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Living In A Rug Family

Posted on July 28, 2012 by Susan Brouwer

My father had a floor-covering business. When I was little he took me with him sometimes and I saw him lay linoleum, often with fancy inlays. I remember a rooster he carved out of linoleum and laid into the main material of a kitchen floor.

He stocked some tufted wool rugs as time went on.

When he retired at a youngish age, my mother decided she’d become an oriental rug dealer. She was a wiz. It was a time when many people remembered growing up with oriental rugs, but then they had gone out of fashion with the onset of wall-to-wall carpeting in many homes. Some customers remarked to me that they remember small oriental rugs being put in the dog’s bed!

My mother took me with her to San Francisco and New York from time to time to visit her sources for rugs. Exposure to the rugs combined with her enthusiasm and love of the rugs she brought into her shop were contagious. One day I saw a Persian Afshar in her store, which I fell in love with and purchased from her on a lay-away plan (at a discount, if I remember!) I have it next to me to this day and continue to treasure that rug.

My mother acquired many rugs of her own, which have been passed down to my brothers and me: a very fine silk and wool Persian (Iranian) Nain, some quirky, dense “iron rugs,” another name for Persian Bidjars, Turkish rugs from the ‘70s and ‘80s that were made by rug makers bringing back handspun, vegetal dye rugs as part of the “rug renaissance” that was taking place.

I consider myself to be very lucky to have been exposed to the beauty and character of wonderful handmade rugs and to have been part of this amazing Renaissance. Hand-knotted rugs, now more than ever, are to be treasured, as fewer and fewer people are involved in the skilled and labor-intensive craft of rug-weaving. (See our related article on “Current Trends in the Rug-Making World”).

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