Upside Down | Monologue

Certainly there will be those who cling to what has been, to power structures that favour themselves, to systematically unfair labour practices, to a world in which luxury wares such as handknotted rugs and carpets are often made as inexpensively as possible to thus ensure maximum exploitive profit for a select few. These ideas belong to some elitist elysian days of the past no longer suitable for modern man. This is now the raison d’être of The Ruggist, to align with those who see a different – and better – path forward. I look forward to sharing with you what I uncover on this journey of discovery. Godspeed.

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Advertising Perspective

What is being sold isn't always what you're buying.

Have you ever taken a really close look at advertising, and in the process asked yourself: ‘What is the company trying to convey?’ Me too… , me too… . But this is not that per se, rather this is a conceptualization – of my own doing – which illustrates the point that advertising should sell you the product, not a fantasy world full of aspiration and faux reality. Shown here is one of my favourite things, the Picnic Lounge by Fatboy. This first photo – while striking and attention grabbing – is worth a thousand words about how the person or persons soon to eat lunch here (Disclosure: It was me and my fiancé.) is an idiot with no regard for personal safety nor comfort.

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It's Not the Knots... Sort of. 'Mameluka V A' by Rica Basagoiti. The Ruggist.

It’s (K)not the Knots. Sort of…!

The knot count of a handmade rug is an indicator of quality, but (k)not the only one.

Of all the technical details one could discuss regarding the craft of handknotted rug and carpet making, one stands apart as perhaps the most easily misconstrued, misrepresented, and misunderstood: knot count. This confusion arises for a variety of reasons too numerous to list, but suffice it to say knot count has tended  – rightly, wrongly, or otherwise – to be used as an indicator of rug quality due to its easily discernible and quantifiable value: the number of knots per square unit of measure. As such there is an expedience in saying a higher number of knots equates to a ‘better’ quality rug. Hmmm…. Yes, but that is not the full story.

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Materials Matter, Bailed hanks of undyed wool at Khantze & Co. in Kathmandu await dying and then knotting into fine handmade Nepali-Tibetan carpets. | Photograph by The Ruggist.

Materials Matter | Wool, et alia.

Aesthetics aside, a well crafted carpet is only as 'good' as what it is made from.

For rug and carpet traditionalists, hmm, fundamentalists, umm, aficionados, umm… …for those who adhere to the use of time honoured materials, there can be but only one material – perhaps we should say fibre – that stands proud: wool. However, as illustrated herein by the photograph of bailed hanks of undyed wool yarn awaiting processing, the crafting of carpet does start as a plain amorphous white-ish hued mass of materials; not all of which are created equal. This is true for wool – the types numerous – just as it is for the myriad fibres utilized in rug making, each with their own unique properties providing features – and the associated benefits – appropriate to equally varied uses and situations. When purchasing a rug or carpet endeavour to understand the fibres utilized and moreover whether they are appropriate or not for the intended use of the rug, be it hardworking at the front door or precious in a dressing room. 

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The 'Plush Solid' quality of carpet by Sambhav shown in colour Royal Blue, as seen during Domotex 2019. | Photograph by The Ruggist.

Plush Solid | Sambhav

Technicalities aside, attraction is still governed by emotion and 'Plush Solid' conjures many.

‘Your eyes may not intentionally deceive, but they do not reveal the tactile nature of carpets.’ – From a purely objective viewpoint one could rightly argue that in 2019 there is little reason to make a solid, that is to say, a single colour handknotted rug or carpet. As many other techniques – broadloom and handloom as two examples – can readily satisfy the visual requirements in order to complete the look at a fraction of the price, the expense of handknotted simply doesn’t fit the technocratic bill. Great design however is never solely governed by technicalities, rather it is a melange of fact and the seemingly irrational nature of attraction, pleasure, desire, and countless other emotions. Thus subjectively, the ‘technical’ look if you will, pales in comparison to the touch, the tactile sensations, the haptics of the particularly sumptuous and decadent ‘Plush Solid’ by Sambhav. 

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