We are thrilled to announce our exhibition in Booth 2959 at the center of Wanted Design Fair during New York Design Week. Select Irish wool carpet and tapestry designs from four collections will be exhibited for the first time alongside the New York City debut of stone sculptures by Helen O’Connell and storm chaser oil painter Ian Sheldon. A new Irish wool textile and home decor collection will also debut at the fair.
Composed of traditionally spun high quality Irish wool, Rhyme Studio carpet designs are a celebration of classical to contemporary art, sculpture and Irish craftsmanship. With authenticity and sustainable craft as founding principles, we source our fleece from farms on the spectacular west coast of Ireland. Raw wool is sent for processing and spinning at one of the last surviving historic traditional woolen mills in Ireland and then journeys on to a second historic woolen mill to be dyed by hand using only natural and non toxic dyes. Finally it arrives at our rural Irish studio to be tufted into design by the hand of our master craftsman.
Collections include the Limited Edition Insula Series inspired by 7th Century Irish Insular Art and illuminated manuscripts and The Trinity Series,celebrating the concept of “rug as sculpture” and the purity of triangular forms. The OM Series, derived from a 1600 year old “tree” alphabet called Ogham is crafted with naturally brown (undyed) wool of the Irish Zwartbles sheep and a carpet or tapestry design that can spell just about any word. 2021’s fourth design collection is the surface sculpted Modernity series, a tribute to Irish designer Eileen Gray and Kasimir Malevich.
Sculpture by award winning Irish artist Helen O’ Connell will also make its New York City debut at the fair. O’Connell channels the inspiration of Ireland’s ancient megalithic heritage and her ancestors into her work often made with Irish Kilkenny limestone, a beautifully versatile material composed of marine life compressed over thousands of years, when the island of Ireland was still attached to mainland Europe.
Celebrated painter and storm chaser Ian Sheldon finds inspiration during a summer storm and excels in depictions of when land meets the turbulent forces of nature. Eventually settling in Alberta on the edge of a vast Canadian wilderness, the artist's work centers upon themes of seemingly limitless prairie landscape in front of awe inspiring and poetically dark storms.
The Rhyme Studio goal is a circular and carbon negative foundation for a truly responsible design collection and a percentage of our sales are devoted to directly supporting Irish sheep farmers. During our years of research for sustainable materials, not only did we discover that Irish wool has been all but forsaken by contemporary rug & knitwear makers but that it is an enduring carbon friendly and renewable material. A miracle fiber, wool is antimicrobial, naturally water resistant, naturally flame retardant and air filtering with the ability to even improve indoor air quality. It is also sound absorbing and breathable, contrary to common misconception that wool must always feel hot and coarse. Rhyme Studio wool is traceable. We source high quality fleece from small supplier sheep farmers who treat their animals with respect and whose flocks frequently graze upon land that is not viable for agriculture.
“By the time the Irish wool market officially collapsed in 2020 and farmers were dumping their wool, we had been making Irish wool carpet & tapestry for 4 years. It became clear this was just one cyclical crisis associated with an unsustainable global textile industry”, says designer Claire McGovern. “Today wool, the original eco fiber with a multitude of uses, is often discarded while countless billions are spent producing lab grown and non recyclable fossil fuel dependent fibers to feed a fast fashion and furniture industry”
The climate crisis that humanity now faces requires fast and systemic change. In the absence of any meaningful regulation in the design industry, it is up to the maker and the consumer to self educate and make ethical choices when it comes to the production and purchase of design. In the USA carpet industry alone more than 2.5 million tons of synthetic, chemically toxic material is sent to landfill each year while barely 5% of carpet discarded is recycled. Once the fiber of choice, wool accounts for only 2% of the current needs of the global textile industry while resource draining dirty synthetics comprise two thirds of current global usage, have no credible recycling concept and mostly wind up in landfill or shed micro plastics that flow into our oceans.
Natural and renewable fibers such as wool come from the earth and need to be treated with respect and valued for the multitude of uses they offer. Wool is Nature’s way.
About Rhyme Studio and Claire McGovern
Rhyme Studio is an interiors, art advisory and design manufacturer based in New York City with a production studio in rural Ireland. Born in Dublin, founder Claire McGovern’s first business was an acclaimed art and design gallery evolving into the multi-disciplinary studio she operates today. McGovern’s expertise has ranged from that of a curator and interior designer to playing a pivotal role in the development of several award winning luxury design manufacturers and artistic careers. In 2017 she embarked upon a sustainable and authentic design collection made entirely by hand in rural Ireland. Beginning with Irish wool designs the collection will eventually grow into a multi-media array of furnishings dedicated only to the highest quality, responsible craftsmanship. Her studio is a member of the Sustainable Furnishings Council and and a percentage of all company sales is devoted to directly supporting the Irish sheep farmer and fostering greater awareness of the sustainability crisis facing the global fiber market.
Rhyme Studio is proud to be a member of the Sustainable Furnishings Council USA