December 26, 2007

End Of Year Sales & Hand Knotted Persian Rugs

Filed under: Economy — Tony @ 4:35 pm

Today I pushed through the throngs of bargain shoppers into the biggest shopping week of the year. There were many stories of brands scooped and the sense of satisfaction was self evident. It was a classic end of the year sale.

I got so caught up I popped into a major retailer to get some cheaper T shirts . I could have picked up some echo T shirts near my house- I didn’t. . Clearly I am also well trained- I am unfortunately blindly price sensitive!!!. I got sucked into the economic argument. I am a product of our time so I know how hard it is to make the connection between what I buy and real people, the absolute difference between synthetic made and one of a kind chemical free are rugs the environment and justice. Its very tough. Not to mention that sentence is a mouthful. How do we say Rugs that deliver justice to the environment and the people therein ??? (suggestions are welcome)

But I know what is right. In spite of myself in 2008 I am going to ramp up’s organic, pesticide and chemical free purchases. As for Brands, well I will support artists who produce one of a kinds and I will be less price conscious. Or should I say I will work harder to appreciate the value and cost of hand knotted Persian rugs.

In 2008 you can expect linkage between your hank knotted rugs and the individual weavers. I want to make a connection between our unique Persian rugs and the weavers. I want us all to know that that when one buys a hank knotted Persian rug that you are buying a rug that it is unique and that has an artists name attached. Their names range from Mahsa’s, Farida, Aslan, Amir, Alexandra to many many more. Real people. I want to introduce you to the families and the weavers. Like you I want to know there is care and connection between what I consume and real people.

PS I met with a software company that may solve the issue of the connection between the artists of Persian rugs and the product of area rugs and carpets- look for it in 2008.


December 22, 2007


Filed under: Economy — Tony @ 5:46 pm

QUESTIONABLE RUGS FROM WALMART- Here is what happened I saw a couple walking away from WalMart with a mass produced machine made area rug. It was also synthetic. Yikes- and they were happy!!!!!!!.
Your thoughts_ please share.


Filed under: Social Justice — Tony @ 10:19 am

In my tiny neighborhood coffee establishment they offer FAIR TRADE and ORGANIC COFFEE. Those coffees sell out first. What a change. Two years ago no one noticed but the winds of consumer change were blowing and now justice, environment and labor really matters. Did any one miss GLOBAL WARMING ??

As a rug lover I am deeply encouraged that the rug industry is taking note. We have to its the right thing. The Rugmark Foundation is a wonderful international nonprofit organization that is working to end exploitive child labor practices in the carpet and rug industry and give educational opportunities to children in India, Nepal and Pakistan. I was amazed to learn that sales of child-labor-free rugs have increased by nearly 30% per year since 2004, out pacing the overall U.S. rug industry sales.

The good news is dozens of rug importers and retailers are joining the struggle and RugMark’s membership has grown exponentially. is a RugMark supporter. The winds of change are blowing and I welcome it.
Story on Child weavers
Rugmark Foundation
Research on Rugs and Child Labor

December 21, 2007


Filed under: Uncategorized — Tony @ 12:13 am

I teach a marketing class and last night I blew the neural pathways of most of my students by injecting the thought that beauty is there in age, lines in the face, worn skin, and white hair.

It was a hard sell so to add to their confusion I had brought along two swatches of area rugs. One machine made and a spectacular piece of elaborately patterned Italian design.It had a sheen and plushness and sculpting that Michelangelo could have taught

Then I pulled out a had knotted 400 kpi silk and wool rug. It wore its years very well considering its forty full traffic years.

What do you think they thought? PS I will give away a free Persian runner for the best analysis or similar story. The runners can be seen at

December 15, 2007


Filed under: Economy — Tony @ 7:39 pm

I am fascinated by what it takes to be an artist and a craft entrepreneur.Its so honest and so different from Machine made rugs that are soulless duplicates. Comparing broadloom and machine rugs is crazy. I am not going to compare hand knotted rugs with machine made rugs. I support the artists. I want to put back “soul” into a world that has lost its sight and cannot tell the difference between a synthetic rug that is chemical laden and a chemical free rug and an organic rug. We are crazy. Is it because we are slaves to consumerism?
While you think about that.

