“It is as basic as this,” explains Miron Chlebosz, one half of New York-based Asha Carpets, speaking of the use of child labor in the rug industry. “We are socially conscious people, and our clientele simply wouldn’t accept it. When our customers find out we are part of a program like GoodWeave®, we hear a palpable sigh of relief.”
Asha Carpets is “all about textures,” says Miron, who is the business partner and longtime friend of founder Joanna Michalowicz. The company’s custom hand-knotted and hand-woven pieces from Nepal and China are designed to mimic and interpret textures of antique carpets. To achieve this, specialized weaving techniques are used, as in “Manuela” in Asha Carpet’s “Classic” collection or “Cottonballs” in the “Elements” collection. Joanna (Asha to her friends) knows the antique rug business, having begun her career in antique carpet restoration. In fact, it was a trip to China to do some antique rug repair that led to a serendipitous meeting with a rug producer and resulted in the launch of Asha Carpets.
Joanna, who does most of the designing, thrives on challenges. One of the company’s most interesting and most daunting assignments was to reproduce a 17th-century Polonaise carpet. “The customer had in mind a very particular carpet,” says Miron. “We had to use 110 colors to satisfy him!”
Asha’s unique rugs can be found all over the world, from Seattle to Singapore, and the two partners can also be found in far-flung corners of the planet. They travel widely, particularly through Asia, where mountain climbs lead to designs such as “Mandala,” inspired by a trip to Tibet. The mountaineering is also a source of their values. “You learn a lot about yourself, other people and other cultures climbing mountains.” Notes Miron, “That translates into a concern for the workers whose labor makes the rugs possible.”
To see learn more, please visit www.ashacarpets.com.