Sylvie Johnson’s Natural Fiber Rug Designs for Merida, a Made In USA Rug Company

Many of us at Remodelista grew up in Massachusetts and remember seeing the abandoned factory buildings with many windows in the mill town of Fall River. So we were encouraged to learn that the collection of natural fiber rugs we admired were produced at a relaunched textile factory in Fall River.

Merida, we have learned, is a company with a conscience and a mandate to celebrate craftsmanship and ingenuity. Under the leadership of Catherine Connolly, CEO, and Artistic Director Sylvie Johnson, Merida has created high-end handcrafted creations made only of quickly reconstructable materials, such as wool, linen and jute. Each is woven to order on looms which are bona fide heirlooms. And each one is designed by Sylvie, who has emerged in recent years as an innovative rock star in the rug world. Join us for a look.

Sylvie works in her own workshop in Paris & # 8
Above: Sylvie works in her own workshop in Saint-Germain-des-Prés in Paris, but has daily digital appointments with the Merida think tank (before the pandemic, she was in Fall River every seven weeks).

Sylvie grew up in West Africa and in Marseille; she graduated in economics, but made her way towards her profession by working in the Parisian art world. Inspired by a textile exhibition during a holiday in Brittany, she spent a year learning to weave on her own, then apprenticeship with a designer who had worked for Chanel. That was 17 years ago, and Sylvie has since received textile orders from a Who’s Who of designers, including Annabelle Selldorf and Axel Vervoordt. “What she does is very rare and difficult to explain. It’s as if she was putting her soul on the fabric ”, declared Jacques Grange W.

Sketching a design for Merida & # 8
Above: Sketch of a drawing for the new Portfolio collection by Merida for which Sylvie turned to Renaissance and Ottoman architecture and Mediterranean colors.

Sylvie’s creations are very technical: she spent two years developing the crimped yarn of Merida in Belgium, and what she calls “unstructured stripes” combine three weights of different yarns for a nuanced softness.

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