NYICS and “The Rug Show” Review – Part 3
NYICS and “The Rug Show” Review – Part 3

NYICS and “The Rug Show” Review – Part 3

Well! How about that last review? What was I thinking? Well it seems I was thinking the same thing as the author of this comment that was submitted (but not approved for publishing) to the “NYICS and “The Rug Show” Review – Part 2″. Before we get to the comment below, I will say that the comment was not approved because of 1) Too much gratuitous use of profanity, and 2) It was anonymous (though I know who wrote it). I know, I know, I approve anonymous comments sometimes, but not when they are so fully opinionated as the one below. Remember, my rules are arbitrary! So what does one of my highly opinionated (I like that by the way….) readers think? Read on:

“I’ll finally post a comment up in this [[EXPLICATIVE REMOVED]]. I attended both shows and NYICS is king as far as layout, convenience, quality of rugs, and quality exhibitors and buyers. But that’s not saying too much since I quickly got bored by all of the grey and beige contemporary crap out there. I brought a guest with me to the shows, a noob that [[HAD HER FIRST EXPERIENCE – edit for politeness]] in the rug market world. Her observations echoed the bazaar comment about the Javits exhibitors (You owe me credit for the Javits bazaar comment.) conveyed by the blog. So far so good MC. Where the [[EXPLICATIVE REMOVED]] is part 3 of the New York rug shows wrap up?”

Well unnamed commenter whom I will not out at the moment (not out in that “gay” way, rather out in that whistleblower way), you are hereby officially credited as the originator of the bazaar comment, though bizarre was all mine. And while we are at it, I question whether you are using contemporary to refer to all rugs produced now, or as the slightly annoying misnomer of modern design. Regardless of your intended use, you are off base lumping all contemporary production (design or era – grey, beige or otherwise) together just because you seemingly must think (or so I’ve inferred) rug design has to be confined to some historic era and have originated in some specific geography. This it not the case, design marches on, and, – and let me be clear that I say this with 100% certainty – the decorative arts have been and shall always remain a servant to their master: the patron/customer. But as always, I digress.
So, before we forget why we are here, let’s wrap up NYICS and “The Rug Show” for 2012 shall we?
Creative Matters
This is a great company that produces many great designs, and I’m not just saying that because I like them and they are fellow Canadians like myself, I’m saying it because I believe it. That being said, do their designs make me say “OMG!! That is the best thing since sliced bread”? To be frank: Not always, but when do I ever give that much praise? Creative Matters however, is distinct and praiseworthy because they understand the sentiment echoed in my statement “servant to the master”. Their carpets sell, and their carpets attract customers, and they, more so than me and many others of high opinion, understand the dynamic of catering to the whims of those who would buy what we make. Moreover, their designs are interesting and inspired, which is more than can be said for much of the industry at the moment. Perhaps the best way to sum up their design success is just as I told David Young so many years ago when he and I first met, “We prefer to gauge our success by what our customers think, not by what others [[in the industry]] say.”
With that, I present #546 Malachite from their very popular and collaborative “Art Day” Collection. The adaptation of this stone into a carpet is well done, and the colouration (based on the stone) is a refreshing and sophisticated break from many of the more mundane (albeit profitable) colourations elsewhere in their Art Day collection. Further, I enjoy the contrast of a hard material being mimicked with a soft and supple wool pile.
#546 Malachite from Creative Matters
New Moon
Let’s begin this review of New Moon by saying that I’m a fan of the New Moon Ethos. How could you not be? John Kurtz and family continue producing quality rugs and carpets at a time when not everyone is concerned with quality (consumers being the driving factor here). Carpets that posses a distinctive look and character, carpets that aren’t for everyone. Carpets that are uniquely: New Moon. I think these are the things that have kept me enchanted by their carpets over the years, even if I do not find the styling particularly well suited to my own personal taste. That being said however, I did enjoy the following:
Savanah, Greys from New Moon
The above design is an exaggerated scale version of New Moon’s existing Savannah design, coloured in wonderful cool greys with an accenting lavender border stripe all made using 100% recycled chinese silk, that imparts a high degree of colour variation across the piece. It is this adaptive use of scale that has me most engaged, as it reminds me of my early days in the rug industry. Cue flashback to 1997! I still vividly recall the first time I realized a modern rug we were selling was just a very exaggerated off centred Herati medallion, oh how I wish I was still that naive.  Overall I like the look of the rug and I would find it hard to question the quality of something made by Mr. Kurtz, but I do question both New Moon’s and anyone else’s motivation for using materials called recycled.
Recycled Materials?
The rug from New Moon was not that only rug that was made of recycled materials at the show, and that has me concerned. Now don’t get me wrong, we should be recycling, and in the world of traditional handhooked rugs from which I now hail, recycling (or as we call it: being frugal) has a long proud tradition. The extant examples of early North American rug hooking were almost always made of discardable woollens, but instead of discarding them, they were reused to make exemplary carpets and rugs. I see absolutely nothing wrong with using materials that would otherwise go to waste, as long as the end quality remains the same or is even accentuated by the recycled content.
Maybe it is just the semantics that are annoying me: When I hear recycled I have visions of giant piles of discarded dirty yarns (think of landfill images), being pulled apart (breaking the long fibres in the process) then being recarded, respun, and redyed before being woven into a rug. Now I know this is not the case, but it is still the image I have in my head and it’s just not appealing.
Our industry is regarded as slow because of our development cycles and other technical restraints, and the concept of calling something recycled is reaching us just now, as the broadder consumer market starts to question all things labeled “green”. Recycling in this case, sounds just a little too much like greenwashing to me, and I find that hard to overlook. Like that time I saw a rug at Elte in Toronto that had a label on it that said “Biodegradable”. Oy! Someone didn’t think that through, nor has someone though through the process of calling something recycled in the context of high end rugs.
Every Red Spruce rug and carpet we make incorporates some level of recycling, but we don’t make a big deal out it (unless the premise of the design is based upon it, like our “Blue Collar”), and moreover we don’t use greenwashing as a way to upcharge as is so commonplace. Just like the now bastardized patchwork and overdyed rugs aforementioned in a previous post, I have grave concerns that something that should be an integral part of any business’ model (for cost savings alone not to mention the fact that it is the right thing to do) is potentially being over and/or misused and beat into the ground solely to sell a rug. I cannot say that I have much more to add to this at the moment, other than to pose a question to all of you: Recycling is the feature, and it (should) benefit us as producers by lowering costs, but what is the end benefit to consumers? And moreover, why do consumers care, if they are just buying a decorative carpet to be potentially discarded and end up in a landfill when they next redecorate?
In conclusion…
Great time this year and two (2) shows with potential for even more greatness. Carpets both good and bad, and lots to take in. My intent remains, as always, to spur conversion and improvement in the world we all rugs. Join us next time (in two (2) to three (3) weeks time) when we discuss: Copyright and Originality in Design. If you’d like to contribute your opinion to what is sure to be a controversial piece with a lot of name calling, please contact me as you see fit. I appreciate your attention (who doesn’t want to have attention?). Thank you and goodbye.