Monologue

Possibilities | Monologue

This is the reflection I’ve been having since the podcast. Add in a completely rational fear of the state of geo-politics as well as as the uncertainty of the pandemic, and forgive me for being overwhelmed. Writing about rugs and carpets in the boisterous and rambunctious media platforms that are in aggregate called ‘social media’ has become almost paradoxical and at times seemingly anachronistic, almost quaint. Most certainly not a necessity – whatever your situation permits you to perceive that to be. It has – unfortunately for me – lost its charm. …

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In the Details | Monologue

At the same time, these very details, while critical and integral to the nature of say perhaps a handknotted rug or carpet can, if exposed in a manner uncouth, present the attune and woke consumer with a quandary. How does one reconcile the true detailed nature of the exploitive practices of all manner of handwork against emerging modern day sensibilities of human worth, self-expression, and as it should always and forever be, the value of human labour – upon which countless civilisations have risen and fallen.

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Commercial Value | Monologue

‘Limited commercial value…’ is a phrase one will undoubtably read or overhear if one is to spend any amount of time dealing within the antique and collectable segment of the rug and carpet trade. Its use, seemingly at once condescending and pompous, is oft part of a compliment sandwich akin to: ‘It’s a beautiful example of [BLANK], of limited commercial value, but serviceable and hard wearing. Keep it if you love it!’ The question I now ask somewhat rhetorically of these learned aficionados of past glories is thus: ‘What, exactly, gives any old, worn, antique, vintage, or to be fully encompassing, extant rug or carpet its ‘commercial value?’

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Ephemeral Modernity | Monologue

To embrace modern design and all which it entails is to place oneself at the uneasy crux betwixt the past and the future; only by first examining thoroughly what has been done before prior to folding in the techniques, materials, and technology of today can the modernist craft something in tune with the requirements of this era. By discarding faux notions of aesthetics defined as traditional, modern, contemporary, or the most lazy minded transitional, et alia the modernist designs and crafts for the needs and wants of today.

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Tapisserie Ras El Hanout, the Ras el Hanout Tapestry designed by Pierre Marie, made by Manufacture Robert Four in Aubusson, France. | Photograph courtesy of Pierre Marie.

Ras El Hanout | Pierre Marie

Pierre Marie was born in Nogent-Sur-Marne and as the child of ‘slightly hippie parents’ experienced a happy childhood filled with a passion for Disney animated films and ’an early enduring attraction to colour.’ Now as an accomplished designer in his early late thirties, he has prestigious collaborations with French brands such as Hermes and dyptique within his portfolio, or perhaps more accurately, oeuvre. He sees himself as an ‘artist-ornamentalist,’ that is it say, as Pierre Marie does, he is ‘Someone that has the talent and the knowledge to decorate any surface with a story, a pattern, a frieze. I would just say that some media are more hungry for drawing than others. And textile is definitely one of them.’

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Even before the onset of this pandemic I had been having misgivings about the rug and carpet industry. Now well entrenched in said pandemic, I ponder the scope of the nascent economic and geopolitical crisis that will come to define a generation; and moreover, how is it that handknotted rugs and carpets will fit into this new paradigm? I know (k)not the answer(s) but I know there is a better way than foolishly grasping at a dying era in hopes of a return to what was. History moves only forward and is, as is said, written by the victors though I prefer the word survivors in its stead. For the next era of rugs and carpets we must be prepared to forego those products that harm the earth and unfortunately for much of the rug trade this excludes anything that cannot be and is not recycled. Period. It also precludes exploitive labour practices, exorbitant markups, protectionist business practices, and a litany of other concerns that have long plagued society, not just rugs and carpets. If a rug or carpet is truly a luxury, is truly recherché, is truly art and craft then we must rid ourselves of the pervasive mindset well summarised by this sentence written to me by a United States based rug importer: ‘I am confident that it will do quite well at the price of [REDACTED] we are offering, leaving huge mark up for retailers.’ *sigh Onward to a better new normal, not just some cloy sentiment masquerading as genuine change. The Ruggist will return, but until then feel free to email, message, or call; I welcome a genuine interaction with you. #rugs #carpets #fortheloveofcarpets #sabbatical #genchigenbutsu #neweranewme #excelsior #introspection

