ruthie L. designs

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Ruth Lazerson, founder of Sydney, Australia-based ruthie L. designs, describes her nature-inspired rugs and wall hangings as “fluid, organic and textural”. She also says that for her, as valuable as the rugs may be for their aesthetic value, they are also important because through her partnership with GoodWeave®, the rugs contribute to the well-being of the community that weaves them. “When I decided to make rugs I wanted the assurance there was no child labor used in any stage of the supply chain. I got that from GoodWeave.”

Trained as both an artist and an art historian, Ruth is acutely aware that there is story behind each work of art. The story behind each of her rugs, she says, includes the weaver whose work transforms her designs into a beautiful rugs. It is a long process, she says, and she adds, an exquisite collaboration with the artisan. “I have such enormous respect for the weavers!” Ruth attributes her commitment to the artisans, their families and to social justice in general, to her childhood in South Africa during a time of apartheid. There she saw the struggles of the women and men who worked as servants in homes such as her own and how often work meant being separated from their children. “It had a lasting effect on me,” she says.

Her years living in South Africa also influenced her aesthetic sensibility. She had an early fascination with local textiles and later, while working as an art historian, began to collect both African and Indian woven crafts. She says she is also passionate about nature and the landscapes of both South Africa where she was raised as well as the wild natural surroundings of her adopted home, Australia. When she began designing rugs, it was the natural world that inspired her. “Nature is a treasure trove of exquisite shapes, colors and textures,” she says. She points to “Depths of the Ocean” a piece from her Elements collection as an example. The two by three meter long rug is made of 100% sari silk in a palette of multiple shades of blue. Ruth says the rug, like the ocean, changes its appearance from every angle. “Sometimes it seems to shimmer silvery or from another angle it looks gray like the temperamental rolling ocean waves,” she says. With the nettle and silk “Chiseled Ice” from her Rugged collection, Ruth reaches to the distant north to Siberia’s ancient Lake Baikal for inspiration.

Translating the marvels of nature into her rugs, she says, is a long process. Each step is challenging and each challenge increases her reverence for the craft and the weavers who make her art possible. She wants those weavers, and most of all their children to be respected and have healthy and productive lives. “The children must have pens, not tools in their hands,” she says, “It is our social responsibility!”

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