-seen-that attitude. Actually, the reverse is true – every trip is still full of new discoveries.
As exciting and glamorous as our Art Day Project launch and gala event were, we thought we would add an exciting little twist into the mix in the form of a rug giveaway! That's right, a GIVEAWAY and if that weren't cool enough we also asked for you, loyal CMI fans, to help us design it. As we mentioned in the previous post, visitors and press were invited to participate in the real-deal Art Day process, getting down and dirty and making their mark in celebration of our 25th. We cannot tell a lie, it was FANTASTIC. Watching journalists, men in suits and art school pre-grads rub elbows around our work table was downright inspiring. It showed us here at CMI, again, that this process is so amazing and universal and encourages such creativity in everyone.
You'll have excuse us for the radio silence - It's been a whirlwind here at Creative Matters and we're just starting to catch our breath! They say that 50 is fabulous but what about 25? We've just nicely entered our 25th year at CMI and we have to admit, it feels pretty great. Rewind a few months to November 26 2013 to our amazingly fantastic exhibition and gala, The Art Day Project, launched at Toronto's own, Textile Museum of Canada (TMC). Our team (see below!) worked on the event for an ENTIRE YEAR, designing, plotting, preparing, choosing the perfect outfits and finally the day arrived and we couldn't be more thrilled with how it turned out.
In celebration of our 25th Anniversary, Creative Matters held a series of art and design workshops at the Textile Museum of Canada in conjunction with the exhibition of our newest works titled The XXV Collection. Our designers walked participants through a creative design process that mirrored our own Art Day workshop, which is dedicated to creativity and inspiration. During Art Day we use a series of mediums, papers and tools to create marks and images that will eventually be worked into designs for hand-made, fair trade rugs.
The marks and imagery, generated during our 25th Anniversary Art Day workshops were created as inspiration for several original rug designs, with the intention of creating a luxurious, handwoven, fair-trade rug. The design team created fifty-three initial artworks and have narrowed it down to six to be entered into our first ever XXV Art Day Competition. Now we are inviting the public to judge the creations online and entrants have a chance to win the Art Day Project rug by visiting our site and voting for their favourite design. The winning design will be hand-woven, by Creative Matters' artisans in Nepal, into a beautiful 6'x8' rug (valued at $5000) and donated to Label Step for their awareness-building and fund-raising purposes.
Label STEP is committed to improving the working and living conditions of carpet weavers and fighting abusive child labour. To achieve these goals Label STEP systematically monitors the production sites of its licensees and their suppliers, and takes measures to ensure fair working conditions. Label STEP operates at the local level in all major carpet-producing countries in Afghanistan, India, Iran, Kyrgyzstan, Morocco, Nepal, Pakistan and Turkey.
You can enter to win the Art Day Project rug by voting, online for your favourite design and although no donation is necessary, all contributions help Label STEP continue their work to make life better for the weavers and support the commitment of the dealers.
Click the link to visiting the voting site - good luck!