‘If you want for nothing, then that is what you shall receive.’ One could argue the successes and innovations of this era of carpetry have brought with them great indulgences and luxury, and indeed they have, yet at what cost? Twenty-five years ago I began selling rugs and carpets and at that time a customised rug was a rarity reserved for only special clientele. A fully bespoke carpet? All but unheard of except in the rarest echelons of interior design and handknotted carpet affinity. The same cannot be said of today and perhaps that is a contributing factor, amongst others, to the thirty to forty percent (30-40%) decline in handknotted rug production from 2018 to 2019.
By creating a system which grossly misplaces value on design over technique, which favours micromanaged pixelated design over fluidity and artistic expression, and which compels craftspeople to act as though weavers are (k)not robots, the industry has decreased the caché of a handknotted carpet to nary more than any other item to be ordered at the touch of a button or a bellow of ‘Hey Siri!’ The cost of all this access to unlimited options – a want for nothing – is that the industry no longer has anything special to offer; every rug or carpet can be perceived as equal, even if this is not the reality. If everyone can have anything then what does one offer the truly exceptional client ? What makes a rug or carpet unique and appealing in this paradigm? To discern and divine this is to find a renaissance like path forward for handknotted rug making.