Even before designer Esther Stella Scherer refocused her work from jewelry and interior design to custom rugs she was concerned about sustainability and fair wages for artisans. When it came to her new project, designing carpets, she searched for a producer who shared her values. They found each other in Katmandu, she says. It was a serendipitous meeting. In fact, she says, it was the producer who told her about GoodWeave®. “I researched GoodWeave’s projects and thought if GoodWeave is working with this producer and this producer is recommending GoodWeave, I have a good feeling about it all.”
Not only was her connection with GoodWeave formed in the most organic way, her transition to rugs evolved naturally out of her interior design enterprise. In the process of completing one of her interior projects, she was simply unable to find appropriate rugs. Undaunted, Stella simply made some drawings which would later became rugs. “I’ve lived in Asia, Europe and America, traveled to 52 countries and love to mix boldly the inspiration from different cultural backgrounds into my work,” she says Voila! Six new carpet designs and a brand new business.
One example of her transcultural rugs that she points to is a piece she made for a private home in Singapore. It is the large form, round in tencel and wool “Tortuga”. In this case, the exterior of the tortoise is a vibrant panoply of both Aztec and Maori symbols. All Stella’s rugs are in vivid colors but perhaps the most brilliant hues are in her limited edition series “Koi”. The startling large abstract image of the fish is in a palette of fiery reds and oranges. “This isn’t the kind of carpet that mixes with the interior It’s the center of attention, The carpet is a piece of art.” Stella says.
Stella’s rugs are in the homes of high net worth individuals, in jewelry stores and upscale restaurants. She says she is well aware these luxury goods made with luxury materials are created by people whose own lives are often a struggle to simply sustain themselves. All the more reason, she says, to make sure they are treated fairly. Finding an organization such as GoodWeave, Stella explains, ensures that the rugs she makes give back something to the people who make them. “We don’t need a carpet to live, but they need to make carpets to they can pay their living.”