In 2006 I moved to the Carpet Capital of the World, Dalton, Georgia. At one point in time 75% of the all the worlds carpet was made within one-hundred miles of Dalton.
There was no plan to become a carpet designer. It found me and it felt like the thing to do.
Two artist friends living in Dalton asked if I knew of anyone who could sublet their apartment because they had just purchased a house. Their landlord was an art collector and would like if it was another artist who lived there. That artist would be me. I was twenty-six, living in Rock Hill, South Carolina, and was ready to break up with my boyfriend and return to Georgia.
After moving to Dalton I made a lot of friends, one being the creative director of hospitality carpet at Shaw Industries. I was waiting tables and told him I wanted a different job — one that used my creative talents. A week later he got a call from a head hunter and sent her my way. Two weeks after that I interviewed for five different positions at Mohawk and was offered the job as a designer of high fashion carpet for Karastan Contract. I had taken my drawings and my tintypes to the interview; they told me later that the drawings sealed the deal.
I was there for nearly six years, until the recession hit the industry and I was laid off. Often times I feel like the experience was an art education I got paid for. My favorite part of design is in the trending. Being an intuitive and artist I have a knack for knowing what colors and design trends are soon to arrive on the market.
One of the most enriching take aways included becoming a colorist. Until I was thrown into the world of design, my attention was absorbed by neutral landscapes — I'm still drawn to the graphic nature of black and white, the muted and monochromatic — but my time working with greige yarn and a dye house, as well as tuning into color trends each year, exposed me to such a vivid range of color that I began using it in my home; my space before this had been filled with a pallet of neutrals. Color also became another way to communicate with the world — a revelation that was not obvious until I was immersed in the vibrant spectrum that exists in all of nature. (Btw, if you can't already tell, I love jewel tones the best.)
And if you've ever wondered who gives the style names and the color names to paints or designer products, that would be the designer or colorist.
Below is a small sample of the textiles I worked on while designing.