i + D - November/December 2020 - 31

Global Citizens - By Diana Mosher

Emma Gardner
(Image: Alessandra Mello)

From the beginning,
Emma Gardner has worked
with GoodWeave to ensure
no child, forced, or bonded
labor is used in the
production of her rugs.
(Image: Emma Gardner)

Promoting Ethical Practices
When Emma Gardner, founder, principal,
and creative director of Emma Gardner Design,
launched her line of handmade couture area rugs
in 2002, she was eager to work with Nepal's
talented weavers. She envisioned using traditional
methods, local Himalayan wool, and Chinese
silk, and she also wanted to be sure to avoid any
mills that would exploit child labor. However,
she says, " I wasn't in a position to go and tour
mills myself to make sure they were all on the
up and up. " Instead, she contacted GoodWeave
(formerly known as Rugmark), a non-profit
organization committed to ending child labor in
the rug making industry. It was the beginning of
a long relationship that has allowed Gardner to
maneuver the complexities of the local scene on
the ground so far from home while also achieving
GoodWeave certification for her products.
The GoodWeave label confirms that no child,
forced, or bonded labor was used in the
production of her rugs, and it means the purchase
of the product contributes to programs that
promote education for children and proper
working conditions for adults.

" The essence of the idea behind the business
was applying contemporary design to a centuriesold craft, " Gardner says. " The weavers are
working in the vernacular that their people have
been expressing for generations-even as their
language dies, even as the rest of their culture
crumbles around them. These rugs help sustain
that way of life. I think we all have a vested
interest in keeping alive these wonderful art forms
and allowing them to evolve. That was the whole
point of marrying my contemporary designs with
this wonderful and very enduring technique. "
Gardner also believes that handmade global goods
can have a powerful impact on interiors, as design
clients are craving authentic products that result
from small-batch production. " Humans just seem
to appreciate handmade items at a visceral level, "
she says. " A weaver's individuality is woven into
the rug. "
Provenance is of interest, too. " Everyone likes
to have a story to tell, " adds Gardner. " A lot of
our business becomes about the experience
of our clients creating a one-off piece with me
that was woven by hand in Nepal. When I was in
Katmandu with my daughter, seeing the various
phases of the process, people really responded
to my Instagram posts. I wasn't sure if anybody
would care if I showed a photo of the yarn being
dyed or the brilliant color matching being done
by hand-but they did. "

i+D - November/December 2020

378_025_i+D Nov.Dec 2020_V4.indd 31

Through her handmade rugs,
designer Emma Gardner
marries ancient craft techniques
with contemporary style.
(Image: D'Aquino Monaco,
Costas Picardo)

31
2020-11-25 13:48



i + D - November/December 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of i + D - November/December 2020

Contents
i + D - November/December 2020 - Cover1
i + D - November/December 2020 - Cover2
i + D - November/December 2020 - 3
i + D - November/December 2020 - Contents
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https://www.nxtbook.com/emerald/id/20210304
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