Consumers Must Show Real Empathy for Nepal - The Ruggist

Consumers Must Show Real Empathy for Nepal

In the wake of a series of devastating earthquakes and aftershocks that have literally shaken the very foundation of Nepal, I find myself in an unfamiliar state of mind. Empathy has never been my redeeming quality, yet concern and anxiety occupy my thoughts of a people so far away, so impoverished, so disparate from my western life of relative comfort. How is it, that a Midwestern born, American expat living in rural New Brunswick, Canada can be so distressed about people he has never met? Grand philosophical reasons aside, the simple truth of the matter is that twenty (20) years ago fate and circumstance conspired as it were and I found myself at the beginning of a career, and a love affair, dedicated to modern handmade rugs and carpets and moreover to the best thereof. For those not as well versed, this includes what are arguably the very best carpets in the world: those made in Nepal. I’ve sold countless Nepali made rugs, I’ve written extensively on carpets both as an amateur and a professional, I’ve worked with some of the finest contemporary producers of carpets in the world, I own Nepali made rugs. But this isn’t about me. This is about Nepal and its people, the handmade carpet industry of Nepal, and how imperative it is that we all show real empathy for Nepal.

Read more
The Carpets of Nepal, Part I - The Ruggist

The Carpets of Nepal | Part I

As an industry we bring modernity with all of its inconsequential demands to a place where subsistence agrarian culture still dominates the economy, where manual labour is a way of life, and were exploitation (in wide ranging and various forms) is still a major concern. We also have the ability to bring hope, compassion, understanding, and as I’ve called for, real empathy for the Nepali people. We do this by honouring them for all that they’ve done for us, and by continuing to work with them as they rebuild their country. They are a “patient, studious, artistic, nuanced and extremely hard working people, and I would not be who I am without them.” says Tom DeMarco of Kooches, speaking words universal to any serious designer of modern carpets. With that, The Ruggist presents a photographic journey that explores the best of Nepali made carpets.

Read more
Nepal Ascending - The Ruggist

The Nepal Earthquake | Brief Commentary

The Sixth Opinion, my oft mentioned joke about any group of experts espousing more opinions than members of the group, is an inherent undercurrent in ours the world of rugs. Is a rug this? Is a rug that? What is the best quality? What makes a rug authentic? Crossed vs Uncrossed – if just to bring back to mind a fiery topic?  All great questions, some with definitive answers, others with, how do you say, more nuanced positions. It’s the nature of our existence as humans, especially creative humans. There are billions of us, yet we all seem to think we each know the solution to every problem, we all know “what’s right”, we all know what’s best for mankind. Well definitively, with 100% certainty (outside of scientifically provable facts – and even that is somewhat iffy depending on how advanced our knowledge is) I can tell you that position is wrong. Just try to get a group of friends to decide where to go to dinner, and you’ll see pleasing everyone just isn’t possible.

Read more
Give Back to Nepal - #givebacktonepal - The Ruggist

Give Back to Nepal | #givebacktonepal

Nota bene: This post was heavily revised on Tuesday, 28 April 2015 to reflect information available at that time. I spoke with a colleague in Kathmandu earlier this morning and while most of his family are safe, others remain yet to be located. He further reports their homes are destroyed, and the immediate concerns of shelter, food and medicine are top priorities.I would like to stress that many of the efforts listed here will have longer term benefits to Nepal, whereas others benefit the short term needs of the country. Consider donating to organizations with existing infrastructure and the ability to service these immediate needs first, then give to other efforts with longer term impact. Finally, please remember that the long term success of rebuilding will only be helped by your continued business with Nepal. So, to begin again as it were, an uncredited quote from our friends at floordesign in San Francisco via facebook…

Read more