Announcements! The mere utterance of that word takes me back to my early teenage years when I would spend the summers volunteering with the local park district and Boy Scout Council where I would teach, of all things, Forestry! Each morning of Day Camp (for the younger not quite yet Boy Scouts) all would gather around the flag pole for the raising of the flag. The Camp Director would ceremoniously walk to the centre of the parade ground and with a megaphone proceed to announce the forthcoming announcements with the phrase: “And now for some announcements!” This would always cause the young scouts, who reveled in mocking adults, to sing a little ditty, the exact wording of which escapes me but had something to do with “being talked to death”. Well not unlike that camp director I come before you to the centre of my self created forum to do some housekeeping. So, imagining me standing before you with a megaphone (I like to picture myself more with a vintage chrome microphone and a big band)….
“Good Morning Ladies and Gentlemen. Winter is always a flurry of activity in the world of rugs, and as can be expected much is going on. Each of these items deserves a mention but not necessarily a full post edition of “The Ruggist”. With that, I give you a collection of announcements of varying degrees of pertinence and relevance to the broad world of rugs.
Dates and Location for the 2010 NYICS Announced.
According the Dennis Dodds the New York International Carpet Show will take place from September 12 to 14, 2010 and once again will be at 7 West 34th Street in Mid-Town Manhattan. This year’s show looks to build upon the relative success of last year’s by once again offering convenient weekend dates, a great location, and a “Designer Day Luncheon”. Mr. Dodds can be quoted in saying that he “is convinced that reliable suppliers of high-end handmade designer-quality goods need more interaction with interior designers and specifying architects for their upscale hospitality, commercial and residential projects. This is a huge financial opportunity for leading carpetmakers, he says, that is going virtually untapped.” I know that several other known and not so well known names in the rug industry agree with Mr. Dodds, now if only we could figure out how to directly engage those designers with a high degree of efficacy. Anyone interested in exhibiting can contact Dennis Dodds directly at: email@example.com
Red Spruce featured in Exhibit at Carol Piper Rugs.
A blog post just isn’t a blog post without some sort of overt self-serving plug now is it? By way a somewhat circular and quasi-incestuous network of mutual friends, I came to be in contact with Ryan Reitmeyer at Carol Piper Rugs in Houston, Texas. While we share a mutual love of most things carpet and rug related (he more so with older carpets, myself more so with newer carpets) we also discovered we share a passion for just plain great rugs! So with that, and a gracious invitation extended by him to participate in their Hooked Rug Exhibit taking place this month, Red Spruce packed up some rugs and sent them off to Texas! The exhibit runs through the end of February. A press release of the event can be found Here.
“The Ruggist” adds contributors.
For about twenty months now the opinions and articles on The Ruggist have been solely from Michael A.C. Christie, that is to say more directly, from my point of view. After pondering many of the comments I have received from my readers, I decided that The Ruggist needs to have a little more substance as it were. Thusly, I am pleased to announce that The Ruggist is adding contributing writers to broaden its repertoire of witty repartee. Now just in case you are concerned about content, I can assure that this will in no way detract from what you’ve come to expect from The Ruggist. In fact, I promise you this will actually add valuable insight into a wider variety of topics (related to rugs of course) from people who have expertise in areas I am lacking. I can also promise you the commentary will still be truthful (as The Ruggist always has been), and occasionally controversial, maybe even bordering on scandalous. Above all it will be fun, damnit! If you are by chance interested in contributing. Drop me an email at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Toronto Interior Design Show (IDS)
I recently attended (for the first time) the Interior Design Show (IDS) in Toronto and I must report that I am generally left feeling quite underwhelmed by the show as a whole. Maybe the hype (from friends and colleagues) had built it up too much in my mind, and instead of being struck in awe by the presumed Centre of Canadian Design and its version of ICFF, I was in its stead left feeling as though I had gone to the local (Toronto) home show, albeit one pumped up on steroids. And while Toronto is most certainly not alone (you know who you are you varied cities and their respective design communities) in being more than guilty of the forthcoming sin, I apparently stumbled into the Canadian heartland of all black clothing and boring eyewear. For the love of god people, we’re in the design industry, let’s show some colour and style. But I digress. There were of course standout rugs and carpets from several companies, such as….
