Rook and Render is a lifestyle brand. We have a broad range of interests in design, architecture, food, fashion, furniture, self-improvement, travel, authentic living of all kinds.
Why, then, rugs and pillows first?
I began as a contractor, designer, builder. I’m the guy they hired when the others guys couldn’t handle the level of finish or detail that the job required. My stuff was hand made by great artists associated with the building trades.
Ryan was and is a trained textiles designer.
When we met, and started to spend lots of time together, it became apparent to both of us that we had the same interests and tastes and desires from moving forwarding in our lives.
My clients were asking more and more for me to design specialty items for them that cannot be bought or were out of their price range. Ryan and I found that we worked together so easily on those kinds of things- a guest house, a kitchen, a bathroom, a bed, a chest of drawers, a floor plan… That drew us together, that kind of work. And as it developed, we would suggest dishes and rugs and pillows and tile and wallpaper to compliment the more nuts and bolts part of the work.
As we began to pursue that kind of work and we began to dream about what kind of work we might continue to enjoy together, as a separate business- so that we could travel, design, and embrace our ideals.
Ryan had no interest in going back to her big box design jobs, where other people had too much control over her output, and I was buried in clients, and looking for a more balanced way to live.
So, instead of furniture or clothing or food, we chose something we both know quite a bit about: textiles.
It was pretty easy to decide that rugs and pillows might be a good beginning: pillows are smaller and easily express a design theme or a piece of geometry, they’re affordable, and not impossible to make. Rugs, one piece at a time, a few at a time. And we would get to find the best folks who would express our designs, and we would get to travel to them. How’s that for an adventure?
Why Mexico? Why not! It’s on our way south, why not stop there and discover what there is to enjoy. We had some rug designs, and some pillow we sketched, let’s try Mexico. If that didn’t work we would head further south.
Wool lasts almost forever, as does the much finer alpaca, and cotton, and all of these are textiles that our artisans are familiar with. So that’s what we use. And it has to be handmade, handwoven, loved on by the artist. No question about it.
In another country, maybe silk, or linen or leather. Whatever they do best. When we go to Portugal, linen, Argentina, leather. Peru? Wool and Alpaca.
As we started to research on discover the kinds of artisans we would want to work with, Oaxaca became more and more important to us.
We booked a trip: half in Oaxaca and half near Mexico city, we rented a car, and we drove from town to town speaking broken Spanish to folks and asking where we could find weavers. We fell in love- with Oaxaca and its people, it’s gentle, formidable artisans, and beautiful textiles, its food, its allure. We were hooked.
So that was that, we placed our first order for rugs. We found a totally different kind of artisan west of Mexico City in the mountains, and ordered more, and then on another trip- pillows.
It all just kind of fell into place: rugs and pillows would be first for Rook and Render. And so it is: we’re sharing our love with you through rugs and pillows. What’s next for us is coming to you soon!
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