Thursday, Nov. 3, 9:00AM
Theodore (Ted) Mast has studied Near Eastern rugs, rug weaving cultures, collecting, and scholarship since 1979, and earned a Ph.D. in Folklore and Folklife from the University of Pennsylvania. He has curated exhibitions, including Highstyle to Homestyle at the Woodmere Art Museum in conjunction with the Philadelphia 1996 International Conference on Oriental Carpets. He has lectured, taught, and published widely, has advised museums, collectors, producers, and dealers, and is a contributor to Hali magazine. His presentation, The Rugs We Inherited, The Rugs We Created, recounts the evolution of the decorative rug market during the last century and will focus on examples typical of what ARCS members are likely to encounter.
Around 1900 there was a bifurcation within the sphere of Oriental rugs. Producers and dealers responded to the lucrative American market with large decorative rugs by standardizing designs, colors, and sizes that sold best. Harsh synthetic dyes replaced natural dyes to reduce costs, and machine-spun yarns became standard. Parallel to this was a small, dedicated number of scholars, collectors, and enthusiasts who believed the best rugs had already been woven, and rug weaving was in rapid decline. By comparison, new rugs had little more status than machine-made rugs, and in time, with rising costs of labor and materials and diminishing sales, the new rug market was approaching extinction. Yet a few aficionados realized that in a few rustic villages, the weaving quality was intact, but the use of synthetic dyes made their rugs virtually unsaleable. A German educator, Harald Boehmer, lead research in the ‘70s to rediscover the art of natural dyeing, and with cooperation with faculty members from the University of Marmara and the Turkish Department of Forestry, the natural dyeing project ( DOBAG) was initiated in 1982. Although their efforts were largely academic and intended to benefit village weavers, it inspired George Jevremovic, a Philadelphia-based dealer - turned producer, to develop the most artistic rugs of the century, and by the late ‘80s, had influenced rug producers throughout the world.
ELLEN AMIRKHAN: ARMENIAN SECRETS AND WHY YOU DON’T NEED TO KNOW
Thursday, Nov. 3, 10:30AM
By the late 19th and early 20th century, many Armenian immigrants were engaged in rug sales, cleaning and repair, achieving near total domination of the oriental rug business. The making, selling and cleaning of oriental rugs was viewed as closely guarded secrets held by a few. Armenian rug cleaners invested tremendous amounts of time and money to learn their craft and naturally wanted to protects their interests. In order to understand this mindset, we have to understand where our forefathers came from and the unspeakable crimes against humanity that they witnessed and endured. Beyond the doom and gloom, growing up in an Armenian rug cleaning plant definitely had its eccentricities. You didn’t know any different so you thought it was normal. Learn to “keep your eye on the overhead”, the Armenian way.
ELLEN AMIRKHAN'S BIO
Since 1980, Ellen Amirkhan has served as president of Oriental Rug Cleaning Co. in Dallas, Texas, a business started by her grandfather in 1911 that specializes in cleaning, repairing, appraising and selling oriental rugs. A Past President of Association of Specialists in Cleaning and Restoration, Ellen holds the designations of Certified Rug Specialist and ISA CAPP. She is a co-developer of the Master Rug Cleaner Program, co-author of A Comprehensive Guide to Oriental and Specialty Rug Cleaning and the video series Unraveling the Riddle of Rug Identification, and serves as an expert witness for the legal profession.
Thursday, Nov. 3, 1:30PM
Paul Iskyan has been a Manhasset resident for 60 years. He attended St. Mary’s High School in Manhasset and went to Northeastern University in Boston MA on a full athletic scholarship to play ice hockey. At Northeastern Paul majored in Business Administration and graduated from Northeastern’s five year program in just four years. During his hockey playing days at Northeastern, his teams achieved two major accomplishments. In 1980 they were the first NU team to win the prestigious Beanpot Tournament, College hockey’s oldest and most coveted event. Then in 1982 the same NU team went to the NCAA final four and competed for the national championship in Division 1.
After graduating in 1982 Paul joined his family business and has worked for Rug Renovating (established in 1896) and is currently the President of the company. Rug Renovating is located in East Orange NJ and is the largest and one of most prestigious rug cleaning, repair and restoration organizations in the Country and employs 50 people. Paul has achieved the title of Certified Rug Specialist #55 as recognized by ARCS: Association of Rug Care Specialists.
In addition to running Rug Renovating, Paul also owns and operates a business that sells and installs window film as a certified 3M Prestige Dealer in the tristate area and employs 11 people. The name of the business is; TriState Sun Control Corp.
Finally, Paul is also involved in a startup company called; The Jox Company, which manufactures and sells Athletic and Medical core support compression shorts attached up a back-support belt. Paul and his partner currently hold 3 U.S. patents and international patents.
Paul lost his brother and seven friends in the 9/11/2001 attacks on the World Trade Center. Paul and a handful for friends started a very successful charity and named it Tuesday’s Children with the mission of helping the families who lost a parent on that fateful day. Paul has been an active board member, charity supporter and is the only remaining founder member on the Tuesday’s Children Board of Directors. Paul has worked with other non-profit organizations over the years but Tuesday’s Children holds a special place in his heart.
Paul is married to Pamela Iskyan for 34 years and they have two wonderful and successful children, Jacklyn and Samantha. When not working Paul enjoys playing ice hockey, golf, working out and spending time with friends and family.
MICHAEL CHRISTIE: THE RUGGIST
Thursday, Nov. 3, 3:00PM
Michael Christie is an internationally recognized hand-knotted rug and carpet aficionado, conceptualist, and commentator. A respected stalwart advocate of hand-knotted rugs and carpets, his stern and discerning critiques reflect adherence to quality, craftsmanship, and holistic sustainability as the foundation of a vibrant and prosperous carpet trade. Known widely as ‘The Ruggist’ his writings appear on his own website and social media channels, and in the past have appeared in COVER and HALI Magazines, ECS Nepal, Nepal Carpet Magazine, as well as Rug Insider Magazine; he likewise served as Editor of the latter from 2017 until 2020. Since 2018 he has served as the Brand Ambassador of Handmade Nepalese Carpets for the Nepal Carpet Manufacturer's and Exporter’s Association (NCMEA) and his ongoing fieldwork in the country of Nepal continues to foster both this work and a forward-looking perspective on adapting carpentry to the needs of this era and the future. Christie is also a novice weaver who has researched, designed and built his own upright looms, teaching himself the craft of carpentry in order to better understand the nature of weaving and the role individuals play in the commerce of luxury handicrafts.
Friday, Nov. 4, 8:30AM
1977 founded and operated a successful professional residential and commercial carpet & furniture cleaning service, water damage restoration company, and an in-plant rug washing business before selling them all 3-1/2 years ago. Operated all 42 years in Ann Arbor Michigan.
Additionally, during that era, I co-founded Centrum Force in 2007, followed by Centrum Force Fabrication in 2012. This allowed for building our own equipment in-house that year. We thus became a verticle company that designs, builds, and sells our own machines. Next, bought the MOR Time Saving Equipment in the summer of 2012. Since, have been servicing, supplying parts, refurbishing older machines, and producing new machines. MOR now celebrates 73 years of existence.
Since 2019, I have been the sole owner of all the Centrum companies and MOR Time Saving Equipment located in Michigan. I continue to teach and consult.