Pattern Tolerance | The Cycles of Design | The Ruggist

Pattern Tolerance | The Cycles of Design

In the quest for 'new' we simply revisit the past, again... .

When I took my first job in the rug and carpet world – as a porter no less – I  was still full of that invincible hubris and newly minted air of superiority that makes a more aged version of myself now cringe. Fresh from university and full of confidence, I was certain I was the first person ever to discover that design functions in rote, methodical cycles. I marvelled as the past returned to the present only to once again fade into oblivion. This was the thinking that compelled me to highlight ‘Circles’ in the Summer 2017 Issue of Rug Insider and it remains a strong influence in much of my critique. New and exciting is hardly new, nor is it exciting when it’s been done before.

Though I was prescient of the return of the past I knew from old design magazines and quaint television programs in syndication, at the age of twenty-two I had not yet fathomed there would be a point in my life when the return would be that of things I witnessed in my own lifetime.

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On Collecting Rugs | The Ruggist

On Collecting Rugs and Carpets

A look into the mindset of a fledgling collector and the importance of 'What is it?'

Just over a year ago in June of 2016 I was on holidays visiting with family in Ohio, taking in the magnificent Royal Persian Tent of Muhammad Shah, and visiting with friends in the uberchic Red Hook district of Brooklyn, New York. While in New York I called upon the Outlet Shop of Odegard Carpets. I found a lovely ‘Youngtse’ quality carpet – 100knot Tibetan weave (crossed), handspun Himalayan wool, et cetera, in a palette that all but said: The Ruggist. It now lives in my bedroom. A short time later – while making arrangements to ship the aforementioned carpet home, I decided to have a ‘final’ browse through the firm’s online inventory, just to ‘make sure it was the right decision’. It was as though I was in fact no different than the average decorative carpet consumer: unsure, in need of a bit of hand holding. But then, as if an apparition of rug purchases future materialized in my living room delivering a cautionary tale, I realized – as every casual rug consumer, aficionado, collector, or otherwise should – that I should just buy what I love. And I loved what I saw on the screen before me: ‘Gorden Tiger’. Rrrrrraaawwwwr!

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'Nine Million Stars' is a video project produced by Jan Kath and Label STEP that celebrates Nepali carpet weaving as a sustainable alternative to migrant labour. Staring famed Nepali actress Reecha Sharma and noted Nepali stage actor Tika Bhakta Jirel, directed by the award-winning Tsering Rhitar Sherpa. - The Ruggist | Image courtesy of Jan Kath.

Shine Brightly! | The Future of Weaving

A video by Jan Kath and Label STEP celebrates Nepali carpet weaving as a sustainable alternative to migrant labour.

There is a certain penchant on the part of carpet purveyors to romanticize the notion of carpet weaving as a storied, well respected, and almost nobel profession. Skills are extolled, the art and craft are professed as sublime, homage is paid to the hard work and talent of those who make carpets, and the resultant product is held as high example of handwork and human artistry. And why not? The ability to create woven cloth from fibre dates to time immemorial, with estimates dating this skill to some 27,000 years ago. And while pile carpet construction, as evidenced by the Pazyryk Carpet, dates to perhaps only the more recent but still sufficiently historic fifth century BCE, it is safe to state unequivocally that weaving has been important to the development of humandkind. But, for such a noble and profoundly important profession, ‘How many handweavers do you know here in the west?’ I ask rhetorically.

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An assortment of Kasthall's Harvest Collection of flatwoven 'modern rag rugs.' - The Ruggist | Image courtesy of Kasthall.

Harvesting the Studio | Kasthall

The Swedish carpet house Kasthall subtly incorporates waste diversion into their design oeuvre.

The process of making custom or bespoke rugs and carpets is one that has many benefits both for the manufacturer as well as the consumer. Consumers enjoy the luxury of specifying each of every detail of the carpet – within the confines of a particular makers capabilities – and individual makers, importers, and retailers realize lower inventory cost and waste as they are not producing full carpets on speculation alone. No matter how efficient the process however there will always be surplus yarn after a rug is finished. ‘There are often two or three spools of a certain colour yarn left over after weaving a rug. This is because we make a few extra spools in case we need to redo something during the production process.’ explains Ellinor Eliasson, a designer at Swedish carpet house Kasthall.

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Over Coffee with Lucy Upward, Editor of Cover Magazine at Jan Kath. | The Ruggist.

Zum Kaffee mit Lucy Upward | Bochum

The Ruggist and Cover editor Lucy Upward talk art, carpets, and context during Jan Kath's 'A Family Affair.'

‘As long as you think it could work and that anyone would be interested.’ was the affirmative reply I received from Lucy Upward, Editor of COVER Magazine, when asked if she would be willing to be interviewed as part of my series ‘Over Coffee’. ‘We’ll do it over afternoon coffee at Jan Kath’s during ‘A Family Affair’ I replied, ‘I think it has the potential to be quite interesting. It will be a fun exploration of our thoughts, handfulls of people will find it enjoyable. Handfulls!!’ I concluded. ‘Handfuls. At least ten (10)… .’ Lucy replied. And so it was decided that we would sit down and chat while Lucy and I were both in attendance at the second annual ‘A Family Affair’, graciously hosted by Jan Kath, his eponymous firm, and the extended and diverse global Jan Kath family – in both the literal and figurative sense.

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