Born in the Purple - Viron Erol Vert - Art Carpets - The Ruggist

Born in the Purple | Viron Vert

Like many topics related to the esoteric world of handmade rugs and carpets – and indeed of civilization broadly – different perspectives, different attitudes, different life experiences, different perceptions of the one true reality all influence how one reacts. Art, specifically the notion of carpets and rugs as art is by no means an exception, and it is this idea which routinely finds its way into the marketing and sales of rugs and carpets. ‘Art for the floor.’ and countless of other permutations of this tagline exist today just as they indubitably have existed since mankind first discovered the trade of rugs could be profitable. But ‘art’ is no clearly defined term. Contemporary usage leads one to understand many skills, artforms, and crafts as art. Cooking for example, or painting, or sculpture, to name but a few. Art, perhaps in an elitist attempt to winnow away the chaff, is also categorized into distinct sub-groups. Fine art, decorative art, folk art, classical art, again to name but a few.

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Use a Trusted Cleaner - Weaver and Loom - Toronto, Ontario, Canada - Odegard Tile - The Ruggist

A Trusted Cleaner | Weaver & Loom

In the Spring 2018 issue of Rug Insider Magazine I authored an article titled: ‘Proper Care and Cleaning.’ The premise was and remains simple; to explore what it means when a rug dealer says a good quality handmade rug will last a lifetime with proper care and cleaning. As a former dealer of rugs myself I know I have said this phrase, just as I know far too often no further detail is provided. To push further, what is one to do when one is told to have a rug or carpet cleaned by a reputable or trusted rug cleaner? What does it mean ‘a trusted rug cleaner’ and moreover, how does one even go about finding a trustworthy cleaner? To answer these questions and to provide a bit of detail as to what happens when a rug is cleaned I took the opportunity to document – with the assistance of my cleaner Weaver & Loom – the cleaning of one of my own rugs. This is what happened.

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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 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.

Read more
Use a Trusted Cleaner - Weaver and Loom - Toronto, Ontario, Canada - Odegard Tile - The Ruggist

A Trusted Cleaner | Weaver & Loom

In the Spring 2018 issue of Rug Insider Magazine I authored an article titled: ‘Proper Care and Cleaning.’ The premise was and remains simple; to explore what it means when a rug dealer says a good quality handmade rug will last a lifetime with proper care and cleaning. As a former dealer of rugs myself I know I have said this phrase, just as I know far too often no further detail is provided. To push further, what is one to do when one is told to have a rug or carpet cleaned by a reputable or trusted rug cleaner? What does it mean ‘a trusted rug cleaner’ and moreover, how does one even go about finding a trustworthy cleaner? To answer these questions and to provide a bit of detail as to what happens when a rug is cleaned I took the opportunity to document – with the assistance of my cleaner Weaver & Loom – the cleaning of one of my own rugs. This is what happened.

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Natural Dying Art Day at Creative Matters with The Ruggist | Image by The Ruggist

Art Day at Creative Matters

To avoid atë the firm implemented what has grown to become an ‘integral influence on the constant flow of creative design that emerges from the studio’ to quote Creative Matters. ‘Art Days’ allow the entire staff as a team, not just the designers, to immerse themselves in a technique or a subject matter in order to garner fresh and, as I came to discover, unexpected insight. By exploring various artistic techniques of photography, glassblowing, collage, and the like without a predestined use nor aesthetic, the firm is able to create a body of original artwork ‘from somewhere else’ some of which may be suited to an individual collection, others archived for potential use in future projects. The exploration of techniques foreign to some, familiar to others, fosters camaraderie and team building, while simultaneously fuelling the creativity of the firm. This is a brief look behind the creative curtain.

