Emma Mellor Handmade Rugs
For Emma Mellor, founder and Director of Emma Mellor Handmade Rugs, beautiful, hand crafted contemporary and traditional carpets can help people create the feeling of sanctuary in their homes. Emma is proud that her partnership with GoodWeave® can create a bit of a sanctuary for the children of weaving families too. “When I read about GoodWeave” I knew this was definitely something I wanted to be part of!”
If Emma Mellor Handmade Rugs has an origin story, then it is a bit of a romantic one. Emma trained as a ballet dancer and had a successful career in France but, she says, the love of her life since childhood was always rugs. “Our next-door neighbor had Persian carpets and I was just transfixed by the colors and the textures!” Emma chose a career in ballet, but while other dancers supported their ambitions waiting on tables, Emma always worked in rug stores where she learned as much as she could all the while carefully and slowly adding to her own collection. Though she loved the world of ballet, she says, it still could not hold a candle to her fascination with the centuries old world of rugs. “ I just love the materials. I love the textures. I love the color patterns.” And she adds laughingly, I even like the smell of these natural rugs that have no chemicals or anything artificial in them. Rugs are simply soothing to be around. I guess I am a bit obsessed she says with a smile.
Not everyone is as lucky to find their passion, (or in this case, twin passions, dance and carpets) so early. She continued dancing but the rugs grew increasingly important to her. “I always had dreams of opening my own store.” Launching a business was a big decision, but there was no doubt in her mind that she would do it. “If there was ever a job made for me, she says, it is this one.”
The company’s designs are for the most collaborations between her and the Nepalese weavers and they are often inspired by the nature. She points out that natural themes go hand in hand with the materials and authenticity of the vegetable dyes. She points to Bluesy, a wool and silk luminous carpet in shades of blue from bold to delicate.
Another of her influences, she says, comes from her keen interest in ancient Japanese art and design. She loves the fluidity of forms in that genre. Her spin on it, she says, is more abstract and subtle, drawing on fluid shapes and forms which she says can be seen in her Skinny Ribbons series.
Emma’s customers seem overwhelmingly to appreciate her commitment to using natural fibers and dyes as well as her commitment to social justice. She says her sense of those who visit her shop (which she strives to make feel as welcoming as her home) is that whether shopping for their grand house or their university apartment, each buyer wants something “that reflects their journey in life” or their memories of childhood homes.
When queried about her own favorite rugs, she is momentarily stumped. The rugs, she says with reverence, are all so unusual and have demanded such complex work from the weavers that it is hard to point to a favorite. “Each one has its own personality!”
“ I think the whole process is thrilling, even mindboggling and I so appreciate the skill of the artisans who make the rugs”, she says. That reverence for the weavers and their families, made joining GoodWeave and obvious choice. “If you are selling a product like this you need to make sure that it and everything that goes into it is responsibly sourced.”
Learn more about Emma Mellor Handmade Rugs and shop their collections here.