Aleman/Moore’s Eclectic Sewn Straw Home Furnishings

How Two Makers Wove A Career, and a Life, Together in the Hudson Valley 

By   |     |  Makers

When Luis Aleman and Jeffrey Moore state that their fully functional and durable works of art evolved from an oversized hat brim, it’s a statement without hyperbole. Three decades ago, the pair met in the New York City workshop of Eric Javits (whose eponymous line is credited with reimagining the traditional straw hat for everyday use), where Aleman was working as a milliner when Moore joined the design team. While the creative duo ultimately combined forces and took their talents elsewhere, they did not leave the millinery empty handed—departing with a shared love of a single medium from which they have woven a business, and a life, together in the Hudson Valley.

“The sewn straw that we use is a natural wheat braid,” Moore says, in a nod to the compact and durable material—plaited by hand—from which he and Aleman craft the original sewn straw carpets (and now tables and stools) for which they are known. What began in the land of contract sewing of women’s hats took a serendipitous turn when Aleman, in a bit of a light-hearted ruse, covered a flea market find with sewn straw and placed a rug beneath it to resemble a coffee table “hat”—fashioning an entirely new product line in the process.

Bundles of the wheat braid sewn straw that is the basis of Aleman/Moore creations.

“Things grew from there,” says Moore recalling their first space, a tiny basement shop on 18th Street in Chelsea, where the pair kept company with the building’s boiler. Their next stop was a factory building in Greenpoint (before the now trendy locale was on the proverbial map), where they spent five years until rent skyrocketed and they were encouraged—by creative visionary and interior designer Sheila Bridges—to explore the Hudson Valley.

“We were the early pioneers of where to go,” jokes Moore of being several steps ahead of the hottest location trends, as evidenced by their arriving in the Columbia County hamlet of Stottville after finding a huge house turned restaurant boasting “all the space we needed for our studio living,” Moore says of the tremendous real estate find. In the ensuing years, it’s been (bustling) business as usual.

Aleman/Moore’s Field of Life sewn wheat straw-braid rug is available in a variety of colors.

Each of Aleman/Moore’s eclectic straw carpets is individually hand-sewn in New York of 100-percent natural straw braid and hand-dyed to order. “Everything is boiled on the stove in a pot, which is how we get the wheat to absorb the dye,” Moore says of a process that can take anywhere from 10 minutes to in excess of an hour. Among their 20 standard shades, the most popular easily are marina blue and grass green (plus a strong showing from natural), all of which can be fully customized by combining various patterns, shapes, and sizes to achieve the wildest of client carpet desires. Each of their six limited-edition hues is achieved by bleaching the natural pigment from the straw—which simultaneously strips the raw material of its ability to withstand heavy wear and tear—making these colors (which trend toward the pastel palette) more suitable for donning stools and tables than lying underfoot. (Carpets run $68 to $210 per square foot; stools, side tables, and poofs range in price from $1,800 to $3,400.)

In anticipation of summer (and with all due respect to lovers of outdoor living), Moore underscores an important point of clarification: The entire line of eclectic home furnishings from Aleman/Moore is designed for interior use only (even after being sealed against most stains with a water-based, eco- and Earth-friendly, low VOC coating).

U-pouf stool

“Natural fibers grow mold when exposed to moisture,” he explains, adding that each of their distinctive and colorful creations is steamed and pressed to keep their shape, which, unlike synthetic polypropylene, will become altered when exposed to the elements. As beautiful as they are ingeniously crafted, the Aleman/Moore line of bespoke home furnishings is an aesthetically pleasing way to infuse your space with functional works of art. 

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