Even before the onset of this pandemic I had been having misgivings about the rug and carpet industry. Now well entrenched in said pandemic, I ponder the scope of the nascent economic and geopolitical crisis that will come to define a generation; and moreover, how is it that handknotted rugs and carpets will fit into this new paradigm? I know (k)not the answer(s) but I know there is a better way than foolishly grasping at a dying era in hopes of a return to what was. History moves only forward and is, as is said, written by the victors though I prefer the word survivors in its stead. For the next era of rugs and carpets we must be prepared to forego those products that harm the earth and unfortunately for much of the rug trade this excludes anything that cannot be and is not recycled. Period. It also precludes exploitive labour practices, exorbitant markups, protectionist business practices, and a litany of other concerns that have long plagued society, not just rugs and carpets. If a rug or carpet is truly a luxury, is truly recherché, is truly art and craft then we must rid ourselves of the pervasive mindset well summarised by this sentence written to me by a United States based rug importer: ‘I am confident that it will do quite well at the price of [REDACTED] we are offering, leaving huge mark up for retailers.’ *sigh Onward to a better new normal, not just some cloy sentiment masquerading as genuine change. The Ruggist will return, but until then feel free to email, message, or call; I welcome a genuine interaction with you. #rugs #carpets #fortheloveofcarpets #sabbatical #genchigenbutsu #neweranewme #excelsior #introspection ...

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‘If we begin at once to break the bonds which bind us to nature, and devote ourselves purely to combination of pure colour and abstract form, we shall produce works which are mere decoration, which are suited to neckties or carpets,’ wrote Wassily Kandinsky before continuing a short while later. ‘It must not be thought that pure decoration is lifeless. It has its inner being, but one which is either incomprehensible to us or seems mere illogical confusion.

So is the fault in illogically designed and crafted rugs and carpets or is it with the viewer who fails to comprehend the inner being of the decorative arts? If experience has taught me anything, it is both although given this particular era I’m leaning toward a glut of illogical. Let us do better for ourselves, each other, and the earth. Enough with the superfluous. #rugs #carpets #fortheloveofcarpets #design #superfluous #illogicaldesign #wool #tufted #handmade #authenticity #authentic #colour #color #rethinktherug Is it #worthwalkingon ? #tuesdaythoughts #newyearnewme

‘If we begin at once to break the bonds which bind us to nature, and devote ourselves purely to combination of pure colour and abstract form, we shall produce works which are mere decoration, which are suited to neckties or carpets,’ wrote Wassily Kandinsky before continuing a short while later. ‘It must not be thought that pure decoration is lifeless. It has its inner being, but one which is either incomprehensible to us or seems mere illogical confusion.

So is the fault in illogically designed and crafted rugs and carpets or is it with the viewer who fails to comprehend the inner being of the decorative arts? If experience has taught me anything, it is both although given this particular era I’m leaning toward a glut of illogical. Let us do better for ourselves, each other, and the earth. Enough with the superfluous. #rugs #carpets #fortheloveofcarpets #design #superfluous #illogicaldesign #wool #tufted #handmade #authenticity #authentic #colour #color #rethinktherug Is it #worthwalkingon ? #tuesdaythoughts #newyearnewme
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I recently said the requirements of this era demand ‘…new concepts of wealth, and new ideas about aesthetics and luxury,’ and gauging from a heated conversation initiated by an internet troll whose only rhetorical skills involved using the various ‘-isms’ of the world - socialism, communism, et alia - as pejoratives, I feel as though there is perhaps need to clarify and expound. In short, we - as civilization - must rethink our antiquated notions of luxury, bringing into sharp focus, as the technology of this time allows, the reality of the rugs and carpets under our feet.

Only by acknowledging that any rug or carpet, from the most mediocre moquette replete with banal corporate aesthetics to the most recherché handknotted tapis d’artiste crafted in exotic lands, is in fact a luxury underfoot can we even begin the discussion. While I do wish we all lived in the esoteric world of the latter, it is the former that brings luxury to the masses of civilization, a necessary and required equalization of comfort at accessible-to-many pricepoints, even if the aesthetics are not as refined as ‘we’ might wish. But then again, who are we to judge the subjective matters of taste? Regardless we must from this point, judge harshly any product which is not produced or crafted in harmony with humanity and the environment. ‘If it can’t be reduced, reused, repaired, rebuilt, refurbished, refinished, resold, recycled or composted, then it should be restricted, redesigned or removed from production,’ as activist Pete Seeger once said. Only when we equate indulgence with respect for others and our mother planet, can we truly appreciate and luxuriate with what we can have, and what we can leave for successive generations.

