The Grumpy Carpet Dealer - Please don't name your rug Melissa
Ok I admit I am in a ranting mood but after a week of Instagram rug posts with tag lines of
' Tony would look fabulous on your floor '
' Melissa is looking for a new home '
' Lauren will brighten up every space '
' Micheal has the most beautiful vintage hues '
I feel as if I want to scream in horror or groan in just plain dispair.
I know it's good marketing technique to personalise your product and in this day and age of global consumerism and 'instamusthaves' you have to do the best you can with a couple of hip lines and targeted hashtags to make your mark.So my rant is not a criticism of those sellers who name their rugs but more a reflection on this recent rug 'naming' trend.
As a bit of a rug purist my toes curl and my lips purse when I see a vintage hand-woven rug, crafted in time honored tradition by nomadic women, given a very western name to make it 'more' appealing. I feel this deliberately or inadvertently denies the original weavers' right of ownership and any aknowledgement of her many months if not years of work and creativity. The fact that the western names chosen bear no resemblance to the Turkish, Afghan or Iranian origins of the weaver, or the rug, increases a further disconnect from the beautiful traditions of the piece and the environments where it was created.
To add insult to injury, these rugs are primarily woven by woman, so when a late night instagrammer sees a darker more masculine palette to a rug and without a second thought or a nod to the rugs' origins anoints it as 'Jonathan' or 'Michael' it's enough to make my feminist bones rattle.By not acknowledging the fundamental 'feminine' in rugs, the weavers' once powerful motifs which symbolised her desire for fertility,unity or even protection, have now been silenced by a clever marketing ploy.
A great many vintage rugs and kilims were not woven for our floors or our homes but woven originally by young woman for their prospective marriage dowries.They would clean the fleeces, collect the plants and vegetation for dyes and hand spin every strand of wool and weave each individual knot and yet they were seldom, if ever, personaly recognized as the extraordinary artists they were. Although many of these rugs came from humble beginnings they have over time made their way into rug stores, interior design shops,
or online sales and still other antique rugs have pride of place in private collections, or those that are rare and exquisitely made are magnificently displayed in exhibitions and textile museums around the world. Yet as rugs were seldom signed it is still incredibly rare to ever know the name of the actual young woman who spent months or sometimes years weaving the beautiful colors and motifs that created the unique story of her rug.
Whoever she was and however sad it is that we don't know her name, in my opinion her anonymity is still preferable to disregarding her creation by renaming her rug to play solely to western sensibilities and consumerism.
My rant doesn't come from a lack of respect for a good sales line, and I do admire many a clever rug post on Instagram,and of course I know that many who are selling rugs online have a passion for rugs as interior design items only, so perhaps they are less interested in the history and origins of the rug and more enamoured by the overall asetic.Therefore my grumblings are not directed at anyone in particular, just at the trend
itself, and my comments really just stem more from a sense of sadness, or maybe its just sentimentality that all that I so deeply admire in vintage and antique rugs becomes instantly unrecognizable.to me when I see a rug named 'Melissa'.
So here is a plea from the unknown and unnamed weaver - please at least recognize the accepted name of the rug or kilim which usually designates the region or the tribe where it was so lovingly made and if you can, let the young women rug weaver from ancient times speak to you through the beauty of her symbols and designs - Save the urge to call the vintage rugs you buy or sell 'Melissa' - save that for those made new by machines and designers - and instead celebrate this unknown weaver and the unique beauty she too so long to create.for you to enjoy.