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RETORRA REVOLUTION A sk Ryan Reitmeyer what sets his rug company apart from the rest, and he sums it up in one word: experimentation. His Houston-based company Retorra continually pushes the boundaries of innovation with unusual yarns, weaving techniques, designs, and colors. While Retorra's rugs are hand-woven in Nepal and India, Reitmeyer is hands-on with design and research. His creations are often unconventionally beautiful: He once designed a rug depicting mold spores as seen through a microscope, and another, which had holes, was based on a hurricane fence. He's a weaver himself, having studied textile design at the Danish Design School in Copenhagen. He also has a master's degree in the history of decorative arts from the Bard Graduate Center in New York. He named his company Retorra, he explains, because it's Latin for "yarn." Reitmeyer is readying his line to debut in Dallas in January at Culp Associates, which will feature his unusual new Juniper weave developed during a pre-pandemic trip to Nepal. The weave was inspired by a 1960s Polish tapestry he owns, which incorporates a fascinating mix of vintage weaving techniques. Layered and textural, the weave is perfect for creating subtle monochromatic designs, he says. While in Nepal, he also developed a sumptuous new Knit weave, which will be available later in 2021. Knit is based on needlework techniques such as crochet and made with soft Himalayan wool and natural sunpat fibers harvested wild in the Himalayan Valley. "It doesn't look like anything else out there and gives the effect of walking on a beautiful sweater," he says. Meanwhile, Reitmeyer continues to innovate: During lockdown, he built a semi-autonomous flat-weaving loom in his garage and has been working with engineers in California — who also happen to be weavers — to build a production model that can be replicated. While Retorra will continue to sell handmade rugs from Nepal and elsewhere, he'll use the automated loom to produce a new collection of rugs at his own Houston factory in late 2021. The new looms will revolutionize the way fine rugs are made and possibly make us rethink the definition o f " h a n d m a d e . " R e i t m e y e r 's loom is revolutionary because it precisely replicates the steps and gentle tension of handweaving, producing the look and feel of BY REBECCA SHERMAN HOW DID YOU SPEND 2020? RYAN REITMEYER OF RETORRA RUGS SPENT LOCKDOWN BUILDING A LOOM THAT COULD REVOLUTIONIZE THE WAY FINE RUGS ARE MADE, AND READYING HIS COLLECTION TO DEBUT IN DALLAS. Retorra rugs with a variety of textures, patterns, and weaves including flat weaving and knotted pile. Yarn pom-pom samples in proprietary colors. 42

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