Merida, an American made rug company based out of Fall River, Massachusetts known for its one-of-a-kind handcrafted designs, introduces a new collection meant to celebrate the origins of weaving, the beauty of natural yarns, and the soul of artisanal technique: Atelier.
Comprised of 34 original rugs, plus an additional five that are designed exclusively for stairs, the Atelier Collection showcases the beauty of natural yarns across a wide range of styles and construction. From dobby-woven rugs that feature an exquisite hand-stitched brocade to richly textured tufted rugs and sophisticated Jacquard weaves, each rug is made to order by the very craftspeople who helped develop the line’s signature techniques.
The inspiration for Atelier started with Merida’s Artistic Director, Sylvie Johnson, who envisioned a collection that would draw from the art and architecture of the Italian Renaissance and the cultural dialogue of the Ottoman Empire. “The Renaissance was a time of discovery, when artists and artisans were on equal footing,” says Sylvie. “It is a way of thinking that takes ancient traditions and art forms as a starting point to create something entirely new.”
That spirit of discovery and invention is on display in the new collection, which showcases unconventional weaving methods as well as new yarns like silk wool, alpaca, and multi-felted merino wool. For the past three years, Sylvie and the Merida team have been innovating processes and techniques, from making their own yarns to completely rebuilding heritage looms to introduce artisanal handwork into the mechanical process. “We’re bringing the focus back to the beauty of the materials and sophisticated technique,” says Sylvie. “You can feel the spirit of the maker in every stitch.”
As CEO and owner Catherine Connolly says, “Atelier is the culmination of years of research and development, but more importantly it is the result of a team of talented designers and expert weavers who are dedicated to their practice and continue to challenge themselves, and one another.”
Despite the challenges imposed by the pandemic, the Merida team collaborated more closely than ever on the new collection. “You can see it in the details,” says Catherine. “There is a soulfulness to everything, from how the yarns are blended to the artful construction. So much thought went into every decision to create something unparalleled that no one else is doing. That is that spirit of invention that defines Merida as a company, and, I believe, our future as an industry.”