From news journalist to award-winning textile designer, Jennifer Manners has always found inspiration through travel.
Originally from Kentucky, USA, her early career as a TV producer meant she travelled throughout the world exposing her heart and mind to new cultures and peoples.
Jennifer also discovered that much of what each culture embraced – and the story of their journey – was often expressed through their art. She collected hand-stitched textiles from Guatemala, hand-embroidered Kuba cloths from the Congo, handwoven carpets from Turkey, and intricately woven fabrics in China amongst other treasures throughout her travels. These pieces were expressions of a culture brought to life by the individual who crafted them thread-by-thread.
A LOVE OF DESIGN
When the pressures of 24-hour news fought and lost with motherhood, Jennifer acquiesced to her love of design and retrained as an interior designer attending Central St. Martins in London. She approached her design projects with the same passion for storytelling that had guided her news career: a home should reflect the people who live there and tell their story.
She also quickly realised how vital proportion was and fell in love with how stunning, handmade rugs are profoundly effective in setting a tone for a space. Her unswerving dedication to detail made it difficult for Jennifer to find rugs in the precise size, colour, scale and quality she wanted. It was then she set up meetings with the master weaver she had met in Kathmandu, and a new adventure began.
Jennifer now works in collaboration with some of the world’s most influential interior designers and architects creating truly individual pieces for each project. She also works directly with private clients, helping them to create their own unique piece, reflecting the heart and soul of a space.
These individuals all have a story to tell. One private client regaled the memory of buying a vintage Missoni coat in Italy while being courted by her now husband, enthusiastically expressing how her love of the colours – and her husband – have never faded. She then walked to the cupboard to reveal the coat and in an instant, they both knew the colour palette for the rug had been determined. Every piece we make has a story.
THE ADVENTURE CONTINUES
The collaboration doesn’t end with the design but rather comes to life through the artisanal process. Jennifer works alongside some of the most gifted artists and crafters in their fields in Nepal, India, Morocco and Uzbekistan ensuring that the design vision is met with the commitment to the detail that allows the piece to stand out as something truly special. The spirit of travel and the love of culture is imbued in every piece JMD Studio produces.
Using the finest hand-carded wools and silks in hand-knotted rugs allows for each piece to become even more beautiful with time. Perfection is found in the imperfections. Each rug is created knot-by-knot with no two knots exactly the same, charmingly individual and totally unique.
The journey of Jennifer Manners Design has led to the inception of one of the most distinctive design studios in the industry with a classic, crisp look and incomparable quality; but the story is far from over.
SUSTAINABILITY: THE FUTURE
JMD Studio strives to make a profound difference to the weavers, dyers, finishers and artisans on our team. In partnership with our manufacturers in Nepal and India, we have worked tirelessly to lift the communities where our textiles are produced. Beyond providing meaningful employment for hundreds of weavers and artisans, we also support initiatives that protect children from child labour and ensure their schooling is paid for with the supplies and uniforms they need. We also work with local charities in India who work to support women and children in vulnerable positions due to poverty and a lack of education.
JMD is also at the forefront of research for new working practices and materials as part of our dedication to sustainability and environmental consciousness. While wool is already considered one of the most sustainable products available, we actively source materials that ensure best working solutions for the environment and the people working with each individual piece. For more information on our social initiatives.