Thursday, February 3, 2011

Suzanis and Ikats and Gabbehs, Oh My!

Dear Reader -  You know how folks say everything happens for a reason? Well, I had one of those moments this week.

I need rugs for biblion (we gotta cozy up all that wood floor and lovely yellow slatwall, right?). I was bummed 'cause I missed an auction a couple weekends back, losing out on some lovely, accessibly-priced rugs as a result. I'd been thinking about establishing a relationship with a local rug dealer, but I hadn't gotten around to that, yet, in my list of priorities - mostly 'cause I'd heard that the one I'd known of in Lewes was leaving town, and the shape of my days hadn't afforded a drive over to Reho in the last few weeks.

Well, I was on my way home from the recycling center, and I passed the storefront of the Lewes dealer. It looked like they were clearing things out, so I thought I'd stop in and see if there were any deals to be had.

It didn't take me long to find out that my small town understanding of their status was completely wrong: they were not leaving, just reorganizing their space, as the designer who'd been sharing their storefront was likewise re-organizing his Lewes/DC life.

I quickly connected with Josephine Keir, who'd started her business back when she was pregnant with her now 20-something twins (talk about an inspiration for me and Miss C!). She couldn't have been more lovely. She was gracious through my foot-in-mouth-I-thought-you-were-leaving-and-was-gonna-talk-to-your-competitors-in-Reho spiel, and she was enthusiastic about the idea of marketing her artisanal rugs in biblion.

Rugs like this gorgeous Suzani from Afganistan:

Or this hand-spun wool Kurdish:

Or one of her many folk life rugs, like this koi pond from northern India:

Josephine knows her stuff. She told me all about her rugs, most of which are one-of-a-kind, made with hand-spun wool and silk with the highest-quality vegetable dyes. She's all about educating buyers and connecting rug-lovers with one another.

One of her favorite people is James Opie, an expert in Islamic textiles. She spoke with passion about his Afghan Carpet Project to benefit the people of that war-torn nation:

She offered to place some of her pieces toward the back half of our shop, perhaps even adding some on the walls to bring even more cozy-factor.

So that still left the front of the store to address, which I'd initially thought I'd accomplish through another auction; but Josephine cautioned me about buying antique and used rugs at auctions. She said that while you can find some lovely, quality products, there's also a reasonably good chance that second-hand rugs can be infested - eeewww! - with moth larvae or carpet beetles. And then she told me these gruesome horror stories about folks who'd bought infested rugs and had their whole houseful of textiles eaten up - eeewww, again!

Look at 'em! They're so darn tiny!:
And here's a story from another blogger who met them face to face (or face to rug, as it were), replete with a picture of the devastation they can wreak.

Josephine did say that one way to deal with killing the little buggers is the freeze 'em to death. Sticking the rug in a bag and putting it in a deep freeze for at least 72 hours. It's good to know that there's a possible solution.

However, particularly with the thought of having her gorgeous, tasty pieces lyin' on my floor, I'm gonna opt for her other suggestion and buy something new. My wallet has to have a definitive affect on the outcome - either I'll get a really cool new sisal or woven-vinyl piece from her, or I'll just go and get a cheap, short-sighted-but-affordable-for-new-business-owners Oriental at one of the home center stores - we'll see.

But for today, I'm feeling so grateful that I spaced on that auction and so very grateful that I met Josephine instead!

And I'm thinkin' Miss C and I will be doing our own little happy dance on one of her pretty rugs!
Gratefully  - Jenny

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