Posts Tagged ‘carpet’

Simply Odegard

May 31, 2011

Finding a rug for your home is hard… but Odegard makes it really simple.  Their designs, color, quality, lasting durability, and humanitarian story make Odegard simply the best.

You can find these rugs and many other rugs on Sale at the SR HUGHES TENT SALE, June 3-5!

KWGS: Stephanie Odegard: Sustainable Design and Social Responsibility

April 14, 2010

Stephanie talks with Rich Fisher.  Follow the link below to hear and then visit Philbrook April 15th at 5:30 to learn more.

KWGS: Stephanie Odegard: Sustainable Design and Social Responsibility (2010-04-14).

Designer Weaving a Better World

April 13, 2010

Apples and Oranges

April 10, 2010

In our current retail economy, we have seen an explosion of lower end copies designed to look like their higher end counterparts.  From mid-town to downtown, the streets of New York are filled with vendors and their carts.  It is a virtual global market where products ranging from purses and scarves to jewelry and watches are sold at amazingly low prices.  The day following the Oscar awards, knock-offs of red carpet couture gowns are designed to be sold for a fraction of their original cost.  But we aren’t really fooled.  We know what we are buying.

When it comes to home furnishings what justifies a higher cost? Interior designers are working daily in a business where finite budgets run up against infinite wants and needs.  If all products were created equally there would be no issues.  Of course, the least expensive item could still be the best choice.  At SR Hughes, education is an ongoing process designed to help the client make an informed decision.

Purchasing a quality area rug for your home or business can be a substantial investment.  The finely crafted rugs from the Odegard Collection are known for their unique designs, quality construction and depth of color.  They are works of art, handcrafted in Nepal by master weavers specializing in a technique dating back to 2000 B.C.  Let’s look at what truly sets these rugs apart from their lower priced imitations.

The process begins with a unique, lanolin rich, long staple wool which is highly compact and elastic.  Wool from much drier regions tends to be shorter and made up of fibers with very little oil, making it brittle and susceptible to pilling and felting.  After being sheared by highland nomads, the virgin Tibetan wool is carried to Nepal where it is hand carded and hand spun into yarn.  These yarns are far superior to the recycled wool which is the basis for many less costly rugs.  This type of lower quality fiber has irregularities in color and texture and does not hold knots well.  Pile falls out more rapidly and the rugs do not hold shape for long.  Many are also chemically washed which strips the lanolin from the wool and weakens the fibers.

The next step is an age-old dyeing process which uses minerals and botanicals that are indigenous to Nepal and India.  Like cooking or wine making, recipes for these dyes are passed from person to person.  It is the continuation of a cultural tradition connecting work life with nature.  The cost is higher but in direct contrast to chemical dyes, vegetal dye is harmless to humans and protects the environment.  The dyes permeate deeply into the long fibers providing exceptional luster and depth of field.  The yarn is also resistant to fading, staining and abrading.

The rugs are then woven on vertical looms creating an interlocking foundation with up to 120 knots per square inch.  Thousands of hours are spent weaving, combing and carving the rugs by hand.  Lesser quality carpets are often woven by machine and without this strong interlocking knot method.  Natural fibers and the artisan’s hand elevate these rugs into contemporary pieces which now grace the exceptional interiors of museums, restaurants and homes around the world.

And in the end, the production of wool uses a fraction of the energy used to make synthetic fibers.  No synthetic carpet fiber will ever have the natural or inherent qualities and attributes of these natural fiber rugs used daily by commercial and residential clients alike.  The “Good Weave” label also insures that the carpets are made free of child labor and allow a living wage to be paid to adult craftsman and workers.

“Sustainable”, “renewable”, “non-toxic”, “biodegradable” and “socially conscious” — these are all important buzz words that apply to Odegard carpets and furnishings.  So, before you consider buying an inferior “throw away” product, consider all of the positive aspects of owning one of these exceptionally beautiful and long-lasting textiles from a company which has been successful in raising the standard of living for thousands of people.

Do you see the difference between apples and oranges??

Wool Is Sheep’s Clothing…

April 9, 2010

…and happily, for humans, that clothing can be “sheared” and “shared” (with no harm to the sheep!)  Wool is one of the earth’s most versatile fibers and so complex that modern science has not been able to duplicate or synthesize it.

But have you ever wondered why things labeled “wool” can feel and wear so differently?  Types of wool vary according to breed and climate.  And the absolute best wool for quality rugs and carpets comes from the fleece of sheep that live and graze in one of the most extreme climates in the wold.  High in the mountains of Tibet at 14,000 to 15,000 feet above sea level, the sheep have evolved a highly efficient covering.  The story of an Odegard rug starts with this unique fiber.  The end result is an amazing work of art which can last for generations and can also benefit entire communities.

But let’s look at this story from another angle.  What is the price of quality?  When faced with the choice between rugs which, at first glance, may look very similar — Buyer Beware — all rugs are not created equally!  And some rug production is actually harmful to people and to the earth … but more about that later.

A higher price may be one reflection of quality,  But while shortcuts during manufacturing can produce a lower price, most often true quality and sustainability are compromised.  So before you place a rug in your home, take some time to think about not only the look and design, but also your investment and what type of manufacturing your purchase is supporting.

