How is it that a woman in mid life steps off the solid ground of the predicable and known in Canada and leaps into a pile of carpets and textiles (or make that zillions of piles) in Istanbul, Turkey? This is my story.
It starts in Canada with an introduction to Dr Lloyd Erickson, a carpet collector living in Edmonton. We met at an exhibition at the Nickle Arts Museum at the University of Calgary that I attended with my husband. We were there to hear Jim Burns, another collector/scholar who was a expert lecturing at the museum. Jack and I were planning our first visit to Turkey on a holiday. On arriving in Istanbul we met Dr Erickson there again, purely by chance in a city of twelve million people. He then tucked us under his wing and took us along introducing us to the dealers that he was buying from in Istanbul. I was the proverbial sponge soaking in every tidbit of information and Dr Erikson, a university professor, was a born teacher who had on his hands a keen student full of questions and enthusiasm. On our return to Canada I noted to my husband that those few days in Istanbul were the highlight of our travels for me. It had been years since I had been so fully engaged. The colors, smells, language, culture and especially the carpets and textiles filled my mind and my eyes.
As I entered this new world I had the vision of someone opening a door and I was peeking through the crack of the door and what I saw was the volume of knowledge that I did not have. Somehow Dr Erikson provided me with a glimpse of the depth and complexity of the world of carpets and textiles. I was like a dog with my tongue hanging out, panting in expectation of running loose in that field, of what for me, were undiscovered delights.
So it began. On one hand I didn’t know what I didn’t know. I did know that I had an excellent trained eye but there was a world of specific knowledge and insight that I was missing.
Have you experienced those moments in time when for whatever reason there are flashes of profound clarity? On my first buying trip I was with a young Kurdish man (I still know and contract restoration work to this individual). We were walking through a narrow stone passage into the interior courtyard of an old Ottoman Han. I was stepping over a pile of garbage and in that instant everything converged; the light, the smells, the hunt, and I knew with every cell of my being that there was no where else on earth that I wanted to be and nothing else that I wanted to be doing. I was perfectly content and completely engaged.
Twenty years later and I am still entranced by the beauty of the woven art of Turkey, Persia and Central Asia. I am a carpet dealer of huge passion with the unique business model that allows me to work for specific individuals sourcing carpets and textiles for their homes and for collections.