We Love to Collaborate

Our goal is to make rug design more accessible to emerging and established talent. At Totem we consider rugs to be 'maps of time' and we work to collaborate with like-minds from many disciplines, so the 'spirit of our time' can be captured in our contemporary rug collections. 

We specialize in bespoke rug design, however, we also collaborate with people in other creative fields including textile design, interior styling, installation art, graphic design and creative direction.

Read the following to learn more about the creative projects and collaborations we have directed since we launched in 2014. 




In collaboration with Liat aharoni, Marjorie Campbell & the lily Guild (2016)

On September 24th, 2016 our co-founders YVAN + ROBYN tied the knot at Hart House in Toronto Ontario. The wedding was a grand success and a beautiful example of how the founders of Totem Design Co. work together and collaborate with others.


The project began when the couple worked with Liat Aharoni on their engagement shoot. YVAN + ROBYN hand-crafted papier mache masks of their 'Totem Animals' and wore them during the creative shoot in High Park at sunrise. The masks were detailed in lace, feathers and hand-painted pieces of canvas.

YVAN + ROBYN at dawn wearing their Totem masks. Photo by Liat Aharoni, 2016

Photo by Liat Aharoni, 2016


Working with The Lily Guild, Totem Design Co. creative directed the flowers, bouquet, head-dress and boutonnieres for the event. Carefully selecting ribbon, feathers and inspirational reference images, Totem Design Co. shaped the floral vision for the day. Lily Guild's Dominika Salon successfully executed Totem's vision for the flowers in the most elegant way.

A gorgeous bouquet of crepe paper flowers, an air plant, succulent, dahlias, pheasant and peacock feathers.  Photo by Liat Aharoni, 2016

Photo taken by Liat Aharoni, 2016

Photo taken by Liat Aharoni, 2016

Photo taken by Liat Aharoni, 2016

Photo taken by Liat Aharoni, 2016

A Forest Installation as the altAr

Totem Design Co. teamed up with Marjorie Campbell and The Lily Guild to build an unforgettable forest installation as the altar. Marjorie Campbell created beautiful free-standing birch tree clusters with naked branches reaching over twelve feet high. The clusters surrounded Totem's handwoven Empire Rug which was the colourful heart of the altar and acted as the stage for the wedding. The Lily Guild tied everything together by installing live ferns, moss and taxidermy over top of the draped green fabric Totem Design Co. had tailored to disguise the cement bases of the trees. The overall effect was breathtaking in the large vaulted ceiling of the Debates Room at Hart House in The University of Toronto.


Totem Design Co. wanted to know every guest's Totem Animal and spent many hours drawing these special Totem Animal portraits for their guests. Over 80 animals were drawn, and it turned into an incredible personalized collection of artwork created by TDC's founders YVAN + ROBYN.



In collaboration with ATTIC GOLD (2016)

ATTIC is a bespoke jewelry design company based out of Guelph Ontario. Their beautiful contemporary take on jewelry design is a refreshing perspective, and they create absolutely stunning gold infused collections.

We were happy to reconnect with Susan Shaw, co-founder of ATTIC, on a chance meeting in Roncesvalles in Toronto. YVAN + ROBYN, co-founders of TOTEM, were looking for a jewelry designer to create a bespoke engagement ring, and conveniently enough Susan had just opened up her own amazing shop. 

After some meetings over coffee the two young companies enthusiastically decided to create a 'rug inspired by rings' in exchange for a 'ring inspired by rugs'. ATTIC is currently in the works of designing a one-of-a-kind engagement ring for YVAN + ROBYN, while TOTEM creates a rock inspired, gold silk embellished, hand-knotted Totem Rug for ATTIC's studio.



In Collaboration with bikini empire Swim Inc. (2016)

Bikini Empire Swim Inc. is a new bikini company based out of Gabriola Island in BC Canada. The owners of Bikini Empire, Kelsey and Monica Rush, have known Totem's co-founder, Robyn Waffle, for about twelve years. They all met when they were traveling through Australia where they learned how to surf together.

After years of separation the group re-aligned in the summer of 2014 when YVAN + ROBYN took a trip out to visit Kelsey and Monica at their gorgeous Cob House on Gabriola Island. Since their reunion the group has remained close, and in February 2016 they decided to join forces and collaborate on a print design for Bikini Empire's 2017 collection. Totem designed a gorgeous kilim pattern that will be released on Bikini Empire's bathing suits in January 2017. After designing the bikini print Totem applied a simplified version of it to a couple of their new Flat-weave pieces; The Empire Rug and The Empire Pillow.  



In collaboration with slash (2015)

We recently had the pleasure of meeting and working with SLASH from Guns & Roses. On a chance meeting our co-founder Robyn Waffle introduced herself and showed SLASH some of her past rug designs. He immediately showed interested and asked Robyn if she could produce one of his most coveted images in a hand-knotted rug. Robyn eagerly agreed and Totem Design Co. began designing and producing SLASH's one-of-kind Apocalyptic Love Rug. Due to the level of detail and figurative nature of the image, it took Robyn weeks to translate it into a weave-able design and our partners in Nepal almost one year to perfect the hand-knotted rug. The finished rug holds great power and impact in the quality and edgy nature of the design. SLASH came to Toronto one year later to meet with us again and retrieve his incredible rug. When we unrolled the luminous wool, silk and hemp rug for him, he exclaimed "I have never seen anything like this before!" It was a moment to remember.

The Apocalyptic Love rug will be displayed in SLASH's new recording studio in L.A. It is 5'x7' and hand-knotted in wool, bamboo silk and hemp. 



In collaboration with Dystil (2015)

In January 2015, Totem joined up with Toronto-based industrial design firm Dystil and put together a booth for Studio North at The Interior Design Show in Toronto. Collaborating with Miles Keller, founder of Dystil, Totem designed a 5'x5' hand-tufted rug of the Arctic's melting sea ice. The rug is a relief map of the levels and density of the ice from an aerial perspective. 

The Arctic Sea Ice Rug turned out beautifully and is a perfect example of Totem's goal of capturing 'the spirit of our time' within the medium. A piece suitable for the floor or as a wall-hanging the Arctic Sea Ice Rug is available as a limited edition of three handmade pieces.