We set up node last year so that we can help a fair trade project/school set up a really nice social enterprise. so far its been going pretty good. Amongst other things we are being stocked by the design museum but there have been other very exciting opportunities that we have not been able to fully realize yet.
There are just 2 of us. Akshay is in Kathmandu and I’m really busy on other projects and to be honest ive no idea how to best do a lot of this stuff. I am offered a lot of opportunities with the rugs but i dont have much business sense, it would be great to have someone on board with a good vision and a more structured approach for growth.
We think we have the potential to scale up. We want to be able to pay ourselves (all voluntary so far) and scale it up to something thats helping lots more people out. we have been offered some VERY VERY exciting exhibitions with some VERY VERY exciting people, and i want to give this project the attention it deserves.
So thats why we are looking for someone to help. If you can make it work and you can make this pay ..you have a job!
for more info on the job see the detailed description below. you can also see the links below:
Are you good at organising stuff? Do you have an interest in design, fair trade and RUGS! If so please drop us an email (address below)
Job title: Creative project & event manager
- to co-ordinate an international fair trade design exhibition project
- to work with designers and Nepal-based manufacturer
- to promote and market project to museums and retailers in UK and abroad.
Responsible to: The owner
Working with: Designers, illustrators, museums, retailers, manufacturer in Nepal
Salary: Self-employed freelancer
Based: preferably in UK (client is based in London)
Terms: in first instance till December 2012, with potential to extend
Our client is a fairly well known illustrator and animator who has been working in Nepal with a fair trade textile manufacturer. This manufacturer is a social enterprise that has got great capacity to create one off or small batch produced tufted rugs.
Exciting conversations have been held with a museum and retailer in London who are interested to present a collection designed by up to 20 designers and illustrators later this year during London Design Festival.
- To create a project plan and budget, set up meetings, liaise with our client, keep project on track both financially and in time.
- Create a collection of 20 different contemporary fair trade uniquely designed rugs.
- You will be the main contact between the 20 designers and the manufacturer in Nepal to create, manufacture and deliver rugs to the UK in time. Responsible for all correspondence, skype conversations, emails etc.
- To write a design brief for up to 20 designers and illustrators, contact potential designers and liaise with designers, creation of contracts and royalty agreements with designers, all liaison with designers. There will be a run of up to 50 rugs per design.
- You will be responsible to create the rug exhibition in London in September with major museum and potential major retailer.
- (Most of designers and illustrators are already known to my client, so little promotion required to get other designers involved)
- To promote exhibition in London to press, potential retailers, with a view to tour exhibition or show in our outside of UK.
- Find additional retail and exhibition opportunities.
- Create online sales through own website or working with partners.
- You will be responsible for the commercial success of this project, with the main aim to financially support the trade fair manufacturer in Nepal through regular trading. This is a self-funded project, so no government funding is involved, although some sponsorship opportunities might be possible.
- You will need to be able to budget and price the collection appropriately, and promote to retailers to show and sell the rugs
- There is the potential to work here as an agent on a longer term project basis.
- We are looking for a candidate with an entrepreneurial, ‘can do’ attitude, who makes things happen.
- You have got excellent communication and negotiation skills, ideally working with designers, manufacturers and retailers. The manufacturer in Nepal has been educated at Harvard in US and has very good English.
- You probably have got a very strong marketing, retail and or design management background, potentially working as an agent. It would be good if you have got experience in costing, pricing and royalty management.
- You must be very interested in fair trade.
You will work as a freelance, self employed agent. You can work from anywhere, but our client is based in London, and some meetings in London will probably be required. There might be some travel to Nepal involved (not necessarily). We expect this project to be commercially very viable, but it is up to you to generate income and your fees.
April Start project, planning, budgeting, write brief, develop contracts, contact designers, liaison with museum
May Design to start
June Manufacturing to start
July Start promotion
Sept Rugs delivered in UK
Nov Exhibition in London
Follow up with other retailers
Send us your CV and a letter (in total no more than 4 sides of A4, ideally saved as a PDF) detailing why you are the best candidate for this position. Please include an up to date email address and phone/mobile number.
We will inform you by e-mail if you have been unsuccessful, and we contact you by phone to arrange for an interview in London on Monday 30 April. We will be able to do skype or phone interviews for candidates outside of London or the UK.
