Photo by Shaun Simpson
My name is Michael Christie and I immigrated to Nova Scotia in the Winter of 2005 from the United States to be with my now husband/partner Nicholas Christie. Prior to my move I had worked in a retail and trade only environment selling rug and carpets for about a decade. With the move my career was forced to progress and I became a consultant to a major United States based rug company, choosing to live in Nova Scotia for lifestyle, as opposed to a more "logical" rug location such as Toronto. I consulted with them, and subsequently several other companies over the next several years until a chance meeting in the spring of 2008 finally provided me direction for my own rug company. With the question "Why don't you make rugs here?" I was prompted to begin exploring the idea that would become Red Spruce, and by the winter of 2008/2009 Red Spruce was incorporated and is in its early stages.
So, what is Red Spruce? We're a Nova Scotia-based company who makes handhooked rugs and carpets utilizing time honoured techniques developed in the Maritimes and American North East. All of our rugs are currently made by hand in Nova Scotia by highly skilled craft rug hookers, the majority of which are members of the Rug Hooking Guild of Nova Scotia. We sell locally through Argyle Fine Art and our Studio in Dartmouth, and starting in May 2010 our rugs and carpets will be available in the United States through New York City based Odegard. All of our unique designs are created by and licensed from local, Canadian, and American artists and designers, with the majority of our raw materials being sourced from North American manufacturers.
FLOCK by Anna Stowe (Photo by Angela Carlsen)
Red Spruce is quite unique in that we make a handmade (rug) product in North America, and we are among just a small handfull of companies that do as such. We contract out the hooking of our rugs to craft rug hookers who are primarily rural based women, who have been hooking with several years experience.
Our goal is to make truly authentic one of a kind rugs and carpets for upmarket and affinity clients the world over, and in doing so to help grow and preserve a local craft. Our primary focus is the export (from Nova Scotia) market, but that being said we have several Nova Scotian clients to date.
On top of all that and coming back to me, I also am a reasonably regarded authority on contemporary rug production and sales/service, authoring the widely read (in rug circles) blog "The Ruggist," am a contributing writer to the trade publication "Cover" and still dabble in consulting when it does not conflict with my own interests in Red Spruce and what I want to accomplish.
On a personal note, I live and work in Dartmouth at the Red Spruce Studio and we have a Cottage in rural New Brunswick near Hopewell Cape that will begin featuring artists retreats in 2011.