As an interior designer, I use products from all over the globe. While I attempt to specify as many American-made products as possible for my clients, sometimes I need to reach beyond our borders for the perfect product. Casegoods from Southeast Asia (Phillipines, Thailand, etc.), drapery and cabinet hardware from Germany, blown glass from Eastern Europe and handmade rugs from Nepal, to name a few examples.

This post is about understanding who makes the products we place in our homes. So, when a natural disaster occurs in another part of the world, it gives us a perfect opportunity to not only learn about the people impacted but also take a moment to help those in need. As you know, a 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck Nepal. The loss of life is in the thousands with the number of injured being even more. In many parts of the country, roads, houses, temples and other important infrastructure has been destroyed or severely compromised. Much of the rug manufacturing in Nepal takes place in the more rural parts of Nepal, in small villages or towns in the mountains. Sometimes an entire village will be focused on rug making. This means that when something like this earthquake hits, it can impact the livelihood of whole villages. 

This is now our opportunity to help this country recover from this disaster. Here are a few of international charity or relief organizations taking donations specifically to help the Nepalese people. Here are a few of the organizations I know and trust (and many of our local rug vendors also trust to do right by the Nepalese) - OxfamGoodweave, Phoenix Fund for Nepal Relief (started by one of the main suppliers of Nepalese rugs) - go here directly to their PayPal site. If giving to one of these organizations is not your thing, feel free to stop by one of the local rug vendors - Kush Handmade Rugs, Lapchi Atelier and Christiane Millinger Oriental Rugs are all involved in the recovery efforts in some fashion. 

So, let's take a moment to consider the artisans who make these pieces of textile art and the art they make. 

Women sorting wool by hand

Women sorting wool by hand

Drying wool in the sun

Drying wool in the sun

A hand-knotted rug on loom - keep in mind an 8x10 rug has somewhere near 2 million individually hand tied knots

A hand-knotted rug on loom - keep in mind an 8x10 rug has somewhere near 2 million individually hand tied knots

Hand-shearing to perfection

Hand-shearing to perfection

Freshly washed rug drying in the sun

Freshly washed rug drying in the sun

Thank you for reading.

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