As the fanciful appreciation of craft and handwork ebbs and flows with the currents of economics, history, and taste, we, as both civilization and those of us who work, design, and toil in carpetry, must create and accept new models for our craft so that everyone benefits. That my friends, is de luxe. #rugs #carpets #fortheloveofcarpets #deluxe #livableluxury #design #art #craft #carpetry #interiordesign #rethinktherug #oldhabitsdiehard #21stcenturyliving #selfeet

I recently said the requirements of this era demand ‘…new concepts of wealth, and new ideas about aesthetics and luxury,’ and gauging from a heated conversation initiated by an internet troll whose only rhetorical skills involved using the various ‘-isms’ of the world - socialism, communism, et alia - as pejoratives, I feel as though there is perhaps need to clarify and expound. In short, we - as civilization - must rethink our antiquated notions of luxury, bringing into sharp focus, as the technology of this time allows, the reality of the rugs and carpets under our feet.

Only by acknowledging that any rug or carpet, from the most mediocre moquette replete with banal corporate aesthetics to the most recherché handknotted tapis d’artiste crafted in exotic lands, is in fact a luxury underfoot can we even begin the discussion. While I do wish we all lived in the esoteric world of the latter, it is the former that brings luxury to the masses of civilization, a necessary and required equalization of comfort at accessible-to-many pricepoints, even if the aesthetics are not as refined as ‘we’ might wish. But then again, who are we to judge the subjective matters of taste? Regardless we must from this point, judge harshly any product which is not produced or crafted in harmony with humanity and the environment. ‘If it can’t be reduced, reused, repaired, rebuilt, refurbished, refinished, resold, recycled or composted, then it should be restricted, redesigned or removed from production,’ as activist Pete Seeger once said. Only when we equate indulgence with respect for others and our mother planet, can we truly appreciate and luxuriate with what we can have, and what we can leave for successive generations.

As the fanciful appreciation of craft and handwork ebbs and flows with the currents of economics, history, and taste, we, as both civilization and those of us who work, design, and toil in carpetry, must create and accept new models for our craft so that everyone benefits. That my friends, is de luxe. #rugs #carpets #fortheloveofcarpets #deluxe #livableluxury #design #art #craft #carpetry #interiordesign #rethinktherug #oldhabitsdiehard #21stcenturyliving #selfeet
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It’s a check, plain and simple; or is it... ...simple? With its delightful colouration, this interpretation of a classic motif brings together myriad cultures, techniques, and materials into beautiful form. Called ‘Shomick’ by @odegardcarpets when the firm first introduced their version of the design to Western eyes, the checkerboard is a motif well known not only within Tibetan weaving communities from which the design was then ‘adapted,’ but also the world over; in short, it’s ubiquitous. ‘Shomick’ was made in 100 knot Tibetan weave in Nepal of Himalayan Highland Sheep’s Wool, whereas in this iteration made under the auspices of Odegard by my former firm of ‘red spruce,’ the design is replicated utilising traditional North American rug hooking techniques. Felted wool fabric made from North American wool on a linen foundation; the hand and handle are dreamlike and unparalleled in the world of rugs and carpets. Of course, the design - such that it is - being so commonplace has certain drawbacks. Namely that owing to its pervasive and universal nature anyone can make a check/checkerboard regardless of colouration (colour is not governed by copyright), with perhaps the only real difference being cultures, techniques, and materials. It’s as though the physical item, the extant objet de métier has more intrinsic value than simply the design itself. Imagine that for once; valuing the craftsperson instead of, or more appropriately, on par with the designer. Both are required but we as consumers oft ignore the reality that craftspeople make. What do you make? I’m still sorting that out for myself... . #rugs #carpets #design #check #checkerboard #fortheloveofcarpets #decor #designer #hooked #hookedrug #colour #color #metier #nepal #copyright #copyrightfree #classic #charming #kathmandu #makersmovement #makersmake #makersmark #bringbackcraft

It’s a check, plain and simple; or is it... ...simple? With its delightful colouration, this interpretation of a classic motif brings together myriad cultures, techniques, and materials into beautiful form. Called ‘Shomick’ by @odegardcarpets when the firm first introduced their version of the design to Western eyes, the checkerboard is a motif well known not only within Tibetan weaving communities from which the design was then ‘adapted,’ but also the world over; in short, it’s ubiquitous. ‘Shomick’ was made in 100 knot Tibetan weave in Nepal of Himalayan Highland Sheep’s Wool, whereas in this iteration made under the auspices of Odegard by my former firm of ‘red spruce,’ the design is replicated utilising traditional North American rug hooking techniques. Felted wool fabric made from North American wool on a linen foundation; the hand and handle are dreamlike and unparalleled in the world of rugs and carpets. Of course, the design - such that it is - being so commonplace has certain drawbacks. Namely that owing to its pervasive and universal nature anyone can make a check/checkerboard regardless of colouration (colour is not governed by copyright), with perhaps the only real difference being cultures, techniques, and materials. It’s as though the physical item, the extant objet de métier has more intrinsic value than simply the design itself. Imagine that for once; valuing the craftsperson instead of, or more appropriately, on par with the designer. Both are required but we as consumers oft ignore the reality that craftspeople make. What do you make? I’m still sorting that out for myself... . #rugs #carpets #design #check #checkerboard #fortheloveofcarpets #decor #designer #hooked #hookedrug #colour #color #metier #nepal #copyright #copyrightfree #classic #charming #kathmandu #makersmovement #makersmake #makersmark #bringbackcraft ...

