Persian rugs and Oriental carpets have long been renowned as elegant design decor that conveys refinement and good taste; they were even regarded as great status symbols back in 1500s and 200 years beyond. The floor coverings were considered too precious to actually put on floors, instead adorning tables, chests and walls. The origin of Persian and Oriental rugs goes back so much further to 3000 B.C. (Nomadic tribes in Mongolia and Turkey used camel and sheep hair from their herds to weave carpets to keep earthen floors warm) and to 1000 B.C. (rugs with 300 knots per square inch were already in existence). Persian rug-making evolved to such a degree, producing various distinctive patterns and styles that are linked to at least 40 rug-making Iranian cities or villages; and the rugs have been prominently showcased in art, literature and music for thousands of years.
“We have a long history of admiring Oriental rugs,” says Fort Worth interior designer Joe Minton. “They’re a beautiful thing to use in a room. I just really love them and I’ve come to know a lot about them in my business for 40 years. I like to educate people about them.” Did you know that a true Oriental rug is hand-knotted, woven one knot at a time. The terms “”hand-tufted” and “handmade” can be misleading; a rug can still be machine-made (the average weaver can tie as many as 10,000 knots per day; a 9-by-12-foot Persian rug with 500 knots per square inch takes four or five designers six hours a day, six days a week and about 14 months to complete (at least).
Many Persian rugs and Oriental carpets are tucked away as taken-out-once-in-awhile treasures, but many expert rug-makers disagree with this choice: “Rugs are like paintings,” says Ben Shabahang, owner of Shabahang Empire Rugs in Southlake, Texas. “It’s art. But that doesn’t mean you tuck it away and ignore it. These types of carpets are meant to be USED. Used and worn and enjoyed forever.” A hallmark of many Oriental rugs are their ‘flaws’; two designers might start weaving a rug from opposite sides, adding their own unique touches (mistakes or artistic deviations?), while weavers of Persian prayer rugs are known to purposefully put in irregularities into their creations (to serve as a reminder that humans cannot duplicate divine perfection).
Shabahang and other rug retailers say it’s important for those retailers to research their suppliers, and for consumers to find dealers whom they trust. Consumers should also ask questions about their carpet sources; don’t settle for vague responses (Source: “Art you can walk on” by Elaine Rogers, McClatchy Newspapers-The (Sunday) Vindicator, June 29, 2014).
(Lamp) Shades of Style
The shade is what determines whether the lamp fits the space, the purpose and the style you have in mind. A quick and usually inexpensive change of shade can transform a tired lamp into something fresh and new. Here’s a few things to consider:
- Know the space you want the lamp to go into and how much room for a shade there will be: Will a larger shade fit underneath those shelves above? Will the view obstructed? Will the shape work with the table the lamp sits on?
- Remember to choose a shade not only for the color you’d like to see in a particular room, but also for the amount of light you’ll need the lamp to produce (color and opaqueness can greatly vary from shade to shade).
- Tole shades and some dark ones allow light to be cast only vertically; lighter shades allow for more ambient light.
- Matching the right size and shape shade with a lamp is very important; most of all, hardware should be covered by the shade (you may need to replace the harp that the shade also stands on, to lower the new shade over the switch and socket. If possible, try to measure your lamp in advance-www.shadesoflight.com offers an online guide of lampshade size and measurements), but you can also bring your lamp to a store and try on shades. Either a specialized lighting store or a big box one are good options (Source: “Style statement” by Elaine Markoutsas and Cindy Dampier, Chicago Tribune (TNS)-The (Sunday) Vindicator, September 13, 2015).