Welcome from the Board
2020 has definitely thrown us all for a loop, hasn't it?! The struggles of running businesses during these times have been challenging for small and large companies alike. These same challenges demonstrate our members' abilities to embrace the changing landscape with flexibility, creativity and persistence.
Postponing our 10th Anniversary Celebration/Annual Meeting and Rug-A-Palooza were tough, but necessary calls. We love seeing all of our rug industry friends, but safety is first and foremost. With our in-person events delayed, we changed our focus by offering more online content. You may have noticed we are posting on social media an assortment of great rug reference books to help beef up your library in our #rugcleanerbookclub. We also have a new hands-on learning kit in the works that we'll be rolling out in the fall. We are looking forward to 2021 and (hopefully) the return of our in-person classes, events and Annual Meeting!
If you have any book recommendations, problem rugs or COVID updates you'd like to share with us, send it my way at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rug of the Month
By: Craig Bale, Haliden Oriental Carpets
Before discussing my choice for rug of the month, a little bit about me...
My love affair with oriental rugs began in 1988 at the tender age of 20. Whilst working as a laboratory assistant, I met a friend who introduced me to a Dutchman, an avid collector of antique Turkman rugs. One visit to his Amsterdam apartment, after marveling at the mysterious rugs adorning its walls and I was hooked! I soon began reading everything I could on the subject of old rugs and after being made redundant in 1989, decided to become a carpet dealer. Buying from local auctions and flea markets I quickly developed a taste for early tribal rugs, particularly those from South West Persia.
Over 3 decades and 10,000 rugs later, I still have a passion for rugs from this area. There is something about the ancient symbolism, soft shiny wool and shades of vivid natural colour, that still excite me today. It's fitting then that my chosen rug is this Shekarlu, a type of Qasgai rug from the Fars region in South West Persia. I've had many of these through my hands over the years, but this example, dating from the second half of the 19th century, is perhaps the most impressive. The large square format is monumental and the combination of at least a dozen, clear natural dyes and its thick glossy wool lend the piece a translucent quality, like looking at stained glass. The condition too is exceptional for a rug of this age and type, full pile all over with virtually no repair. Probably made for an important tribesman over 150 years ago, it was sold at Lefevre auctions in London in 1978 for £5600, a huge sum at the time. It remained with the purchaser's family for over 40 years before resurfacing at a local saleroom, where it once again went under the hammer, this time coming to me.
I hope you enjoy the rug as much as I do and should any of you find yourselves in the UK come visit me and my rugs in the beautiful Georgian city of Bath where a warm welcome and a warm British beer awaits!
Motifs - Burdock (Pitrak)
By: Meg Walker, Aladdin Cleaning & Restoration
The Burdock Motif is one of dual meaning, the first we'll go over is abundance. Often seen on old kilim flour sacks, the motif has a more factual meaning. The term "like a burdock", means full of flowers... a grain sack full of flour is a symbol of abundance hence the design on grain/flour bags as seen here.
The Burdock is also a cotton-like prickly plant found in rural areas. The plant has burrs that sticks to the fleece of animals (eg. Sheep & goats) and to people's clothing. It is believed to be capable of warding off the evil eye. Below, the meaning behind the burdock motif seen on this kilim is one that fends off the evil eye and its gazes.
Power Jacking Video
Power jacking/jack blocking is a technique that allows for incremental stretching. It is also great for Afghan rugs that buckle and to straighten curved runners. Watch Tim Urback of Atiyeh Brothers in Portland, OR work his magic!
How to Power Jack a Rug