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#blackouttuesday

#blackouttuesday ...

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I’m not a member of some dynastic rug making family, nor have my kin been involved in the trade for generations. I’m simply a man who due to the confluence of fate and circumstance found himself so very fortunate to have been introduced to Nepali-Tibetan weaving during the commercial ascension of the craft during the last fin de siècle. My career, such that it is, has thus far been propelled by that introduction and subsequent events; all built upon the labour of others. As fate is once again conspiring to introduce new paradigms, I genuinely wonder, ‘Is this now (k)not the time to truly #rethinktherug ?,’ as my friend and colleague Lucy Upward of @_cover_magazine_ has extolled in said publication. But perhaps the rug itself is not the problem in need of rethinking, rather the entire supply chain from raw material to final consumer, including of course the media - of which I am a part - supported by said industry. As the veneer of civilisation, equity, and fairness has been removed by these times I think it fair to open the entire industry, myself again included, to scrutiny and rethinking so that the future of rugs and carpets is brighter for all involved, particularly those who labour to craft the so-called luxury underfoot we so extol. Let us go forth and do better. #rugs #carpets #fortheloveofcarpets #colour #color #nepal #kathmandu #ncmea #handknotted #wool #genchigenbutsu #design #livableluxury #rethinkitall #innovate #labourer #design #weaving #amateur

I’m not a member of some dynastic rug making family, nor have my kin been involved in the trade for generations. I’m simply a man who due to the confluence of fate and circumstance found himself so very fortunate to have been introduced to Nepali-Tibetan weaving during the commercial ascension of the craft during the last fin de siècle. My career, such that it is, has thus far been propelled by that introduction and subsequent events; all built upon the labour of others. As fate is once again conspiring to introduce new paradigms, I genuinely wonder, ‘Is this now (k)not the time to truly #rethinktherug ?,’ as my friend and colleague Lucy Upward of @_cover_magazine_ has extolled in said publication. But perhaps the rug itself is not the problem in need of rethinking, rather the entire supply chain from raw material to final consumer, including of course the media - of which I am a part - supported by said industry. As the veneer of civilisation, equity, and fairness has been removed by these times I think it fair to open the entire industry, myself again included, to scrutiny and rethinking so that the future of rugs and carpets is brighter for all involved, particularly those who labour to craft the so-called luxury underfoot we so extol. Let us go forth and do better. #rugs #carpets #fortheloveofcarpets #colour #color #nepal #kathmandu #ncmea #handknotted #wool #genchigenbutsu #design #livableluxury #rethinkitall #innovate #labourer #design #weaving #amateur ...

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‘Allegory of Solidarity’ (2020) - Mixed media: Tibetan wool, Chinese silk, wood.

An examination of this moment and of the history of civilization reveals the enormous strength of working in unity, in concert, in solidarity with one another. Just as a novel pandemic causing virus cannot spread if we act in unity through resolve, social distancing, quarantine, and the like, so too is it difficult or impossible for the individual to go against the masses if the latter acts in solidarity with one another against the former. This is the core message of ‘International Workers’ Day,’ that through unity in action and intent humans can accomplish the profound and paradigm shifting. Unfortunately the past century has once again revealed that greed, corruption, and selfish desires for unlimited worldly riches likewise conspire in unity against workers. It’s a classic hard fought battle between the interests of the few, herein likened to viruses, and the many, likewise akin to citizenry and workers. As our indomitable human spirit seems intent on overcoming this SARS-CoV-2 virus, I wonder if the same resolve will follow in other aspects of human existence. Time will tell. In unity on this ‘International Workers’ Day,’ be well, be safe, be informed. #rugs #carpets #solidarity #internationalworkersday #mayday #design #themoreyouknow🌈 #fortheloveofcarpets #moralobligation #paradigmshift #criticalthinking #tableauxdepompoms #handwork #workersmaketheworldgoround #essentialworkers #rethinktherug #mayday2020

‘Allegory of Solidarity’ (2020) - Mixed media: Tibetan wool, Chinese silk, wood.

