Textile artist Rosemary Hallgarten believes it is a great privilege to be able to align her personal values with her work. “With GoodWeave®,” she explains, “I am not only sure that the work is done in decent conditions, but also that I am contributing to the education of the workers and their families.”
Family is important to Rosemary. She works closely with families of rug artisans in small communities in Nepal, Peru and Brazil. “Each country has different techniques and materials, and it is important to me that these crafts, these traditions are not lost. I can help preserve them by helping to support the families.”
Her interest in rug design comes, in part, from her own family. Her mother, Gloria Finn, is a well-known fiber artist, and Rosemary grew up in Beirut and London in a milieu of art and artists. Her earliest memories are of the brightness of the colors of sky, sun and water and of the textures in the archeological ruins that she explored with her mother. Bathed in that aesthetic, Rosemary turned to jewelry as a medium to express her fascination with color, texture and found objects. After more than a decade making jewelry, she wanted a bigger canvas and, with encouragement from her mother, began to design and make rugs. Her work with jewelry still influences her work, she says. “The jewelry used wire, paper, acrylic and beads to create a variety of textures. As a rug designer everything I do is three-dimensional, too, and I am fascinated with the contrasts of silk, wool, cactus and nettle fibers.”
Rosemary’s inspiration for designs often comes from nature. The “Rivulet” series grew out of her interest in the shapes that water makes in sand, and her “Lake” rugs were inspired by the colors of Lake Michigan. Her designs seem to appeal to people with a modern aesthetic and European sensibility. Just as she tries to have personal relationships with the artisans with whom she works, she also likes to connect with the people who buy her rugs. “I do think about the rugs when they are gone.” she says.
Rosemary sees rugs as art, culture and community. “I like tapping into the core of each country’s techniques, traditions and fibers,” she explains.
To find out more about Rosemary and her work, go to www.rosemaryhallgarten.com.