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Born in the Purple - Viron Erol Vert - Art Carpets - The Ruggist

Born in the Purple | Viron Vert

Like many topics related to the esoteric world of handmade rugs and carpets – and indeed of civilization broadly – different perspectives, different attitudes, different life experiences, different perceptions of the one true reality all influence how one reacts. Art, specifically the notion of carpets and rugs as art is by no means an exception, and it is this idea which routinely finds its way into the marketing and sales of rugs and carpets. ‘Art for the floor.’ and countless of other permutations of this tagline exist today just as they indubitably have existed since mankind first discovered the trade of rugs could be profitable. But ‘art’ is no clearly defined term. Contemporary usage leads one to understand many skills, artforms, and crafts as art. Cooking for example, or painting, or sculpture, to name but a few. Art, perhaps in an elitist attempt to winnow away the chaff, is also categorized into distinct sub-groups. Fine art, decorative art, folk art, classical art, again to name but a few.

Read more
Use a Trusted Cleaner - Weaver and Loom - Toronto, Ontario, Canada - Odegard Tile - The Ruggist

A Trusted Cleaner | Weaver & Loom

In the Spring 2018 issue of Rug Insider Magazine I authored an article titled: ‘Proper Care and Cleaning.’ The premise was and remains simple; to explore what it means when a rug dealer says a good quality handmade rug will last a lifetime with proper care and cleaning. As a former dealer of rugs myself I know I have said this phrase, just as I know far too often no further detail is provided. To push further, what is one to do when one is told to have a rug or carpet cleaned by a reputable or trusted rug cleaner? What does it mean ‘a trusted rug cleaner’ and moreover, how does one even go about finding a trustworthy cleaner? To answer these questions and to provide a bit of detail as to what happens when a rug is cleaned I took the opportunity to document – with the assistance of my cleaner Weaver & Loom – the cleaning of one of my own rugs. This is what happened.

Read more
Jan Kath and More! Over Coffee

Jan Kath and More! | Over Coffee

Meeting a German requires a degree of punctuality and though I was not yet late, I was concerned that I would be as the cab driver zig zagged his way through the gridwork of Toronto streets, dodging streetcars and a seemingly inexhaustible supply of orange safety vests, construction cones, pedestrians, and incomprehensibly slow and distracted drivers. My anxiety mounted as he asked me which route I would like him to take as if I was some navigational savant. ‘I just need to get there as fast as possible,’ I replied. My appointment was for 15:30 and when the driver pulled to the curb in front of the Gladstone Hotel where I was staying and entertaining Kath, the clock on my phone read 15:23. Safe! Then Jenni Finlay, partner of Findlay and Kath, messaged: ‘I’m so sorry. I didn’t get Jan out of here on time. He’s in an Uber now but is running late.’ I am sure I rolled my eyes, laughing internally at the situation. I took a few moments to head up to my room in order to preen myself before returning, settling into a very comfortable lobby sofa to await my guest.

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Embargo On... Again | Iran Sanctions - The Ruggist

Embargo On… Again | Iran Sanctions

Pursuant to this directive once the first wind-down period ends on 6 August 2018, the government of the United States will revoke several JCPOA related authorizations regarding sanctions on Iran, namely: The importation into the United States of Iranian origin carpets and foodstuffs and certain related financial transactions pursuant to general licenses under the Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations, 31 C.F.R. part 560 (ITSR). Further information regarding sanctions can be found from the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC). In short, importation of Iranian made carpets into the United States after 6 August 2018 will – once again – be illegal. No other country currently has plans to enact an embargo on Iranian made carpets.

Read more
Nepal Ascending - The Ruggist

Nepal Ascending

I have thought long on this, in fact since November 2016 and I do not in any way claim to have the answers save one: I know if nothing is done, the facts speak for themselves. I have friends in Nepal who envision a guild of sorts which would certify the quality of workmanship and materials. I have other friends in Nepal who would join this guild if it meant they would sell more carpets. I see the possibility of this guild idea growing to include export organizations, and NGOs from the West. I see the Guild bringing together Nepalis, Tibetans, and Westerners with a renewed ‘we can rebuild’ attitude like that which existed in that ‘brief shining moment’ that was the aftermath of the earthquake; earthquake also as allusion to the long decline of Nepali weaving. I call upon any concerned importer or maker of Nepali-Tibetan carpets to if not join me and my colleagues in working toward this concept of Guild, at least acknowledge a new approach must be had. For those who feel as I do, that a more unified voice is required, that more can be done both here in the West but more importantly in Nepal as well, and that the status quo is less than acceptable, I welcome the opportunity to talk with you personally so that we can – collaboratively – truly give back to Nepal.