An examination of this moment and of the history of civilization reveals the enormous strength of working in unity, in concert, in solidarity with one another. Just as a novel pandemic causing virus cannot spread if we act in unity through resolve, social distancing, quarantine, and the like, so too is it difficult or impossible for the individual to go against the masses if the latter acts in solidarity with one another against the former. This is the core message of ‘International Workers’ Day,’ that through unity in action and intent humans can accomplish the profound and paradigm shifting. Unfortunately the past century has once again revealed that greed, corruption, and selfish desires for unlimited worldly riches likewise conspire in unity against workers. It’s a classic hard fought battle between the interests of the few, herein likened to viruses, and the many, likewise akin to citizenry and workers. As our indomitable human spirit seems intent on overcoming this SARS-CoV-2 virus, I wonder if the same resolve will follow in other aspects of human existence. Time will tell. In unity on this ‘International Workers’ Day,’ be well, be safe, be informed. #rugs #carpets #solidarity #internationalworkersday #mayday #design #themoreyouknow🌈 #fortheloveofcarpets #moralobligation #paradigmshift #criticalthinking #tableauxdepompoms #handwork #workersmaketheworldgoround #essentialworkers #rethinktherug #mayday2020
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Recently I had the pleasure of participating in a conference organized by the @kabulcarpetexportcenter . Invited to speak by my friend and colleague Rob Leahy, I was excited, if not also trepidatious, about sharing my thoughts - in somewhat vague terms - about what the industry, such that it remains as a cohesive group, needs to do in order to adapt; several comments by other presenters as well as a few general observations now seem sharply in focus. An executive summary if you will follows:

Supply chain disruptions are quite problematic. Freight costs, if freight can even be arranged, are currently quite high.

Rug importers are looking toward Afghan rug making because labour conditions there are favourable. Read: Lower price. Cost on the other hand... .

A sentiment I expressed during my ‘Showroom of the Future’ presentation at @domotex_hannover this past January, that we must adapt technology to the industry not adapt the industry to technology was echoed by several people. This! After years of pretending the future does not arrive everyday. 

Covid has fostered a huge nesting instinct and the urge for safety and the known. This has lead to a popularity surge in classical Persian designs. However, this is not, despite what some might think, due to their endearing value. It is because for generations now that is what defined an oriental rug; it’s familiarity and nothing more - except perhaps a glut of extant supply as Leslie Stroh of @rugnewsanddesign pointed out. 

Many people seem more concerned with convincing others they are experts as opposed to just being an expert. 

@therugshow has no substantive plan. When prompted to speak about plans for the show by the astute Tim Steinert of @carpet_magazine , Jack Simantob provided a rambling statement that is best described as a ‘non-answer.’

Guarav Sharma of @obeetee quite rightly asks ‘What is a floorcovering?’ as the industry must face the reality that we’re in a period of great disruption.

You still need the hand - to make, to feel, to do otherwise - in handknotted. #rugs #carpets #design #modernity #zoom #handknotted #fortheloveofcarpets #wool #colour #color #genchigenbutsu #themoreyouknow🌈

Recently I had the pleasure of participating in a conference organized by the @kabulcarpetexportcenter . Invited to speak by my friend and colleague Rob Leahy, I was excited, if not also trepidatious, about sharing my thoughts - in somewhat vague terms - about what the industry, such that it remains as a cohesive group, needs to do in order to adapt; several comments by other presenters as well as a few general observations now seem sharply in focus. An executive summary if you will follows:

Supply chain disruptions are quite problematic. Freight costs, if freight can even be arranged, are currently quite high.

Rug importers are looking toward Afghan rug making because labour conditions there are favourable. Read: Lower price. Cost on the other hand... .

A sentiment I expressed during my ‘Showroom of the Future’ presentation at @domotex_hannover this past January, that we must adapt technology to the industry not adapt the industry to technology was echoed by several people. This! After years of pretending the future does not arrive everyday.

Covid has fostered a huge nesting instinct and the urge for safety and the known. This has lead to a popularity surge in classical Persian designs. However, this is not, despite what some might think, due to their endearing value. It is because for generations now that is what defined an oriental rug; it’s familiarity and nothing more - except perhaps a glut of extant supply as Leslie Stroh of @rugnewsanddesign pointed out.

Many people seem more concerned with convincing others they are experts as opposed to just being an expert.

