Kabul, 2008: With Mr Jawaid Halimi, owner of Indigo Carpets Ltd, who specialises in custom-woven carpets using all locally-produced natural dyes.
In 1972, I fell in love with the Oriental rug – or more precisely, the sophisticated and visually dramatic flat woven rugs of Anatolia (kilims) during this first visit to Turkey. From this first step it was only a short jump to my being captivated by the beauty and artistry of their cousins, the woven pile rugs and carpets from east of the Bosphorous to Samarkand and beyond.
During the 1970s I stayed for various lengths of time in Konya, Turkey, the remote and ancient biblical city of Ikonium and centre of the Anatolian carpet trade. It was here that through the kindness of several local carpet dealer friends I served a kind of apprenticeship, absorbing the lore and local history of Anatolian weaving as well as learning the Turkish language.
My Gallery on Edinburgh’s famous Royal Mile; closed in 2006 after 24 years.
It was in the summer of 1982 just before the annual August Arts Festivals that I opened my Oriental carpet gallery in Edinburgh, then known as The Mihrab Gallery – the first such specialist business in Edinburgh. During the following 24 years the business developed a solid reputation for its wide and eclectic range of rugs and carpets, fair prices and personal service, qualities important today as they were in years past.
In October 2008, I was invited to Afghanistan by an aid organisation as a consultant and advisor to the struggling country’s carpet industry to assist with export market development. This was followed in January 2009 by my appointment as manager and organiser of the Afghanistan presentation at Domotex, the annual global flooring exhibition in Hanover, Germany and a further assignment that year to assist with the Middle-Eastern Domotex exhibition in Dubai.
Since closing my Royal Mile gallery in 2006, I have continued to source rugs and carpets by request as well as maintaining the other services I have always offered.
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