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Interwoven Authenticity | A Caveat - The Ruggist

Interwoven Authenticity | A Caveat

It is worthy of note that throughout the entirety of The Ruggist you will find no small degree of exaggeration, hyperbole, and irreverence. It’s who I am, it’s how I write, it’s how I see the world. Black, but not just any black. The most perfect black of which you can think. Soot from a freshly cleaned chimney black; matte with no discernible texture, as though you’re staring into a void. Vantablack® – Can this be applied to yarn? I wonder… . That kind of black. And then of course to the far other extreme, a white of no less than equal splendour, pure, but not devoid of all hue. Perhaps the Benjamin Moore named colour: Grand Teton White, if only because it reminds me of my fourteen year old self giggling at the name while basking in the very same majesty that first greeted those French explorers. Each colour – no less special than the other – vying, clamouring to be recognized as the best, the most authentic, the singular whatever it is.

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Do we need more design? | Op-Ed

Lately I have been asking myself this question over and over again. Perhaps because I live in a design-obsessed city, as revealed by everything from the foam patterns on one’s morning cappuccino to the style of pyjamas one wears at night. Perhaps because we just experienced ‘Milan Design Week’, a stellar event which exhibits – on a grand, theatrical scale – the myriad of possible configurations of this word ‘design’. Perhaps because furniture design has become more responsive to commercial tastes, therefore influencing designers to come up with more of the same, without much venturing into unchartered territories.

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'Darth Vader' is an eponymously named limited edition rug by Hadi Maktabi. | Image courtesy of Hadi Maktabi.

‘Darth Vader’ et alia | Hadi Maktabi

I knew of Hadi Maktabi of Hadi Maktabi Rare Carpets and Antiques long before I met him, though I am not certain how it came to be. Perhaps it was his reputation as someone genuinely and eminently qualified to lecture (in the schooled manner, not the scolding) on the topic of antique Persian carpets, or perhaps it was his embrace of all things modern when it comes to social media, promotion, and brand awareness. Maybe it was the juxtaposition in this forced dichotomy of a man who on one hand promotes himself via Instagram and the like, yet eschews most modern carpet production; I cannot help but wonder his process of deciding what modern things to accept and what to reject. Maybe it is his near zealous obsession with quality and the rare or his love of video games and pop-culture. Regardless of how, it is the latter which brings us to be talking about and with him today.

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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 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.

Read more
Jan Kath by Kyle and Kath - the New York City outpost of the venerated carpet house - hosted 'BORO: The Art of Repurpose.' | Image courtesy of Jan Kath.

Boro | The Art of Repurpose

In October 2016 Jan Kath by Kyle and Kath – the New York City showroom of the eponymous brand – presented ‘Boro: The Art of Repurpose’, an innovative presentation of authentic Boro garments paired with the firms like inspired carpet collection as well as the contemporaneous bespoke Boro fashions of Kuon. Spanning the intertwined realms of interiors, history, and fashion the exhibition revives the wisdom of the ages as it were, presenting it as one must, polished and now in high regard.

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Guests from Turkey and delegates from afar gathered on Friday, 7 October 2016 for the Gala including the 10th Annual IHIB National Carpet Design Awards. | The Ruggist.

Istanbul Carpet Week | A Must!