@therugshow has no substantive plan. When prompted to speak about plans for the show by the astute Tim Steinert of @carpet_magazine , Jack Simantob provided a rambling statement that is best described as a ‘non-answer.’

Guarav Sharma of @obeetee quite rightly asks ‘What is a floorcovering?’ as the industry must face the reality that we’re in a period of great disruption.

You still need the hand - to make, to feel, to do otherwise - in handknotted. #rugs #carpets #design #modernity #zoom #handknotted #fortheloveofcarpets #wool #colour #color #genchigenbutsu #themoreyouknow🌈
...

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‘Blaze It’ (2020) - Mixed media: Tibetan wool, Chinese silk, cardboard, plastic, paper, ink, metal, lighter fluid.

I know April seems as though it has been the longest year in recent memory so as 4/20 comes to a close let us relax, reflect, and celebrate with a little bit of Government of Canada sanctioned and sold recreational canna..., err... umm... hmmm... I mean colour matching poms. Yes! That’s it. ‘Colour matching poms.’ 😳🙄🤫 Enjoy! #tableauxdepompoms #rugs #carpets #april2020 #fortheloveofcarpets #design #colour #color #creativity #imagination #thinkoutsidethebox #wool #silk #newtimenewbeginnings #legal #ilovecanada🇨🇦

‘Blaze It’ (2020) - Mixed media: Tibetan wool, Chinese silk, cardboard, plastic, paper, ink, metal, lighter fluid.

I know April seems as though it has been the longest year in recent memory so as 4/20 comes to a close let us relax, reflect, and celebrate with a little bit of Government of Canada sanctioned and sold recreational canna..., err... umm... hmmm... I mean colour matching poms. Yes! That’s it. ‘Colour matching poms.’ 😳🙄🤫 Enjoy! #tableauxdepompoms #rugs #carpets #april2020 #fortheloveofcarpets #design #colour #color #creativity #imagination #thinkoutsidethebox #wool #silk #newtimenewbeginnings #legal #ilovecanada🇨🇦
...

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Shibori Style | An Exploration

From Nathan Tucker of Lapchi’s Rug Design Studio in Chicago, Illinois: ‘I guess when it comes to reïnterpreting a certain medium or artistry into handknotted carpets, there’s always going to be a challenge, depending on how close of an analogue to the original inspiration you’re trying to achieve. In shibori’s case, the general patterning is something that’s pretty easy to recreate with a graphed knot. Specifically, the itajime technique of shibori is something you see a lot of; the more geometric style of block/resist dying.’

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Brave Conversations | Over Coffee

It began innocently enough as I was preparing in May of 2018 to travel to Portland, Oregon to observe and document the making of ‘Intimacy Portland,’ a joint project between Christiane Millinger Handmade Rugs and Rug Star by Jürgen Dahlmanns. I was conducting field research for the article and eventual presentation ‘Inside Intimacy Portland’ for Rug Insider Magazine and – as one did in 2018 and still does in 2020 – I was browsing the titles available for download on Netflix; plane travel after all can be notoriously monotonous. One documentary quickly caught my attention: ‘Coffee for All,’ or ‘Caffè Sospeso’ as originally titled. I downloaded it partially out of sincere interest, partially out of the serendipitous nature of traveling to a renown coffee mecca: Portland, Oregon. The short film proved to be the entrée which has refocused my life.

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Fruition | Handknotted Nylon Part 5 of 5

To explore the creation of a new product is to take a step away from what has been into the unknown, the perhaps unfathomable, the hitherto unrealized. It requires a degree of modernism and a progressive mindset insomuch that conservatism simply tends to favour the status quo. With that comes a degree of irony associated with rug makers of today who while immediately embracing the aesthetics du jour, also favour steadfast traditional techniques even at the expense of efficacy and efficiency, socio-economic concerns, and as is relevant to ‘Nylon Engulfed’ the prototype handknotted carpet made of ECONYL® regenerated nylon, contemporary environmental and climatological concerns.

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The Handmade Carpet | A Review

The nearly three-hundred pages of text and imagery of ‘The Handmade Carpet’ contain a wealth of knowledge accumulated over the long and storied careers of the authors Fritz Langauer and Ernst A. Swietly. The assertive authors undoubtably put forth superior and exhaustive efforts in compiling what amounts to multiple lifetimes of experience, information, expertise, commentary, and so forth as they attempt to explain, as the subtitle of the tome – ‘A Comprehensive Guide to Contemporary Rugs’ – purports, contemporary rugs and carpets. In the final analysis however, it must be stated that while the volumn is indeed comprehensive in regard to certain aspects of contemporary carpetry, it likewise lacks in its treatment of contemporary as the word has come to be employed in the colloquial of today.