There is no denying Michael Pourvakil is the dominant name in higher end handwoven rugs in Toronto, and thus Ontario, and thus Canada, and moreover, as was recently promoted in an article in COVER, he really knows how to run a showroom. This positioning has served him (and his wonderfully talented and diverse staff) quite well over the years and will, I am sure, serve them many years into the future. Furthermore Michael knows how to promote himself to his target audience and thus, partnering with Azure brought forth his latest promotion at this year’s IDS: The bumptiously named “ERA” Collection.
ERA (a backronym for “Evolution in Rug Artistry”) is a collection rug designs that have been selected by way of a design competition. This inaugural year’s selection of ten (10) rug designs brings together the self described best of Canadian design and translates those designs into rugs. And while I could argue that Mr. Pourvakil does not have a corner on the best of rug design in Canada (There is after all, Zoë Luyendijk Studio, Bev Hisey, and Red Spruce to name a few who are Canadian and producing equally great (if not better) design.), I will not (or did I?) and instead address the highlights of the Collection. My favorite piece was the Une Affaire de Coeur by Katherine Morley, which makes a statement about the love hate politics of Quebec and The Rest of Canada relations. The design is rendered in a beautifully saturated red
hue, and is stunning in it’s simplicity.
Image Courtesy of Weavers Art.
The true standout in terms of innovation though, is Zipper by Jennifer Fong. A neutral paleted plain field rug that is woven in two pieces and, yes, held together with a giant zipper. Practical? I don’t know. Innovative? You bet. Cool as %^$##&@? Hell ya. It’s off the cheese wheel! In contrast, Bone by Alison Milne seems to be much too derivative of (and perhaps even too identical) to the rug designs of Amy Helfand, leaving me to wonder how it can be a new “best” of. I think if I would want a design in this aesthetic (which I do) I would just purchase from Ms. Helfand, otherwise my lustful admiration for her work/aesthetic would be left unrequited. Lake Ontario by Joy and Ed is a superb example of technical dyeing and weaving, soothing and inviting. Finally Tartan by Clayton Budd, left me feeling as though it could have been better. As many of you know, I have a fascination with Tartans, and moreover their successful execution when translated into rugs and carpets. This tartan excels in its bold embrace of scale, but is lacking in both technical execution (e.g. production) and in its correct use of colour in the tartan itself. Overall though, the ERA Collection is and was “the most design we saw at IDS” to quote Red Spruce Director, Nicholas Christie, if only from the perspective of rugs.
Weavers Art Anecdote
While in Toronto we accepted the separate invitations of Catherine, Dawn and Michael to attend the Modern Weave party on Friday night. The ERA Collection’s launch also served as a silent auction and fundraiser for, among other things: Good Weave. I had a great time at the party, and after intoxicatingly dismissing a slightly abrupt bar tender who inquired if I had an invitation, proceeded to chat it up with the GoodWeave girls as they are now known. Maybe he asked for an invitation because I was wearing too much colour for Toronto?
Image Courtesy of Weavers Art/GoodWeave
Michael A.C. Christie, Red Spruce Creative Director (left)
seen chatting with April Thompson, GoodWeave (centre)
and Nicholas Christie, Red Spruce (right). He is stressing the
importance of increasing the geographic reach of GoodWeave licensing.
Lastly, I will add that his showrooms have a posted motivational reminder for the staff that begins: “Be the expert!” or as another well known rug purveyor would say “Fake it until you make it.”
Have you ever walked into a place and had a feeling? A strange feeling? A feeling that just wouldn’t go away unless you started asking questions? I have, and so I asked. “These are made in Nepal?” I inquired of the lovely woman (clearly of non european decent). “Yes they are.. They are made by my fathers company in Nepal….” she began, and a fascinating conversion ensued. Great Quality. Great Construction. Wonderful Traditional Tibetan Designs. Available in Toronto at Amala.
Honourable mention to: Bev Hisey
As a footnote I want to say it was once again a pleasure to see Bev Hisey. We ran into her during the opening night party of IDS, and as always she was a delight. I first met Ms. Hisey during ICFF in say 2008 and we started up a conversation, both being residents of Canada and all. “Oh I love Nova Scotia” she said (as many people d0), “maybe I’ll stop and visit next time we are out there” see concluded (again, as many people say). Well, to date, she is the only one to visit! Good follow through. Her textiles are pretty cool too.
Not being one to be concise by any means, I am known to talk too much! So before you are indeed “talked” to death. I bid you adieu and cordially invite you to return for the next installment of “The Ruggist.