For two weeks during Fairtrade Fortnight, a unique project is bringing together well-known designers and illustrators with one of Nepal’s founding fair trade groups, resulting in a collection of vibrant, Tibetan wool rugs being sold exclusively through London’s Design Museum Shop.
Eighteen artists, textile and graphic designers are involved in the project, which is led by NODE, a non-profit social business established by bestselling children’s book author Chris Haughton and a Kathmandu-based entrepreneur, Akshay Sthapit. Haughton spent eight months in Nepal in 2010, and the project came about after he began developing rugs with a fair-trade technical school. “Our aim is to combine great design with great fair trade projects in order to make as much impact for fair trade as we can,” says Haughton.
All the rugs are made from pure Tibetan wool, hand-spun into thread, hand-dyed with natural and non-polluting dyes and then hand-knotted on looms into rugs. This process takes place at Kathmandu’s Kumbeshwar Technical School, where the weaving school recruits disadvantaged adults and offers an adult education and support centre.
Profits from the sales of the rugs not only help to fund an orphanage for 25 children but also a school of 260 students, who receive free books and meals and are taught by well-trained, fairly paid teachers.
Artists involved include Donna Wilson, Elle Decoration British Designer of the Year in 2011; Geoff McFetridge, art director of the famous underground Beastie Boys magazine, Grand Royal; and Jon Klassen an illustrator and author of the record-breaking New York Times bestseller “I Want My Hat Back”.
They are joined by Finnish artist Sanna Annukka, well-known for her prints and patterns for Marimekko; Beatrice Alemagna, one of France’s best known and most prolific children’s book authors; and Clayton Junior, a Brazilian illustrator known for his work with the New Yorker and the New York Times.
18 Artists-18 Rugs will be on sale exclusively through the Design Museum Shop online. All the rugs are limited editions and signed by the artists. They measure 1.75m x 1.15m and are available from the Design Museum shop for £950 including delivery to your home.