Saturday, June 19, 2010

Rugs as art + Saturday yard sale

A carpet covered trunk from Landry & Acari

During the North Shore Design Show held at the Wenham Museum in May, I was able to sit in on a number of design lectures that were scheduled over the course of the week. While in attendance, I took lots of notes (along with many snapshots) knowing that I would share what I learned with my blog readers at a later date. Today I will discuss some
really large works of art ...

A loom was brought into the museum to
demonstrate the art of carpet weaving.

Jerry Acari holds a Chinese Art Deco carpet designed
what looks like a Guardian Lion or Foo dog.

Many varieties of rugs were displayed from Landry & Acari’s oriental rug gallery. Jerry Acari, who has been in the rug business for over 40 years, is a noted expert on oriental rugs and often lectures on the who, what, when, where and how behind these functional works of art. Each piece is representative of quite likely a year or two of concentrated human effort, in which teams of weavers combine their heart, soul and spirit to create their textile masterpieces. It really is amazing how much cultural information can be found in each of these carpets, especially if you know what to look for ...

I like how this Sardis carpet from India and the
old-fashioned jar of marbles on a sill in the
lecture room shared the same colorways.

Persian Sarouk,
circa 1915

In general, carpets that are produced by hand are often more visually interesting than those produced to the exact standards and measurements of a machine. Sometimes there will be a change in thread color (the weaver ran out of the original choice), or different types of wool may be used depending on market availability at the time, and some carpet ends may even stop short pattern-wise because the rug makers were ready to call it a day! Modern carpet makers, like Karastan, often try to emulate these unplanned –
yet distinctive – pattern variations.

This Art Deco carpet from Turkey
dates back to around 1925

In the photo above, the rug in the center, with its symmetrical and curvilinear pattern, is called a “city
rug. City rugs are created in heavily populated areas that are exposed to the influence of a
variety of world markets.

tribal” rug is often asymmetrical in pattern, with a wool foundation, done in a wide variety of colors. This type of carpet, like the Karabagh from Azerbejan above, is more representative of family or tribal influences over outside markets.

This wool and silk Suzani tapestry was created by a tribe in Turkmenistan and features fine needlework and brilliant colors. Bold geometric patterns like this are a popular trend in design right now.

A bridal spread (used for a newly married couples bed) is created by village women combining pieces cut from their embroidered shawls, stitching them
together with golden threads.

Rugs often have different looks from one end to the other. On the one above, you can see how the color of the flowers in the center rectangle are lighter at the bottom, with more pinks and whites, while the top has more navy and scarlet blossoms. When you lay a carpet in your space, walk around it and take a good look from each angle before deciding upon final placement. The effect of light and dark can be dramatically different! Inquire about taking a carpet home to see how it looks in your home before purchasing ... it is the best way to know for sure if a rug will work with your design plan.

An interesting story: S
ynthetic red dye was often applied by hand and paint brush to the tips of each carpet strand of a multitude of imported rust colored Sarouk rugs over a period of twenty years that were originally ordered to be an oriental red (the rose colored strands unexpectedly changed to rust as a result of alkaline in the finishing process). Then in the 1990’s, these same rugs were often stripped back to their original rust colorings by a company that is still based in Poughkeepsie, NY. Trends come and go, but it seems a well-made oriental will last forever!

This carpet was custom-designed by Landry & Acari to coordinate with the colors and design of an oriental pattern. This is a good way to add a
modern look to a traditionally-styled room.

Today’s technology of communicating via the internet has considerably decreased the production time of carpets made over seas, not to mention it is easier to achieve the desired end result when images can be sent back and forth with the click of a mouse! It is not unusual to see a tent on-site with a computer set up so that the rug foreman can relay design and pattern information to the talented team of weavers. If you were to order a custom rug today, you are likely to receive it in 4 to 5 months instead of having to wait years for your work of art to arrive.

Think of the design possibilities!

To read more about Landry & Acari and their
commitment to their community, click here.

For information about the Good Weave campaign that works to end illegal child labor in the carpet industry and the companies that support the mission of
the Good Weave program, click here.

To donate to Barakatworld, an organization working in Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and Boston to support the education of children and women of carpet-weaving communities by building schools and providing free education, visit

And don’t forget, carpets
aren’t just for floors!

Kilim Footstool from Landry & Acari

For ten tips on choosing
the right carpet, click here.

If you are local and in the market for a new rug, head over to the one-day yard sale that Landry & Acari is participating in at the Beverly Depot parking lot (Saturday, June 19th only). Maybe you will find the perfect combination of pattern and color that you have been looking for? You will surely find some beautiful carpets worth a closer look. Also at the sale: Circle Furniture, Designer Bath, and Moynihan Lumber. I just might have to head over myself since our kitchen and bath are still gutted without anything to put in them! Click here for photos from last years sale.
Happy hunting!

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