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Domotex Hannover 2019 Complimentary / Free Admission | The Ruggist

With Compliments! | Domotex

For most people in the Northern Hemisphere the arrival of January signals Winter’s grasp has firmly taken hold, yet for itinerant rug and carpet buyers eager to spot the latest trends, find an antique gem in the rough, or explore the innovations which will drive the future of rugs and flooring, January can mean only one thing: Domotex. Billed by the organizers as ‘The World of Flooring’ the original fair in Hannover, Germany as well as the complementary regional shows including Domotex Turkey in Gaziantep, Turkey, Domotex Asia/ChinaFloor in Shanghai, China, and the soon to be inaugurated Domotex USA in Atlanta, United States, certainly live up to, if not exceed, this moniker. The January 2019 fair in Hannover will host over 1,600 exhibitors who will – assuming past trends hold – attract approximately 45,000 buyers representing in total over 100 countries from around the world. In short, it’s big, it’s important, and if you are serious about rugs and carpets, it’s a must attend. The Ruggist will be there for the duration of Domotex 2019 which runs Friday, 11 January through Monday, 14 January, 2019.

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Born in the Purple - Viron Erol Vert - Art Carpets - The Ruggist

Born in the Purple | Viron Vert

Like many topics related to the esoteric world of handmade rugs and carpets – and indeed of civilization broadly – different perspectives, different attitudes, different life experiences, different perceptions of the one true reality all influence how one reacts. Art, specifically the notion of carpets and rugs as art is by no means an exception, and it is this idea which routinely finds its way into the marketing and sales of rugs and carpets. ‘Art for the floor.’ and countless of other permutations of this tagline exist today just as they indubitably have existed since mankind first discovered the trade of rugs could be profitable. But ‘art’ is no clearly defined term. Contemporary usage leads one to understand many skills, artforms, and crafts as art. Cooking for example, or painting, or sculpture, to name but a few. Art, perhaps in an elitist attempt to winnow away the chaff, is also categorized into distinct sub-groups. Fine art, decorative art, folk art, classical art, again to name but a few.

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Embargo On... Again | Iran Sanctions - The Ruggist

Embargo On… Again | Iran Sanctions

Pursuant to this directive once the first wind-down period ends on 6 August 2018, the government of the United States will revoke several JCPOA related authorizations regarding sanctions on Iran, namely: The importation into the United States of Iranian origin carpets and foodstuffs and certain related financial transactions pursuant to general licenses under the Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations, 31 C.F.R. part 560 (ITSR). Further information regarding sanctions can be found from the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC). In short, importation of Iranian made carpets into the United States after 6 August 2018 will – once again – be illegal. No other country currently has plans to enact an embargo on Iranian made carpets.

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Kyle and Kath - Jan Kath Design and Avenues World School launch Crossroads & Avenues. This project is a creative collaboration between the children of Avenues: The World School of New York City and the Kesang Primary School of Kathmandu. This global project brings together the creativity of children from opposite sides of the world in order to explore their cultural views and interpretations of design as seen through a child's eye. The result: fresh and original Nepali-Tibetan carpets. | The Ruggist.

Crossroads and Avenues | Excelsior!

Kyle and Kath – Jan Kath Design New York and Avenues the World School quietly launched the Crossroads and Avenues design project in January 2018. The brainchild of Kyle Clarkson, Managing Partner and designer at the firm, Crossroads and Avenues extends an ongoing multi-year program in which Kyle and Kath hosts schoolchildren educating them on the art, craft, and design of handmade carpets. During these class visits, children learn about the art of handknotted carpets and are given the freedom to imagine and create their own carpet design. ‘The kids have had such fun creating their own designs that I was inspired to take it to the next level and produce a few of their designs at our factory in Nepal.’ says Clarkson of the effort. Originally envisioned as a way to expose handwork to students whose lives are admittedly removed from such work, the project – with the encouragement and support of Avenues: The World School of New York City – quickly developed into a global collaboration bringing together disparate cultures and interpretations of design; all through the as of yet unjaded eyes of children.

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Iranian Moderne as represented by the carpet 'Miran' by Farahan Carpet. | Image courtesy of Farahan Carpet. | The Ruggist.

