Spotlight On: SHIVHON

Marina Del Rey, California

The way Hawaii- and L.A.-based interior designer Shirley Shivhon tells the story, she “just fell into the rug business” on a visit to Nepal. By a stroke of serendipity she met the patriarch of a family weaving business, visited the weavers at work, and was awestruck. “It’s crazy to watch what they do and see their talent,” Shirley says. From the start she knew that she herself would work only with a factory like the one she found, a factory that had good labor practices. But joining GoodWeave® does more than help her company, Shirley says; GoodWeave helps make a big difference across the entire industry.

Social responsibility is an integral part of SHIVHON, a company that specializes in the production of custom, handmade wool and silk knotted rugs. Shirley, who grew up in a family committed to the traditional Jewish value of “tikkun olam” (healing the world), and is inspired by the Buddhist value of compassion, says her spiritual values are reflected in her company’s concern for the lives of its weavers. The company seeks to produce rugs in an environmentally sustainable way while also ensuring fair prices for consumers and fair wages for workers, says Shirley. “Truthfully, my goal is to run the company as a non-profit,” she says.

SHIVHON’s design reflects an attention to the environment, to nature. The highly praised wool and silk Cherry Blossom series is inspired by her visits to Japan. An avid photographer and snorkeler, Shirley says her Coral rugs are inspired by the marine life in a secluded cove in Maui. Recreating nature in a rug can sometimes be a Herculean task, she says. A particular challenge (and reward) was a piece she made for a surfer in Hawaii. The client wanted the feeling of being in the “green room” (surfer jargon for being inside the barrel of a wave). The shifting colors, light and motion of the waves meant days of watching, photographing, sketching and painting the ocean, she explains, but both she and the client fell in love with the final product.

Though Shirley acknowledges that the business of rugs is extraordinarily demanding and competitive, there is always a kind of magic in the process and the product. “So many hands come together to create these rugs,” she says with palpable emotion in her voice, “that I don’t see the rugs as mine, but rather as ours. Each rug belongs to all the people who made it.”

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Rug Thumbnails

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