Although the inagural Istanbul Carpet Week took place almost six (6) months ago the impact and importance of the event has not dwindled with time. In fact, only now in a state of relative calm, removed from the incessant urgency and demands of instantaneous satisfaction imposed upon the media landscape of today can I truthfully and thoughtfully convey the importance of not only this event, but of more events like this in the future. In short, I believe this blend of educational conference, gala celebration, business to business meetings, and cultural and information exchange – something the antique carpet community has long encouraged to various degrees – is key to the long term survivability of our industry.

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'Camara' in colour 'Oxblood' by New Moon shown on loom in Nepal. | Image courtesy of The Ruggist.

Inspiration to Presentation | ‘Camara’

In November of 2016 we caught up with John Kurtz, his daughter Erika Kurtz, and Erika’s adorable six-month old daughter Izzy in Patan and Kathmandu in Nepal. Erika – who now runs the business as John is in active retirement – was more than happy to explain and illustrate first hand what constitutes this much touted difference as we all toured the various facilities used to produce New Moon carpets. From initial inspiration to final show presentation, follow along as we examine ‘Camara’ by New Moon which debuts during DOMOTEX in Hannover, Germany the 14-17 January 2017.

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The Second Annual 'Un-Official Selections' of the Carpet Design Awards 2017 by The Ruggist

Un-Official Selections 2017

The Carpet Design Awards recognize annually the best in handmade carpet design and are, to quote, ‘a coveted international badge of excellence in quality of execution and uniqueness of design for modern hand-made carpets.’ As with any design competition however there are caveats. For instance, entrants and thus winners – with the exception of those in the ‘Best Studio Artist Design’ – must be exhibitors at DOMOTEX which obviously restricts the pool of eligible carpets. As such, it is best to think not of the Carpet Design Awards as ‘the world’s best’, but rather think of them as one would of cinema, with the Carpet Design Awards as the DOMOTEX equivalent of an Official Selection during Cannes. Similarly just as movie critics will critique with superior air, so too must those who judge rugs chime in on what is – in their opinion – hot, hot, hot.

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Vase with Fish and Aquatic Plants Motif by Yuki Hayama shown against 'Sea Tangle' by Joseph Carini Carpets. - The Ruggist | Image courtesy of Joseph Carini Carpets

Beauty of Life by Yuki Hayama

Joseph Carini Carpets hosted the debut United States exhibition of ceramic works by Japanese artist Yuki Hayama from 9 September through 29 September 2016 at Mr. Carini’s eponymous TriBeCa carpet showroom. The showroom served not as mere gallery to the magnificently detailed work of Mr. Hayama, but rather as a veritable collaborative studio in which hard – in the form of ceramics – was juxtaposed against soft – in the form of the carpets Joseph Carini designed after being inspired by Mr. Hayama’s work. A visual delight where the contrast of two (2) disparate artistic endeavours begs the viewer to delve deeper into the notion of creativity, inspiration, and a true understanding of craft.

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Born in the Purple - Viron Erol Vert - Art Carpets - The Ruggist

Born in the Purple | Viron Vert

A prima facie and bona fide example of carpets as art which explores society, family, and expression.

Like many topics related to the esoteric world of handmade rugs and carpets – and indeed of civilization broadly – different perspectives, different attitudes, different life experiences, different perceptions of the one true reality all influence how one reacts. Art, specifically the notion of carpets and rugs as art is by no means an exception, and it is this idea which routinely finds its way into the marketing and sales of rugs and carpets. ‘Art for the floor.’ and countless of other permutations of this tagline exist today just as they indubitably have existed since mankind first discovered the trade of rugs could be profitable. But ‘art’ is no clearly defined term. Contemporary usage leads one to understand many skills, artforms, and crafts as art. Cooking for example, or painting, or sculpture, to name but a few. Art, perhaps in an elitist attempt to winnow away the chaff, is also categorized into distinct sub-groups. Fine art, decorative art, folk art, classical art, again to name but a few.

Read more
Use a Trusted Cleaner - Weaver and Loom - Toronto, Ontario, Canada - Odegard Tile - The Ruggist

A Trusted Cleaner | Weaver & Loom

Discover what it means to trust a qualified professional and to live with fine handmade carpets.