Take the USA and the struggle for liberty. Some of the most beautiful arts and music of struggle of people for liberty and worth came out of the US. There are many examples but think of the singing in the cotton fields when slaves were working today is called “call and response.” A leader would sing out, or call, a line of a song then the other workers would respond. The process set up a rhythm to work by.

Artistic expression and shared voice are critical elements of liberty. No joke.

I see that in the tribal area rugs of Iran. I can hear the call and response in the rugs and the weavers song. One works another responds and in the warp and weave of the ares rugs is the story most of us miss on CNN etc. More of that next week. Till then keep your eyes open and enjoy the music of craft, art and hand knotted rugs. They tell a story worth listening to.
PS I hope to share a CNN video about who the weavers are – just waiting for clearance.

Jazz Area Rugs and call and response

Filed under: Economy — Tony @ 2:00 pm

A little about call and response in area rugs and jazz. When the tribal weavers work they work in groups for months. The harmony you see in the designs speaks volumes about the spirit of the ensemble. Months later they have created an artistic area rug and its beautiful. Listen carefully when you read a rug. Correct me if I am wrong but what I see is an art piece of love and harmony. Doesn’t that remind you of jazz?. I think a tribal Gabbeh has all the hallmarks of a Jazz score in cloth. Its all call and response
Look at the Gabbeh and listen to the stunning example of call and response at work in jazz from the late great B.B King. Imagine the weavers as you listen to the giants of jazz and soon you to will read area rugs very differently.
I guarantee it. When you watch the video keep your ear tuned to the ” call and response” a hugely democratic process. One player passes off to another-B.B to Clapton and be ads his interpretation and on it goes. Its art/jazz/humanity in action. Thats how I read tribal rug creativity.

December 14, 2007

Jazz and Tribal

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tony @ 10:41 pm

Today I stumbled across a series of brilliant blogs about rugs and music. First the fit with hand woven rugs was dubious. Then I found echoes. In music and the ensemble pieces you have all the formal patterned creations. In music the classical pieces are the hand knotted traditional rugs. Then you have the wild and free in the Tribal rugs. The bold strokes, flashes of colors, deft moves , new patterns and that is Jazz. Think Congo square. Think New Orleans. It is the freestyle, the call and response and the fact that the piece is incredibly collaborative. Jazz in rugs- music in rugs. And best of all like Jazz hand knotted tribal rugs are musical scores.
Here is an example of a Gabbeh tribal rug that reads like a score. Its from the nomadic people of Iran who work collaboratively and who draw their inspiration from nature and their surroundings. This one has a hard repetitive beat. In a few days I will share one that is scored differently. Call this early Congo square. Here the early slaves from Africa got together and played a music of call and response. It was a collaborative team effort. It was vibrant but not nuanced. The way I read this rug in the same way a group of tribal hand knotters with traditional rug skills got together. One knotted and then the next followed. Pure jazz. Call and response in tribal Persian rugs which in this case is at an early level and is its guttural. Bare bones. But beautiful. Somewhat melancholic actually.
A Jazzy Gabbeh RUGMAN


December 8, 2007

Walmart and Ikea are Twins

Filed under: Economy — Tony @ 9:07 pm

I should add machine made rugs from Wall Mart need to face up to their origin,pricing and labor issues. Ikea has the same issues but slightly different. They to distribute mass produced machine made rugs. Rug sellers need to get real and lead the way in showcasing natural products, where the wage is just to the workers and craft and art is celebrated.


Filed under: Economy — Tony @ 8:54 pm

Broadloom and the average machine made rug are a disaster and are so environmentally unfriendly. For Gods sake who misses that point Poly something in a rug is disastrous. Chemicals in carpets and area rugs are bad for you and its bad for mother earth.
Get real _ cotton or wool_ and better yet organic. ore likely the culprit causing your family’s discomfort can be directly traced back to the chemicals used to make your beautiful area rug. Area rugs and carpets that are manufactured and chemically treated before shipping to stores, can emit chemicals into the surrounding air. Sometimes called out-gases. The fibers from area rugs and new carpeting are often treated with certain chemicals can be toxic to children, pets, and others with sensitivities. When it comes to carpeting, there are several chemicals to be on the lookout for, but the major one is used in the manufacturing of area rugs and carpeting is: formaldehyde.
Its a witches brew so what I cannot figure out is why consumers so quickly buy area rugs that are toxic. Buy a Persian rug that uses natural wool and vegetable dyes.
Google Research
Chemicals in carpets

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