‘Curious, odd, strange’; to be ‘rum’ is all these attributes and more. Londoners Caroline Lindsell and Dylan O’Shea are the rum couple who founded the company. Inspiration for their woven, hand-knotted and tufted rugs and Guatemalan handwoven art and artisan fabrics by the metre hinges on travel, a word which tacks back to ‘rum’. Rum once meant ‘to roam’ and to explore, while ‘Rum-ville’ once described the ‘good and fine’ city of London. Gather these definitions together and they describe the company’s quintessential and unique qualities.
During the COVID-19 lockdown Lindsell and O’Shea were armchair travellers. When restrictions eased they became explorers whose peripatetic travels included London’s Epping Forest. They revelled in ‘spending time amongst trees’, says Lindsell, which had a ‘profound [positive] effect on our mental wellbeing as well as informing one of our new designs’—the forest-inspired Komorebi rug from the Ladrillo collection.
The Ladrillo collection explores the relationship between texture layered with colour. The collection’s initial designs are Komorebi, Ladrillo and Yuvarii. Komorebi is inspired by and named after the Japanese word that describes the beauty of sunlight scattered through trees. Available as a New Zealand wool flatweave or hand-knotted rug in five colourways—Forest, Quartz, Tulip, Dusk, Ochre—Komorebi captures seasonal light on forest floors. Yuvari’s naturalistic design draws its inspiration from naïve shapes and blended colours and is a handwoven flatweave in New Zealand wool. Ladrillo (the Spanish word for ‘brick’) looks like an interpretation of the bricklaying pattern known as ‘basketweave’. It combines environmentally friendly jute fibre with pops of colourful New Zealand wool. Rugs are available in standard and bespoke sizes in multiple colourways. Made in India, they are Goodweave certified.
A Rum Fellow’s calling card is innovative ideas (a ‘rum’ point of view) merged with high standards of ethical production expressed through time-honoured weaving skills. Their ‘roaming’ is global and includes working with weavers in Guatemala who use traditional Maya backstrap looms to weave contemporary artworks and fabric by the metre designed by Lindsell. Whether working with weavers in Guatemala, Indian artisans or printers who use wood block, screen printing or etched rotary printing techniques, A Rum Fellow reimagines artisan weaving and craft for a growing global clientele.