Saturday, March 03, 2007
The Turks turned out to be legit. They swing this way every year, working their way through the South and Southwest, to sell any carpets they failed to sell at the big Atlanta carpet show.
So a van filled with a million dollars' worth of Turkish carpets turned up in our driveway this afternoon, and Ali and his partner, whose name was something like Silber, unloaded several dozen of them and spread them around our great room.
The first carpet they unloaded was a large madder-red carpet with a black and gold geometric design. (Last year we bought a madder-red carpet with a black and gold geometric design from their Cappadocian showroom. They had our data! This was totally unfair!)
"We brought this one for you," Ali said.
We admired that carpet--- it was like the one we'd bought last year, only higher quality and larger--- and tried it out under the dining room table. It looked like it belonged there.
I didn't want to dicker till my friends turned up. By now I have begun to get a handle on the ways of Turkish business. "Can I get a commission on anything my friends buy?" I asked. Ali said yes, indeed I could.
Nine friends turned up. I'd been expectiong more. Ali and his friend began to unroll carpets.
All were hand-made out of wool hand-dyed with vegetable dyes. Some were geometric, some had flowers. All were traditional patterns except for the geometric types, where the patterns are unique to each family. Each had the pile hand-knotted to the warp and weft with the Turkish double knot. Each was a unique work of art.
So we started with smaller carpets. Then the carpets got bigger. Then the carpets got more elaborate, with silk mixed in with the wool to make the patterns jump. The colors shifted depending on what end of the carpet you were standing on. The richer carpets shimmered when they moved. We said "ooooooh."
Then we saw sumaks, which are woven carpets without pile, but with brilliant designs in silk embroidered on them. Then we the carpets woven entirely out of silk--- shimmering brilliant colors, and luxurious to the touch. These were seriously unaffordable. We said "aaaaaaah."
By the end of the show, there was a foot-high pile of carpets in the great room.
Only two of our friends bought, but one bought five or six carpets, including one of the silk ones.
The whole time everyone was sorting through the carpets they had chosen as possibilities, there was one carpet that we all quite liked, with pale red colors that literally shimmered as we looked at them, but it wasn't suitable for any of our houses.
It took Ali and his friend about 45 minutes to stuff all the unsold carpets back into their van.
Soon all business was concluded except for ours. There was the big 6x9 madder-red carpet on which our dining table had been sitting for the last three hours. And we had tried various carpets on the living room floor, because with recent alterations the living room has become a little dark, and I thought a carpet in there might brighten it.
On a hunch I put the orphan carpet there, the one that everyone liked but that no one could figure out how to fit in their home. It looked wonderful. Suddenly the living room was a warm, bright, homey place. I talked to Kathy. We both liked it a lot.
Time to dicker with Ali. Time to dicker like hell.
He pre-empted me. For the big red carpet, he offered it for the same per-square-foot price we'd got on the Cappadocian rug--- except the new one was higher quality, and the Cappadocian price was amazingly good in and of itself.
And the plucky orphan rug that everyone had liked? That was free. That was my commission.
"We should do this every year," Ali said. "Make it a tradition."
Ayah! Call me next February!
We had three guests left by the time all business was concluded. We sat in the hot tub and watched the sun set and the partial lunar eclipse climb up through our cottonwood tree. A sublime way to end a glorious day.
When I came into the house, I discovered that one of the cats had vomited on the new kitchen carpet. It's now been baptized into the family.
Then we went to the Luna Mansion for dinner, which was yet another triumphant conclusion to a day already full of triumphant conclusions.
I'm uploading pictures of the new carpets, but they don't do them justice. The pictures are a moment frozen in time. The carpets change--- they shimmer in the light, the colors always moving.
After I'm done with this post, I'm going to go roll on my carpets. I like to get tactile with my acquisitions.