Designer Rosemary Hallgarten Weaves A Sustainable Philosophy into Her Textiles

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Designer Rosemary Hallgarten offers lots of reasons to feel good about her custom rugs and throws. She fuses her modern sensibilities with traditional hand-knotting and weaving techniques, and sustainable practices. Debuting at ICFF this year, she is launching a new Tibetan line, of exquisite rugs, featuring a selection of environmentally friendly, pioneering fibers, including hemp, cactus, nettle and banana, as well as Himalayan wool, silk and cashmere. Along with the new rug collection, she has added fresh new colors and designs to her popular line of Peruvian Alpaca throws and rugs.

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Designer Rosemary Hallgarten offers lots of reasons to feel good about her custom rugs and throws. She fuses her modern sensibilities with traditional hand-knotting and weaving techniques, and sustainable practices. Debuting at ICFF this year, she is launching a new Tibetan line, of exquisite rugs, featuring a selection of environmentally friendly, pioneering fibers, including hemp, cactus, nettle and banana, as well as Himalayan wool, silk and cashmere. Along with the new rug collection, she has added fresh new colors and designs to her popular line of Peruvian Alpaca throws and rugs.

Tibetan Line

The new Tibetan rug line allows Hallgarten to explore the rich breadth of colors and designs afforded by the revered Himalayan wool. The line comprises the Himalayan Collection (100% Himalayan wool); the Luxury Collection (100% silk, 100% cashmere, and wool/silk/cashmere blends); and the Botanical Collection (hemp, cactus, nettle and banana fibers).

Particular highlights of the Tibetan Line include her Botanical Collection. Sustainably harvested in the high altitudes of Katmandu, Nepal, the unusual blend of cactus, nettle, banana or hemp fibers used as accents with wool is intriguing, while the overall look is simple and organic.

Included in the collection is “Chair”—a rug woven with silk, wool and cactus fibers in grey and silver hues¬—a collaboration with British artist Caroline Broadhead. It features a play on shadows, one cast by a chair, injecting a sense of typical English humor and subversive spirit. Another version of this concept rug, “Cactus Chair”, blends cactus fibers with coral-colored wool. “Stepping Stones" an update of existing designs, utilizes natural cactus on white or coral wool.

Other highlights include rugs in the Luxury Collection. As the name suggests, the Luxury Collection’s use of cashmere, silk and wool combinations is sensual in its look and feel, and makes a striking statement.

Included in the collection is "Silhouette", featuring a simple flower motif in black and white, which is inspired by a vintage cotton lace handkerchief she found in her parent’s attic in England. A necklace,

one that she purchased at the Portobello Road antique market in London, inspires her “Fallen Leaves” rug in orange, rust and gold colors. Her mother’s Victorian lace blouse and the exquisite lace work Hallgarten came across during a recent trip to Brazil both inspired her "Lace" rug, woven in pink and red on a white background.

Peruvian Line

The Incas once considered alpacas, bred largely in the Andes, a symbol of wealth. Today, they are increasingly sought for their warm lustrous coats. The natural rearing of the Alpacas is helping to sustain local communities in Peru. The centuries-old tradition of rug making has been passed down through generations. It is programs such as Hallgarten’s, which are helping to keep the craft alive through local artisans. While the artisan process is humble: local craftspeople conduct their work in their own homes, the final product is far from it. Hallgarten’s signature rugs, the Peruvian Line, promote the natural beauty and soft, bouncy texture of the Alpaca fiber.

“For me, how the rug is made is very important—it goes through so many hands. I feel responsible for those people. With everything automated these days, we’re losing touch of the mark of the hand. I want my textiles to feel someone’s energy and someone’s touch.”

Every year, Hallgarten provides the livelihood for scores of farmers in Peru who undertake dyeing, tufting, knotting, weaving and embroidery for the designer. She uses environmentally friendly dyes for her Alpaca fleece.

The Peruvian Line comprises the Plush Pile Collection (thick, cushy look and feel. 100% alpaca or alpaca and wool blends); Double-Pile/Shag Collection (a silky touch and textured organic look); Flatweave Bouclé Collection (a casual, low pile, woven look); and Cut/Loop Collection (a uniform look, ideal for commercial locations. 100% alpaca, alpaca and wool blends or 100% Peruvian wool).

In this year’s Double-pile/Shag Collection. The high quality of the alpaca and the skill of the artisan allow Hallgarten to explore various pile heights and textures. The result is a distinctively textured and organic appeal. A nature theme runs throughout, such as “Dunes", a hand-knotted rug in silvers and blues, reminiscent of the sand dunes found on the beaches of Beirut when she lived there as a child. Inspiration for "Crocodile" in pink and orange and “Rivulet" in coral and orange both evolved from her fascination for patterns in nature: the undulations of a crocodile’s markings, the peaks and troughs left in the sand as the tide washes through an estuary. Technically these organic patterns also lend themselves to being showcased well in either high and low pile wools and monochromatic colors.

The Flatweave Bouclé collection explores "Rivulet" in black and white. While using the same pattern as its sister rug in the Double-pile/Shag Collection, the effect is dramatically different, characterized by a low pile, casual, woven look. “Stripe” in a pink, green, mushroom and grape palette strikes a chord with her childhood memories of English country cottages.

In addition to rugs, Rosemary Hallgarten’s sumptuous throws in an assortment of alpaca, baby alpaca and silk blends are a perfect foil to chilly nights. The double-sided weave throws accentuate the two-tone effect in lilac and dark blue—“Denim”; yellow and white; lemon and turquoise and orange and rust. Baby Alpaca and silk hand-woven throws are also available in new colors: spring green/white fringe, café au lait/white fringe, pale aqua/white fringe.

About Rosemary Hallgarten

British-born Rosemary Hallgarten began her career as a jewelry designer. The daughter of notable rug designer Gloria Finn, she honed her skills in a wide variety of traditional rug-making crafts as a young girl, including rug-hooking, hand-knotting and weaving. She launched her textile career five-years-ago with Tappeti, a line of hand-hooked rugs using English-spun New Zealand wool.

She fell in love with Peru’s rich cultural history and tradition in alpaca rug-making during her recent travels. The result is her popular Peruvian line of alpaca rugs, pillows and now throws. Her work has both artistic and social significance. Based in Westport, Connecticut she works with traditional craftspeople around the world – in Peru and Nepal – to keep their unique rug-making techniques alive. Rosemary Halllgarten is fascinated as much by the visual and tactile qualities of materials, as keeping the different skills and traditions alive in producing them. The result is a delicate balance of present and past. For further information, visit http://www.rosemaryhallgarten.com.

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