Deadline: Wednesday 25 April at 6pm
Email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
please include ‘job application’ in the subject line. You can also use this email if you have any questions about this position.
I recently made artwork for the interiors of the Gibson hotel in Dublin. The Gibson is a very modern 4 star hotel right next to, and same owner as the O2, which is Irelands largest music venue. The idea is that the performers and audience can stay after gigs and so its music themed. They asked me if i could do some artwork ‘around rock legends’ Eventually we decided to do artwork with songs hidden inside them. It was a pretty nice job to work on (!)
The mural in the bar features three songs hidden inside the images. Its 5m high.
play> Led Zeppelin: Stairway to heaven
play> Fela Kuti: Water No Get Enemy a good article about Fela
play> Bob Dylan: All Along the watchtower ‘said the joker to thief’
The mural in the restaurant is 10 metres wide. In the details you can see..
play> Velvet Underground: Venus in Furs based on the sascha-masoch novel
play> Can: Mushroom ‘when i saw her mushroom head… i was born, i was dead…’ (see the atom bomb)
play> Bob Marley: Get Up, Stand Up ‘if you know what life is worth… ‘ ..some of my favourite lyrics
play> Jefferson Airplane: White Rabbit (this is the psychedelic section!)
play> Beatles: Lucy in the sky with Diamonds
play> Bob Dylan: Mr Tambourine Man.’..then take me disappearin’ thru the smoke rings of my mind’
These additional pieces were used as their menus and elsewhere
play> Beatles: A Day in the Life ‘woke up, got out of bed, dragged a comb across my head….’
play> Brian Eno: Spider and I
play> Beatles: Hello Goodbye
play> Pink Floyd: See Emily Play
These are some shots in production or ideas that didnt make the final cut. The original idea was to have the actual lyrics alongside the artwork but we couldnt do that in the end for fear of copyright issues.
Perhaps the most unusual thing about the project was that i did all of this work while i was in Kathmandu. I was working there with a fair trade group to make rugs
when I was approached by the Gibson. In fact i originally proposed that we do the artworks as RUGS!! A huge thanks to the design team and Harry Crosbie, (he’s the developer behind the hotel as well as Vicar St
, The O2
and Grand Canal Theatre
, some of Dublins nicest venues) The team were very keen on the rugs, I explained about the work we were doing at NODE
and they were considering making the entire mural as a rug, the only thing that stopped it was the long production time (for 40sqm+ of hand knotting!!) Instead it was done as a digital laminate print
After we finished the job they have since bought 5 big rugs for the best rooms. They are in the penthouse room where the artists stay, this year including Bob Dylan, Roger Waters and Kylie Minogue (!) Pictured is Gibbo Pink from Aslan in the upstairs rooms
Thanks very much to tim at Neworld design
and also to harry crosbie, im very proud to be involved in this. Take a look at the Gibson site below, it really is a stunning hotel
A Bit Lost is launched in Spanish! It is published with the AMAZING editoria milrazones. Have a look at their books ‘Learning without Dogmas: Secular Education for Co-existence’ (great!!!) Im so proud to have owl published by them. They are keen to support the fair trade projects also. For every copy of ‘Un poco perdido’ sold we are donating a euro to a project to build a library in Colombia. Im really happy to have met them, they sounds GREAT! Hopefully we can do exciting work in future. This window is in Liberia Gil bookstore in Santander.
Check out Olivia and the Wild Thing wearing the t-shirts! 🙂 The owl rug can be found here
My fair trade carpets have finally arrived!
I did them as samples when i was in Nepal a few months back.
Take a look at the blogpost about making them here
If anyone would like to help stock them please get in touch
I have just set up a new website for these carpets
please take a look at
to view and order…
Through People Tree I was introduced to the really excellent Kumbeshwar Technical School
I posted about them a little earlier here
. Like Mahaguthi
they support and train lower caste women and also men. They also support a large school of 260 and an orphanage of 19 children. I have been having exhibitions of my digital illustration work from time to time, i have been converting the files to screens and screen printing them or simply printing them digitally.
I saw the opportunity to collaborate with KTS. They make these amazing natural hand-spun Tibetan wool carpets. The carpet making process is quite similar to the pixel make up of digital images so as many of my images are quite flat with few colours so I had the idea of producing some of my designs as carpets. Together with Satyendra and the design team we found a way to covert digital images directly to carpet graphs which will hopefully make the design process a little easier.
