In Consideration of Copyright - The Ruggist

In Consideration of Copyright

An essay on the importance of perspective in examining originators, copyists, and derivatists.

In the 1999 film ‘Dogma’ Salma Hayek plays ‘Serendipity’. Not simply a woman whose name happens to be Serendipity, but rather she plays the physical embodiment of serendipity itself, which is to say she is the ‘chance’ which brings about the occurrence and development of events in a happy or beneficial way.  Except of course, there is no chance. While those without divinity perceive their interactions as random, or due to fate, or karma, or what have you, from the perspective of Serendipity, it is her will which causes events to happen as they do; for her the future is not fully unknown nor fully manifest rather its exists as any one of an endless number of permutations based upon her direct actions. In many ways the creation and success of a supposedly new rug or carpet design is a result of serendipity with the artist or designer creating something perceived as new as a result of the careful and equally serendipitous or Serendipitous work of those who have come before.

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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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Tiger shown in colour Pink by Joseph Carini Carpets - 100% silk handknotted in Nepal. | Image courtesy of Joseph Carini Carpets. - Tiger Carpets on The Ruggist

They’re Great! | Tiger Rugs

Within the world of rugs and carpets if one is to mention ‘Tiger Rug’ the foremost thought aught to be that of Tibetan Tiger Rugs. Not because of any exclusive domain over the motif – which there most certainly is not, but rather because in the grand and storied history of tigers as inspiration for carpets Tibet has produced some of the most amazing, lively, and original versions of the design. Whether the motif originated in Tibet, in a geographically proximal region, or in Timbuktu as a metaphor for far-off unknown places, is a scholarly debate for another time. Regardless, know that amongst the collectable and pre-commercialized rug market, Tibetan Tiger Rugs are, if you’ll pardon the pun, the cat’s meow.

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Koi 2 shown in colour Pink by Rug Star by Jürgen Dahlmanns - 100% viscose tufted in China. | Image courtesy of Rug Star.

Don’t be Coy | ‘Tuft’ by Rug Star

‘RUG STAR TUFT was invented to offer the market a simple message: RUG STAR [hand knotted] in 6 months or RUG STAR TUFT in 6 weeks.’ begins Rug Star’s Jürgen Dahlmanns as we are discussing his new carpet project via email. ‘Of course for both variations we only want to provide the best possible quality and the smartest executions on the market.’ Upon reading this statement I am immediately reminded of the oft referenced ‘Project Management Triangle’ and how its truisms are somewhat antithetical, though not fully unknown to the world of rugs. Is superior quality the goal?

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The Couturier of Carpets | Jan Kath on The Ruggist

A Couturier of Carpets | Jan Kath

I’ve long been a proponent of drawing comparisons between the world of fashion and the world of rugs and carpets; the appeal is simply too irresistible. Iconic fashion houses producing the absolute finest articles of couture clothing with degrees of customization that, to be frank, can at times be envious, contrasted against the monotony of prêt-à-porter and the one-size-fits-some downmarket world of fast fashion; if only the French had a more vulgar sounding word to convey the harshness that comes with producing inexpensive commodity quality clothing. Or do they? I digress.

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