At SR Hughes, we are proud to represent Odegard for what we think are all of the right reasons.  In the next installment of this blog, we will look at the life of an Odegard rug.  From the wool to the weave, we will see what sets it apart from one of lesser quality.  And a bonus … Odegard furnishings are eco-friendly and people-friendly!

Odegard’s Journey

April 8, 2010

The travelogue of Stephanie Odegard’s adult life gives voice to artists and craftspeople in developing countries.  How did she arrive at this place?   She grew up in Minnesota where, as she recalls, “Whether it was bread or a porch, somebody was building it or making it or designing it.”  So, the notion of using her own two hands to shape the world around her was no strange idea.  And although she heard of far away places where missionaries were helping people in poorer countries, she’d never been anywhere.  But luckily, a job as a buyer at Dayton Hudson and owning a textile arts business eventually led to world travel.

By the 1980’s, after years of work for the Peace Corps and World Bank, Stephanie ended up in Nepal working as a consultant for the emerging carpet industry being developed by Tibetan refugees.  Nepal afforded the people relative safety and the prized, lanolin-rich wool of the Himalayan sheep that graze above 14,000 feet.  Living among the Tibetans for several years helping to stabilize their wool market, she was uniquely poised to assist them with translating their goods into a commercially viable entity which she hoped would elevate their standard of living.  She was convinced that producing high-end crafts would create a need for more skilled and better paid workers. It would also revitalize and grow a disintegrating part of their culture.  On the other side of things, it meant someone would want to purchase their product.

Stephanie sought to do this without disrupting the distinct cultural heritage of Tibetan craft.  Her experience in marketing and selling for a major department store and managing her own business had familiarized her with consumer buying habits and motivations. She understood that using only the traditional motifs and constructions of the Tibetan rug industry would make rugs too limited for the people she imagined as her buyers.  She added her artistic sensibility to the process by making sure we see the traditional handmade craftsmanship and the people behind the product and by introducing colors and designs that play forward the story of the artisans she employs — visible traits of every Odegard carpet.  “My goal is to employ as many people as possible. People first of all need to have their stomachs full before they can think straight about how to educate their children and how to better their lives in real solid ways . . . .” she says.

Today, Odegard‘s experience, artistry, and heart enable her to employ more than 10,000 people.  Add to this her staunch commitment to Goodweave, an organization which certifies that carpets are made without child labor, and you can sense the indigenous culture of Tibet and Nepal in every handmade carpet while knowing that no person has been exploited in its manufacture.  Travis Price sums up the journey succinctly, “She has looked at the mythology; she’s tapped into it in a modern venue.  That keeps the culture alive;  spirits are reborn into the modern industrial realm.  She’s on the cutting edge of what needs to be done globally.”

Stephanie Odegard visits Tulsa

March 1, 2010

Renowned Rug Designer Stephanie Odegard to Speak at Philbrook Museum April 15 on “Sustainable Design and Social Responsibility”
Presentation in observance of Earth Day‘s 40th anniversary

Internationally renowned rug designer Stephanie Odegard will speak at the Philbrook Museum of Art at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, April 15. In observance of Earth Day, Odegard will present “Sustainable Design and Social Responsibility.”

Recognized as one of the interior design industry’s leading figures, Odegard will illustrate techniques used in the hand-knotted rug industry of Nepal as well as share highlights of her journeys in remote places with traditional artisans. The presentation will demonstrate her pioneering designs and environmentally sustainable practices and how a socially responsible business provides for and enriches a dignified way of life for artisans and their families.

From 5:30-6:30 p.m., Odegard will demonstrate her process, and visitors will have a chance to enter a vegetable dye identification contest in the Patti Johnson Wilson Auditorium, Philbrook Museum of Art, 2727 S. Rockford Road.

Philbrook and SR Hughes, the Tulsa interior design studio and showroom that is the sole Oklahoma dealer for Stephanie Odegard hand-crafted rugs and home accessories, are partnering to bring Odegard to Tulsa.

Stephanie Odegard is leading the way for socially conscious carpet manufacturing today,” said Brian Hughes of SR Hughes. “She helped revive Nepal’s carpet industry in the late 1980s by commissioning and importing Himalayan wool rugs, and she continues to be a force today in helping developing countries promote and preserve their traditional artisan crafts. Tulsa is extremely fortunate to have this award-winning designer come to speak at Philbrook.”

Odegard and her company also are deeply committed to the RugMark Foundation in its fight to end illegal child labor in the worldwide carpet industry. All Odegard® carpets bear the GoodWeaveTM label by RugMark, which assures that no child labor was used in their making.

Odegard has received numerous awards for her design talents and for her commitment to social progress and philanthropic accountability, including the 2009 ASID (American Society of Interior Designers) Individual Product Prize, the 2006 Mountain Institute Award for Excellence in Sustaining Mountain Livelihoods, and the 2004 Aid to Artisans Award for Innovation in Craft. She also was named a 2004 “Giant of Design” by House Beautiful Magazine, and received the 2001 Peace Corps Association Business Symposium Award for Entrepreneurship.

Tickets for Stephanie Odegard’s April 15 presentation at Philbrook Museum are $7.50 for adults; $5.50 for seniors (age 62+), and free for youth 18 and under. For more information, go to www.srhughes.com or www.philbrook.org.


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