Sunday, December 28, 2008

How to learn about Oriental Rugs!

As a person that has made the enjoyment of Persian rugs and Oriental rugs a part of my life, I am often asked the question, "How can you tell if the rug is any good?"

That is a big question but the answer is very simple. Look, feel and touch as many rugs as you can. A "good" rug will attract your attention over and over and no matter how many times you look it, it will hold your interest and give you the gift of the weavers art. Pretty colors entwined in detailed or simple designs created from the heart!

I had a very sweet gal at my gallery yesterday and I noticed that most of the rugs that were catching her eye were Turkoman pieces. If you're not familiar with these, many of them have a design element that closely resembles an octagon, set in rows upon a red field. See the above photo. I decided to give her a little more instruction so we proceeded to look at all the Turkoman rugs at my shop. After about 20 minutes, she got it and now can identify a Turkoman rug!

I have observed that there are a certain number of collectors, dealers or students of the art of hand woven textiles that like and actually try to keep the subject so esoteric and incomprehensible that my guess is 99% of the weavers would not even listen to them. Statements like, "Is the wool a Z or S spin?" In simple terms that means the spin of the wool is either to the left or the right. Is this really important? I think not!

How about, "Is the rug pretty?" Do you feel a spark of intense interest or happiness when you see it? How does the wool feel? Is is soft and silky or rough and dry? Do the colors work harmoniously together? Is there something special going on with this piece that commands your attention?

Sometimes the most wonderful rug will be interesting in a subtle way and slowly talk to you. Almost like a song you hear for the first time and but don't quite get. After a few more times of hearing it, you begin to get a feel for it and enjoy it, and finally, you can't wait to hear again and each note exquisitely bring you joy.

The three rugs you see here are: a Turkoman rug, a fantastic Persian Tribal rug, sold long ago and a blue Turkish rug that appears to be getting lots attention on my site! The Persian rug was my favorite for the simple reason that the more I looked at it, the more beautiful it became! A very good rug!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Why I becam an Oriental Rug Dealer

The first time I noticed my interest in rugs was many years ago when I was working at the Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles. As you might not know, this is a gorgeous old hotel that is frequently used in movies, one of which was Beverly Hills Cop. The lobby is quite regal with soaring ceilings, strategically placed palms and Oriental rugs! I remember when I got the job. I was a waitress at the time, serving cocktails in the lobby and all I could talk about were the rugs in the room! The beginning of the beginning!

Fast forward 15 years and I am now working at a sales job in Seattle, Washington. Selling inexpensive machine woven rugs (which is almost a crime, if you're an Oriental rug dealer, which I am now!) but anyway I had a client that was interested in a hand woven rug. I had one contact at the time, a dealer which I am still friends with today. I asked him to bring me a few pieces for my potential buyer. I remember this as if it were this morning. He opened the few rugs he brought and one of them knocked my socks off! Literally. It was a gorgeous old rug from Afghanistan. From the knowledge I now have, it was an unusual Turkoman piece.

The rug haunted me and stayed in my mind for almost six months! I never did sell that couple a rug but ended up, buying this rug for myself. I would go to my friends store and stay for the longest time, just looking at the rugs. It was very difficult for me to leave...dreamed of working there and even asked him for a job but it was naught.

I had the worlds smallest rug collection after a couple years and decided I would ultimately get my own store and expand my rug collection. Sometimes it's hard to tell whether I enjoy selling rugs more or buying them. If you sell a person the right rug, they are so happy, it is actually great fun. I know I'm doing OK when I go to the post office and a past client sees me and exclaims, "I love my rug!" Not, hello, how are you? Which is fine with me! I've never been one for social banter anyway...just get to the point.

This is not the easiest business to be in and for the first 3 or 4 years, I was never able to keep anything I purchased for my business. I had to leave all the special pieces in my inventory for sale. Then I decided I had worked hard enough and there was a particular rug that was generating so much interest but no buyers. I let my assistant know that if the rug was still there by the end of the week it was mine. Well, it is mine and still one of my favorites!