Im really excited about the possibilites with designing carpets though, could be great.
I have just set up a new website for these carpets
to view and order please take a look at
Technical training for the adults. KTS have a facility to produce knitware, carpets and also furniture, and they provide training to their workers
From their profits they also fund a school of 260…
…and an orphanage of 19 children
The first test grid i made digitally (i managed to mess up and specify C31 (beige) instead of C30 (black)…. Chris you idiot!!!!
it worked ok though!
some details in production
and some designs ……more to come
I will post more about this soon when the first batch of carpets comes through.
If you want to order or enquire about a carpet please mail me …..chris (at) vegetablefriedrice (dot) com
Chris Haughton was listed in Time magazine’s ‘DESIGN 100’ for the work he has been doing for fair trade clothing company People Tree. He has co-founded Node a fair trade company to create rugs in Nepal. He also writes children’s books ‘A Bit Lost’ is about a lost owl and ‘Oh No, George!’ about a bad dog.
What did you do?
Together with Akshay Sthapit I set up NODE a fair trade rug making project in Nepal last year. The aim is to connect designers with third world craftspeople, help people out of poverty and support their development projects and make some nice rugs at the same time.
Why did you set up this Initiative?
I had been working with fair trade for the past seven years in London, and i admired the development work that fair trade was doing and wanted to get more involved. I took 8 months off to visit India and Nepal and see if i could create something together directly with the producers. I travelled around to see what could be made in fair trade that would best use design together with craft. The main reason I set it up was to help out the development project, their crafts are of very high standard but the design is not at the same level and so it made sense to rope my designer friends into this too. As it turned out there were plenty of things that we could work on and this has develope
d into much larger projects than i had first envisioned.
What is your role in the network of makers, producers, sellers etc?
I noticed that there was an opportunity when I posted images of the rugs on my blog. People from all over the place emailed to enquire about buying them and as my blog is followed by many designers people also wanted to ask if they could design their own one. I spent a frustrating year unable to do anything as i didn’t have the facility to receive payment for customers and at the same time the complex bank charges/import duties and logistics made it prohibitive for other designers to order single rugs and have them shipped. I spoke about this to my nepalese friends and
Akshay who specialises in logistics and imports solved it.
I have hosted exhibitions to launch our rugs and got the Design Museum stocking us. We hope to connect more designers and do a large exhibition in the Design Museum London shop later in the year. I am trying to steer clear of organising as i am more of a designer and am currently looking for someone to ideally take over this role. Im very happy to oversee it and get paid for the work i have done to help it to work but i am not interested in making money from this project.
What do you think is the value for producers? for customers?
The makers are unskilled, mainly illiterate adults who are from the lowest caste in Nepalese society. working for Kumbeshwar and NODE provides them with a way out of their situation and provides enough work and free schooling so that they can afford to send their children to school. There is no social welfare in Nepal so the poor are in a very precarious position and this gives a way for themselves and their children to be educated. Profits generated support a school of 240 and an orphanage of 19.
For customers the chance of owning or creating unique traditional nepalese handwoven rugs with unique designs. We are working with some of the worlds best designers and illustrators and are creating some very unique and beautiful rug designs. The Design Museum in London has been stocking us and is keen to host future events. Nepalese carpet making is world famous and is of very high quality so it makes sense to have great designers work together with the craftspeople to make valuable lasting items.
How do you think the production / distribution networks that supply our cities might change in the next decade?
The way we have been consuming has been radically changing in the last few decades and our retailers have been growing longer arms and sourcing products and manufacturing further and further away and so our shopping experience is more and more mediated. Consumers need to react to these developments, the social and environmental effects of these changes are very big and need to be addressed. Interesting experiments include the peoples supermarket in london which runs like a co-operative, their stock is almost entirely fair trade or locally sourced with a lot of thought going into best practises. their workers are volunteers from the local community and work for a few hours a month to become a member. It is seeing some real success and a second branch now opening. Some of the the new economics foundation’s projects are excellent. There is also ‘fair tracing’ an academic project to use QR codes and other IT technology to better show the sourcing of produce at the point of sale sounds to me like it could have huge potential for really changing consumer habits, although as far as i am aware there has been (understandable!) resistance and it has been stalling. Any technology that can help the great transparency of the internet reach the shady supply chains of our supermarkets i think would be very exciting