The handmade rug business is generally regarded as a bit of an anachronism in this, our modern world. Hand spun wool, hand drawn cartoons, hand knotted pile, hand, hand, hand. In an era where so much is done by automated processes and machine, our industry (which is almost a misnomer if we’re trying to market ourselves properly) survives holding on to the beautiful craft of hand knotted rugs and carpets. But where did it all start? We won’t be so naive as to claim to know precisely where hand knotted rugs were first made but we do fully support the scholarly pursuit and study of the origins of our craft. We often joke about The Sixth Opinion, but if it were not for discourse, study, and on occasion lively and raucous debate I personally doubt our industry would be as vibrant as it is. So with that we will simply introduce you to a novel (and modern!) approach to publishing a book about a craft time honoured: The Birth of the Persian Carpet on Kickstarter.
‘All the 60 examples of the original fifteenth century Persian medallion carpets which still exist need to be seen – in colour – in one book.’ – Jim Ford
The author of the (hopefully) soon to be book is none other than Jim Ford whom many of you will undoubtable know due to his reputation in the industry. But for those perhaps younger or less well travelled in traditional carpet circles we present a (very) brief biography for your convenience. Mr. Ford was born in England in 1941 and obtained his MA from Kings College, Cambridge. He worked for twenty (20) years with OCM, London and published ‘Oriental Carpet Design’ in 1981, which is still in print thirty-four (34) years later. He travelled extensively to Iran, India, China, Mongolia and Nepal between 1976 and 2010. Married to carpet designer Barbara Lindsay; they are joint owners of Jim Ford Carpets Ltd. which today supplies custom-made carpets from Nepal.
The Ruggist finds this approach to publishing a book quite novel for our industry and I think that it is going to speak volumes to our true character. Do we honestly believe in understanding from where our carpet designs have originated and evolved over the years? Do we want to support broad discussion of the past, or are we more concerned about making beautiful carpets – perhaps merely reproducing designs – not understanding their history. The later is somewhat sad and lifeless, whereas the former speaks to the great designers and makers of our industry. Whether or not we agree with what will be Mr. Ford’s analysis and highly regarded opinion, we owe it to our industry to support documentary projects like this, if only to further advance our own reference libraries and understanding.
Visit Mr. Ford’s Kickstarter page and consider sponsoring his book’s publication. After all, it’s not charity, as you get a copy of the book!