Name: John Kurtz, New Moon Rugs
Title/position/work: Co-owner; nationally renowned Oriental rug dealer and historian
Years in the industry: 30
Geographic location: Wilmington, Delaware
Area of expertise: Exclusive, newly designed, high-end rugs from Nepal; antique rugs
What are your general thoughts on the design and production of carpets and rugs?
I feel it’s important to keep creating wonderful rugs that will be well thought of a generation or two from now. We have that opportunity now because we’re riding a wave of interest in hand woven rugs and creative production in the industry. People are making some pretty nice rugs again, and we have alternatives to the department store stamped-out product. We really owe it to the future to create truly beautiful things.
How has the hand woven carpet industry changed throughout the years?
Basic weaving has changed little for thousands of years, but the peripheral functions related to rug creation certainly have. When I began my business 13 years ago with my partner, Sulochana Shah, a well-known Nepalese human rights activist and businesswoman, we hand-wrote messages and waited weeks for postal replies. With the advent of fax machines, our business continued to progress. Now, of course, everyone is “online” and computerized. Weavers, however, still take several months to make a room-size rug. The intriguing magic of hand weaving should not be rushed or digitized.
How do carpets or rugs come into play with sustainable or green design?
Rugs have historically been an anchor of comfort and beauty in the home. And, they are sustainable – they last, which means you won’t have to toss one out every few years. Most importantly, rugs and carpets play a deep and powerful aesthetic role in that you can create your own sustainable environment. Buying well-chosen rugs is a multi-lifetime investment.
How is sustainability reflected in your work?
We have expanded our base of product materials to include some things that can be considered usefully sustainable – natural fibers, nettle plants, and plants that produce jute and cording can be woven into rugs. It’s more of an economic expansion that provides a renewable resource that’s indigenous to Nepal. It has a self-perpetuating, sustaining effect because people can make a living on something that grows in their backyard and has other properties that negate the need to dye it. So you can produce a wholly sustainable product without dyes or harsh chemical washing.