In the Spring 2018 issue of Rug Insider Magazine I authored an article titled: ‘Proper Care and Cleaning.’ The premise was and remains simple; to explore what it means when a rug dealer says a good quality handmade rug will last a lifetime with proper care and cleaning. As a former dealer of rugs myself I know I have said this phrase, just as I know far too often no further detail is provided. To push further, what is one to do when one is told to have a rug or carpet cleaned by a reputable or trusted rug cleaner? What does it mean ‘a trusted rug cleaner’ and moreover, how does one even go about finding a trustworthy cleaner? To answer these questions and to provide a bit of detail as to what happens when a rug is cleaned I took the opportunity to document – with the assistance of my cleaner Weaver & Loom – the cleaning of one of my own rugs. This is what happened.

Read more
Jan Kath and More! Over Coffee

Jan Kath and More! | Over Coffee

A casual conversation with Jan Kath about rugs and carpets turns intimate before the opening of Jan Kath in Toronto.

Meeting a German requires a degree of punctuality and though I was not yet late, I was concerned that I would be as the cab driver zig zagged his way through the gridwork of Toronto streets, dodging streetcars and a seemingly inexhaustible supply of orange safety vests, construction cones, pedestrians, and incomprehensibly slow and distracted drivers. My anxiety mounted as he asked me which route I would like him to take as if I was some navigational savant. ‘I just need to get there as fast as possible,’ I replied. My appointment was for 15:30 and when the driver pulled to the curb in front of the Gladstone Hotel where I was staying and entertaining Kath, the clock on my phone read 15:23. Safe! Then Jenni Finlay, partner of Findlay and Kath, messaged: ‘I’m so sorry. I didn’t get Jan out of here on time. He’s in an Uber now but is running late.’ I am sure I rolled my eyes, laughing internally at the situation. I took a few moments to head up to my room in order to preen myself before returning, settling into a very comfortable lobby sofa to await my guest.

Read more
Embargo On... Again | Iran Sanctions - The Ruggist

Embargo On… Again | Iran Sanctions

The United States once again enacts an embargo on Iranian made rugs; this time by themselves.

Pursuant to this directive once the first wind-down period ends on 6 August 2018, the government of the United States will revoke several JCPOA related authorizations regarding sanctions on Iran, namely: The importation into the United States of Iranian origin carpets and foodstuffs and certain related financial transactions pursuant to general licenses under the Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations, 31 C.F.R. part 560 (ITSR). Further information regarding sanctions can be found from the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC). In short, importation of Iranian made carpets into the United States after 6 August 2018 will – once again – be illegal. No other country currently has plans to enact an embargo on Iranian made carpets.

Read more
Nepal Ascending - The Ruggist

Nepal Ascending

How a focus on quality and differentiation can revive the carpet industry of Nepal.

I have thought long on this, in fact since November 2016 and I do not in any way claim to have the answers save one: I know if nothing is done, the facts speak for themselves. I have friends in Nepal who envision a guild of sorts which would certify the quality of workmanship and materials. I have other friends in Nepal who would join this guild if it meant they would sell more carpets. I see the possibility of this guild idea growing to include export organizations, and NGOs from the West. I see the Guild bringing together Nepalis, Tibetans, and Westerners with a renewed ‘we can rebuild’ attitude like that which existed in that ‘brief shining moment’ that was the aftermath of the earthquake; earthquake also as allusion to the long decline of Nepali weaving. I call upon any concerned importer or maker of Nepali-Tibetan carpets to if not join me and my colleagues in working toward this concept of Guild, at least acknowledge a new approach must be had. For those who feel as I do, that a more unified voice is required, that more can be done both here in the West but more importantly in Nepal as well, and that the status quo is less than acceptable, I welcome the opportunity to talk with you personally so that we can – collaboratively – truly give back to Nepal.

Read more