Authentically Kooches - The Ruggist

Authentically Kooches!

Around this past Labour Day I had the pleasure of corresponding with a long term friend and colleague named Tom DeMarco. Through a series of emails we discussed his carpet ethos and methodology and how the decisions he makes regarding his carpet construction contribute not only to their quality, but also to their mysterious je ne sais quoi of desirability. Without further adieu, I present a unique behind the scenes look at the creative process that defines one man’s vision for making an authentic carpet in this day and age. Ladies and gentlemen: Kooches.

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A Passion for Rugs | Christiane Millinger - The Ruggist

A Passion for Rugs | Christiane Millinger

‘It was the loveliest party that I’ve ever attended, if anything was broken I’m sure it could be mended.’ – They Might Be Giants. This opening quote, like so many random quotes, has been taken out of its original context and dropped headfirst into the void allowing for a new meaning more suited to the purpose at hand. For unlike the song from which the line originates, there are no socially inappropriate connotations to be had, only the simple sincerity of the words at face value: It was a lovely party – hosted by the passionate Christiane Millinger – and with certainty had any carpet inexplicably sustained damage the fastidious Ms. Millinger would have been able to execute the repair.

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Nepal Ascending - The Ruggist

Opportunity or Opportunistic | Nepal

‘Now everything is back to normal.’ are the words that remain vivid in my mind. They had been spoken by a Nepali carpet maker as we discussed the current situation in Nepal. A mere (4) months hence from The Great Quake of Nepal and everything is back to normal. Despite the somber loss of life, the destruction of sites historic and otherwise, and the untold problems currently facing those in Nepal, everything is normal. Normal. He is not entirely wrong. Everyday people get up and go about their lives, perhaps differently than they did prior to 25 April 2015 perhaps not, but living their lives none the less – including of course making carpets. It’s a simple reminder that while the toll – human and otherwise – may have been severe, it could have been far worse. For those now in Nepal, life must move forward, infrastructure must be repaired or rebuilt, work must continue. As we find ourselves at this arbitrarily defined anniversary of sorts we must now wade into a discussion of what role the carpet industry plays in genuinely helping the Nepali people rebuild their country by asking: are we the well intentioned partners we imagine ourselves to be or are we modern day carpetbaggers?

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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.

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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.

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