It was an amazing treat to have such a great view of the Doylestown Historical Society’s dedication ceremony of a historical marker at State and Main Street. The marker was set in place to honor The Lenape Native Americans important role in Doylestown’s history.
Native Americans from the Delaware Valley and elsewhere were dressed in magnificent traditional costumes in vibrant bright colors that showed off beautifully in the afternoon sunlight. Many families lined the streets to enjoy the dedication that was highlighted with a spirited performance of traditional dance and music.
The importance of our Native Americans’ history and current crcumstances has always been one of my great interests. While travelling in New Mexico we were fortunate to have the opportunity to visit reservations and view their rich heritage of hand-woven textiles and pottery. Nejad Gallery has also proudly supported the ANA Americans for Native Americans nonprofit organization that raises money for humanitarian efforts in the Southwest, started by the late attorney Bill Eastburn and his wife Connie.
If you happen to skim through recent issues of interior design magazines such as Architectural Digest, Elle Décor or Veranda you may have noticed a growing trend of very prestigious designers incorporating worn or even threadbare oriental rugs into their gorgeously appointed rooms. This trend seems to transcend styles ranging from very formal and traditional to transitional and even contemporary.
In my own Nejad Oriental Rug Gallery in Bucks County, PA, we have seen a surge in the number of designers and clients, especially from Philadelphia’s Main Line, Princeton New Jersey, New York and Washington DC suburbs, purchasing antique Persian Rugs that have a good amount of wear and fading. Earlier this month, a client brought in the recent Wall Street Journal Magazine June 2012 featuring renowned furniture maker and interior designer Christian Liaigre’s home on the Rue de Verneuil in Paris. One of the photographs highlighted a beautiful antique threadbare runner in his hallway. This rug had exactly the look my client wanted for his Manhattan apartment and with our enormous inventory of Antique Persian and Caucasian Rugs he had a fantastic selection from which he purchased several small and large area rugs.
As a designer, I always find it interesting to watch how these early trends find their way into the broader furniture and accessory markets. One example is the recent launch of Restoration Hardware’s Deconstructed Furniture Collection which is made to look unfinished or old shabby chic. Another example is the increase of distressed finishes offered by leading furniture, lighting and accessory manufactures.
Embracing this trend, this month I have begun preliminary designs for a new rug collection that will feature traditional Persian Rug designs such as Heriz, Serapi, Mohtashan, Kashan and Mahal in muted vegetable dyes with plenty of abrash and simulated wear. I am working closely with my master weaver on the best techniques to accomplish the look of wear without compromising the structural integrity and longevity of the rugs. If all goes well, I should have the first samples of this collection in Doylestown by the end of the year.
Last week I lived up to my New Year’s resolution and began a long
delayed project of scanning decades’ worth of oriental rug import
and design documents that completely fill one large room of file
cabinets. My goal was to clear up space and have easier and more
permanent access to these materials. What I got was a walk down
memory lane and a reminder of how technology has dramatically
changed the way handmade oriental rugs get to market.
Imagine this. I wake up one morning with wonderful design ideas
for a new Oriental Rug collection. After several weeks of drawing
designs and painstakingly rendering them in color, I airmail
these designs to my overseas weavers to have 3’ X 5’ corner
samples made. (If you have visited my Doylestown, Pennsylvania
showroom you would have undoubtedly seen many of these lying around.)
After waiting usually three months, a package arrives with my rug
corner samples. Opening these packages is always exciting yet nerve
wrecking because the rug samples could be better than I had imagined
or a disaster. I am happy to say I have had many more positive than
negative package opening experiences. Even when a rug sample does
turn out well, I still repeat the sample making process two to six
more times to fine tune colors and pattern placement. A full scale
rug usually in a 6’ x 9’ size is woven and shipped to me for evaluation.
Only after my final approval does a rug design go into production,
sometimes taking over twelve months before receiving the rugs to sell
Fast forward a bit…THE FAX MACHINE is invented. This was big, I mean
really big. Now I could cut my rug design charts into carefully numbered
8×11 sheets and fax these rug maps overseas with about ten pages of color
note diagrams. Because my weavers and I work with the same sets of yarn
colors, we could change rug shades easily. Sample correction drawings
could also be faxed. The fax machine knocked off about ten weeks from
the design process.
Fast forward again, and the INTERNET becomes available to the public.
Now, all of my rug designs are scanned in color and emailed in a matter
of seconds. My hand drawn corner designs are easily copied and pasted
to scale. (If my rug design is asymmetrical, I still hand draw the entire
design.) Woven sample corners are photographed and emailed back to me.
Needed sample corrections are instantaniously transmitted and entire
finished rugs are photographed overseas in close up detail for my approval.
What used to take sometimes over a year is done now in a matter of a
few months. Of course the actual hand weaving of the rugs still takes
the same amount of time it did centuries ago… and that is just fine by me.