Spotlight On: bella

Longmont, Colorado

Nicole Linton of  bellaNicole Linton, though a self-confessed “texture junkie,” admits even she is surprised that she ended up in the rug industry. After college, Nicole traveled around Peru with nothing but a backpack and a passion for the Spanish language. “I just fell in love with the people and their handcrafted textiles,” she says.  It was here that the seeds of è bella, her Boulder, Colorado-based rug company, were planted. It was easy for Nicole to see how importing rugs could help the artisans she so admired. Later, when she decided to expand her line to include rugs woven in India and Nepal, it was natural to turn to GoodWeave®.

“Blown away” by traditions, Nicole brought handmade alpaca and wool rugs to the US market, later adapting indigenous artisans’ traditional designs and colors for a contemporary and sophisticated audience. Though her rugs can now be found in the homes of celebrities like Sharon Stone and Leonardo DiCaprio, Nicole says the glory goes to the artisan and the traditional cultures out of which the designs come. For example, “Zen” is influenced by pre-Columbian tapestries and “The Myriad” by African textiles. “I want my clients to understand that each piece is one of a kind,” says Nicole, “and I want them to know who created it.”

Whether hiking in remote regions of Latin America or snowshoeing in the mountains of Colorado, Nicole says her aesthetic sensibility has always been influenced by the natural world. Patterns and textures reflect natural experiences. For instance, è bella’s abstract “Bloomers,” an alpaca/wool piece in royal blue, silver and jade, was inspired by the sight of dried vegetation on the snowshoe trail. “I was so moved that I actually drew the design in the snow,” she says.

è bella’s most recent work incorporates sustainable fibers like bamboo, cactus and banana as in “Mermaids,” a shimmering jade and silver piece. But no matter what adaptations è bella makes, Nicole’s devotion to texture and desire to improve life for the people who weave her rugs is constant. “I want buyers to feel that walking on our rugs is like walking on moss in the forest,” says Nicole, “and I want to sustain people’s livelihoods whether in Peru or Nepal. GoodWeave has a parallel mission. That helps me educate my clients.”

Learn more at www.ebelladesigns.com.

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