Iranian Moderne | Farahan Carpet

Persian and Oriental are two terms whose use in reference to rugs and carpets conjures mental images of familiar designs such as Tabriz, Kashan, Heriz, and Kerman even if the proper names remain unfamiliar or unknown. These designs, just like many others originating in either Iran itself, the geography of the former Persian Empire, and indeed in Central-Asia broadly have also come to be known as so-called Traditional carpets with all three terms used more or less interchangeably, in part due to the region’s former centuries spanning dominance of carpet production and trade. So while there inarguably remain innumerable examples of equally as traditional weaving and design the world over, the aesthetics of Persia have come to monopolize what is known as Traditional, Oriental, or Persian (T.O.P.) design, at least in rugs and carpets from the Western perspective.

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Jan Kath has introduced a new carpet named 'Magic View II' which is a fusion of Magic View and Cloud. | The Ruggist

Magic View II | Jan Kath

As the early 21st century begins to wane many of the innovations which have propelled the art of carpetry to its current zenith have passed from novel to commonplace. The technology which brought forth the rise of photorealism in carpets is now pervasive; its functionality enjoyed by countless carpet makers and designers the world over – regardless of their artistic or aesthetic merits. This is the natural state of progress, yet as any connoisseur knows there can be and is great divide between technical and artistic acclaim. In short, just because one can manipulate an image via computer and make it into a carpet does not mean one should. However, time and time again the firm of Jan Kath has demonstrated an adept ability to find balance between technical achievement and artistic merit; this is the nexus point, the so-called ‘sweet spot’, and in its latest manifestation it presents itself as the enchanting ‘Magic View II’.

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Ragmate is the 2018 evolution of the successful Ragamuf Chair Cover of 2017. Image courtesy of Ragmate. | The Ruggist

Avant-garde Rugs for a Modern Crisis | Ragmate

While the Ragmate Collection of cushion (toss pillow) covers, throw rugs, floor rugs and wall rugs possesses the same endearing shaggy texture as the original Ragamuf, the technique of manufacture differs. Instead of being handknotted to a stretchy substrate – as was the process for the Ragamufs designed by Finnish designer Tuula Pöyhönen – Ragmates are instead knotted to a stable net, which is a ‘very old and common technique, at least in Finland’ according to Leskelä. Utilizing waste textiles from the fashion industry, Ragmate is the realization of the long-held dream of Leskelä and the result of her endeavours to help those in need. ‘I want to use my skills and expertise so that as many female refugees as possible will have the chance to improve their condition to survive in their lives.’ Each individual and unique Ragmate (no two are the same) bears attribution for the Syrian refugee who handknotted it and in some instances even offers inspirational thoughts from the same.

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UK Heritage Rugs as featured on The Ruggist

Empire in Retrospect | UK Heritage Rugs

In speaking with UK Heritage Rugs’ Principal Brian Sales during Domotex it was apparent his passion, no, his calling, no, his mandate was not to be euphemistically inspired by the work of others – as is the purported case of so many who knock-off the work of others, but rather it was to honour the originals. By working closely with the curators who oversee the works his firm licenses Sales was able to ensure – as best possible given no-one involved created the originals – the carpets present the artwork in a manner befitting the originals’ museum quality status, however the reader prefers to interpret that. Without hesitation Sales has succeeded in this regard, though whether or not the firm’s carpets themselves are ‘museum quality’ is an academic question left for the reader and future curators.

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The Handmade Carpet | A Review

The nearly three-hundred pages of text and imagery of ‘The Handmade Carpet’ contain a wealth of knowledge accumulated over the long and storied careers of the authors Fritz Langauer and Ernst A. Swietly. The assertive authors undoubtably put forth superior and exhaustive efforts in compiling what amounts to multiple lifetimes of experience, information, expertise, commentary, and so forth as they attempt to explain, as the subtitle of the tome – ‘A Comprehensive Guide to Contemporary Rugs’ – purports, contemporary rugs and carpets. In the final analysis however, it must be stated that while the volumn is indeed comprehensive in regard to certain aspects of contemporary carpetry, it likewise lacks in its treatment of contemporary as the word has come to be employed in the colloquial of today.

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Do We Need More Design? | Op-Ed

Lately I have been asking myself this question over and over again. Perhaps because I live in a design-obsessed city, as revealed by everything from the foam patterns on one’s morning cappuccino to the style of pyjamas one wears at night. Perhaps because we just experienced ‘Milan Design Week’, a stellar event which exhibits – on a grand, theatrical scale – the myriad of possible configurations of this word ‘design’. Perhaps because furniture design has become more responsive to commercial tastes, therefore influencing designers to come up with more of the same, without much venturing into unchartered territories.

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