Sunday, November 6, 2011
Featured Article in the Bellingham Business Journal!
7:56 pm pst
Friday, February 25, 2011
Things to Consider when Buying a Rug
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COLOR & DESIGN
-It can be helpful to bring your samples to the gallery when shopping for a rug. Color swatches,
fabrics, tiles, and other samples will help you in deciding the direction you want to go.
-The color and design
of the rug will largely set the tone of your space. Often, the first question we ask a customer is where the rug is going.
Is this a formal dining room or a casual family room? A rug perfect for the kitchen may not be the right rug for a bedroom.
The right rug will give off the energy appropriate for the space- formal and elegant, warm and inviting, calm and relaxing,
clean and contemporary; there are rugs for every setting.
-Rugs of different designs can play well together- there
is no rule that says they need to match. In fact, it is almost always more interesting to incorporate into your home several
types of rugs and designs that play off of one another.
Saturday, January 29, 2011
Things to Consider when Buying a Rug
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-An appropriate sized rug will tie your room and furniture together. When visualizing what size rug will
work in your space, it can be helpful to create an outline on your floor with masking tape or even a sheet. In some spaces,
one room-size rug looks best; while in other spaces, several smaller rugs look better. Try several options.
when going with a single room-size rug, it looks best to go with as large a rug as is comfortable in the space. However, there
is no rule about whether the furniture should sit on or off the edges of the rug. Be flexible and open-minded with your design
ideas when shopping for rugs. Often it is the particular rug itself that will tell you what looks best.
forget about what you think will look best in your space.
Rugs can surprise you- don't ever disregard one because it's not what you originally envisioned. If you put it on the
floor and it feels right to you, you will never
Friday, May 21, 2010
Natural Dyes vs. Aniline Dyes
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Natural dyes are dyes made from the natural world, including plants, insects, and sea life. Until approximately
1860, carpets in Iran were made entirely of naturally dyed fibers.
When natural dyes, an organic element,
are combined with another organic element, wool, the result is a color that will never be constant. Over time, the dyes in
these rugs will change and mature; morphing into beautiful, sophisticated tones that can only be achieved with age.
In the late 19th century, aniline- or synthetic- dyes were introduced through Europe and weavers were often
tempted into using them, as they saved countless hours of forgaging for and processing plants and other ingredients in order
to produce the large vats of vegetable dyes.
Aside from their convenience, synthetic dyes are inorganic,
and thus when combined with organic wool, the resulting color is so much more predictable. In some rugs, this constancy comes
at a price- for example the gorgeous shades of red resulting from natural dyes may be replaced with an electric red that lacks
character and depth. However, synthetic dyes are nearly always used in city-woven silks and wool-and-silks in which the artist
is seeking symmetry, constancy, and perfection.
In the world of natural and synthetic dyes, one
is not "better" than the other- they're just different. You can't beat an antique madder or cochineal red, but a
natural "black" turkoman dye can be much more corrosive to the wool than a black synthetic, and a silk Qom demands
an on-point color that a tribal does not. Ultimately, a rug should speak to you, and if it achieves this goal, whatever dyes
were used, whether natural or aniline, must have been well thought out and carefully chosen by the artist.
Synthetic dyes on a wool and silk Tabriz
Natural dyes on a tribal Turkoman
Thursday, February 4, 2010
The Nap of a Rug
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In rug weaving, knots are created by looping yarn around pairs of warps and cutting off the standing end. The cut off ends
of the knot become the pile, or the nap, of the rug. When looking at the rug from the "bottom" (where the rug was
started), you are looking against the nap, with light being absorbed into the pile of the rug making it appear darker. When
viewing from the "top," you are looking toward the nap, and the light is bouncing off the rug making it appear lighter.
Often, these are referred to as the "dark side" and "light side" of the rug. Depending on the length of
the nap, this change in color can be subtle or very drastic, but it is present in every handmade rug.
no real right or wrong way to look at a rug, it is purely personal preference. When putting a rug on your floor, it is important
to try looking at it from both directions. Depending on your space's particular lighting, one direction will instantly "look
It is simple to see the difference between the "light" and "dark" sides when comparing
two identical rugs, first when viewing them each from opposite directions, and then when viewing them both from the same direction.
Opposite directions, showing the "light" vs."dark" sides
Same direction, both showing the "dark" side
Thursday, December 3, 2009
Hamadan: Older than History
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Located in the mountainous western Iran, Hamadan is among the oldest cities in Iran; and dating back to 3,000 BC, it one
of the the world's oldest continuously inhabited cities. With a history going back to the bronze age, Hamadan has of course
fallen under the rule of countless regional powers including the Medians, Achaemenids, Assyrians, Mongols, and Ottomans, even
being mentioned in the Biblical book of Ezra. Obviously, Hamadan has played a major part in the history of the region.
as a city and province has long been known for it's exceptional handicrafts, especially rug making. Carpets from this region
incorporate designs from the approx. 1,500 surrounding villages. On average, two distinct designs have been produced from
each village, giving an astonishing 3,000 different types of Hamadan rugs.
Made of high quality, thick wool, Hamadan
rugs are heavy and substantial. A distinctive feature are single wefted edges (a single weft utilizes one piece of yarn woven
throughout the rug). Another identifying feature in Hamadans is a geometric diamond or hexagon medallion pattern, usually
with medallion-and-corner design, or all-over boteh or Herati. Common field colors include red, blue, dark brown and
camel, with motifs and outlines often in black, green, and gold.
Carpets from three different cities in the Hamadan province
Thursday, October 1, 2009
The Pazyryk Carpet: History's Oldest Rug
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In 1949 during an archeaological excavation in the Pazyryk Vallery in
the Altai Mountians of Siberia, a discovery was made that would change the world of the Persian rug as we know it. Frozen
in a perfectly preserved royal grave, an intricate carpet was unearthed. Radio-carboning dating places the piece back 2500
years, to the 5th c. B.C.. It is important to note the level of skill and intricacy displayed in the weaving indicate a long
history of carpet-weaving tradition. This is the oldest complete carpet ever found. Although dubbed the "Pazyryk"
carpet after the valley in which it was discovered, there has been some controversy over who exactly produced this incredible
carpet. It was discovered in a royal, yet nomadic tribal grave; leading many to believe it is of nomadic origin. However the
design is clearly Persian. So the question becomes: is it a nomadic rug with a Persian design, or a Persian rug acquired by
nomadic people? After a close study of the design and style of weave, the general consensus seems to be that it was indeed
woven in Achaemenid Persia, having migrated through trade to Siberia. Now on display at the Hermitage Museum in Leningrad,
the Pazyryk carpet is an amazing testament to the advanced level of artistry and sophistication seen in the 5th century Eastern
The Pazyryk Carpet; the world's oldest complete rug
Friday, August 7, 2009
Not just a rug...
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"Because the eye can see in a moment encompass the whole surface of a rug it is assumed that it can be seen at a glance.
But no worthy piece gives up its meaning so lightly. Its inner beauty is revealed only to a sympathetic and leisurely observation
which knows how to read the pattern. The finer examples are often as elaborately composed as a symphony and as sensitively
organized as a sonnet. The elements of the design are like notes in a melody or words in a poem: only as they are individually
understood, interpreted and assembled is their meaning made plain. In order to see a rug, therefore, it is necessary to sense
the quality of each component part, to feel the manifold relations of the parts to each other and to comprehend them all in
a harmonious and significant unity. The great carpets are ready to declare their glory, and a wonderful glory it is, to those
and only those who will make this effort of attention."
-A.U. Pope, 1926
Saturday, June 6, 2009
The Gabbeh: A Centuries Old Nomadic Tradition
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Gabbeh is a word meaning natural, raw, or uncut. Although often referred to as modern or contemporary,
the Gabbeh has actually been woven for centuries by the nomadic tribes around Shiraz (such as the Qashqai). Originally produced
for personal use by the weavers themselves, they have only been exported for commercial use in relatively recent years.
Gabbehs are ultra thick, extremely high-pile, and always simple in design. They are seen in bright colors such as red, blue,
or yellow, with vegetable dyes always being used. Often they are completely undyed, woven just with natural color sheep wool.
To accent the solid field, geometric designs are occasionally featured, and may include small animals, trees, or people- cheerful
images inspired by nature and the nomadic life. Heavy and plush, the Gabbeh is an excellent choice for any place you want
to take off your shoes and relax- kids rooms, living rooms, bedrooms, bathrooms, etc. With their thick pile and high-oil wool,
they are extremely durable- perfect for entryways and other high-traffic areas.
A beautiful example of a Qashqai Gabbeh featuring designs inspired by nomadic life,
such as goats, trees, and primitive human figures.
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Shiraz- The City of Poets, Wine and Flowers
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Shiraz is much more than just the namesake of the well-loved grape. Approximately 4,000 years old, this city
in Southwestern Iran has had a rich cultural history. In addition to it's long Islamic history, it is a holy city and
pilgrimage site for the Baha'i faith, and is also home to some of Iran’s few strong Jewish and Christian communities.
Shiraz is famously home to two of Persia’s two master poets, Hafez and Saadi. Their elaborate tombs are visited
by thousands of Iranian and foreign tourists alike each year. With a backdrop of extensive mosques, shrines, and ancient gardens,
the ambiance in Shiraz is palpable.
At the foot of the Zagros Mountains, the climate in and around the city is mild.
It’s sheep produce exceptionally soft and beautiful wool that takes incredibly deep colors when dyed, making it ideal
for rug weaving.
Shiraz rugs are usually geometric, featuring nomadic designs and bright colors. Designs inspired by
the nearby ruins of Persepolis are also commonly seen. Shiraz is a major trading center for rugs woven by surrounding nomadic
tribes, most notably the Qashqai. The tribes and villages around Shiraz are famous for weaving not only their traditional
carpets, but also kilims and jajims, which are great for use as rugs, bed coverings, table coverings, wall hangings, and more.
Covering the tomb of Hafez, this magnificent dome is
a great example of the tiled ceilings in mosques and monuments all over Iran that serve as inspiration in the designs of many