Posted by R. John Howe on 08-09-2007 11:21 AM:

A Strange, Intensive Juxtaposition

Dear folks -

My wife, Jo Ann and I live in a one-bedroom condo in the city. It's small, short of 800 square feet. Neither of us were collectors when we moved into it in the early 80s. But we both are now collectors of very different things.

Since Jo can no longer breed and exhibit collies she collects anything that looks like one or that has one on it. And I collect a variety of rugs and textiles. The result is that there are a lot of objects in our place and the juxaposition of collie artifacts and textiles is arresting, and not just when you first come through our apartment door.

Below is our living room from one corner.

The furniture is an eclectic mix. In the back center is an 1860 Queen Anne lowboy," bracketed by a "mission style" mahogany chair on the left and a rustic oak one on the right. The coffee table is Scandanavian, with a glazed ceramic top. The sofa is modern and contains a hide-a-bed. The drop-leaf, swing leg table on the left is 18th century Queen Anne. The carpet on the floor when this picture was taken was a 19th century Yomut with a tauk naska gul. Our lighting is all from the side, here mostly from a couple of antique slag glass lamps. During daylight hours we also have some natural light from the windows.

This is the living room from an opposite corner.

The entire wall on this side is a custom light oak installation that we had built to contain and display both collie statues and books.
There is a live champion collie on the sofa. Behind the sofa we usually have two quilt racks that let us display bag faces compactly, but accessibly.

Here are some closer images of parts of this living room from various angles.

The room behind the living room was originally a dining room but is now converted for other purposes.

The image below shows that the left side of this small space is a kind of gallery, with textiles on the wall, but also hung on the vertical side of an antique drawing table. (My original thought was that I might do some textile repair, even modest weaving, using this drawing table.)

The photo below is of my own computer station with more small pieces arrayed for close up appreciation. Jo's computer is immediately to the right.

Standing at my computer station and looking at the opposite wall one can see that part of the "gallery."

I have a waist-high pile of pieces that I rotate periodically to the walls.

Standing in the hallway and looking toward the bedroom on the left and the bath on the right, there is an antique runner fashioned by cutting a strip out of an old Afghan "Ersari" main carpet that has a Taghan major gul. The rest of the pieces on the floor are contemporary and from a coop of of Afghan Ersari weavers using handspun wools and natural dyes. The two chairs are 18th century. (The rug under the Queene Anne chair at the back is a copy of an antique Kyrgyz piece that Joe Fell owns. He liked it well enough to ask me to get another for him.)

Looking back toward the entrance door there is room for one rug, this one, a pictorial from Firdows.

I often have either an Uzbek kilim or a Kurdish or Afshar sofreh on this wall.

I can only show you glimpses of the bedroom which is in disarray. As you enter there is half of an antique Chinese saddle cover on the floor and further in a contemporary Tibetan one.

At the foot of the bed is a contemporary Anatolian yastic from a Michael Bischof project.

My mahogany night stand is early 19th century Pennsylvania.

It has a small Tekke piece on it and part of another of my collections: miniature and broken chess sets.

I'll take Steve's advice and answer Jerry's questions directly (you can see some of the responses above) on the other thread.


R. John Howe

Posted by janet tyson on 09-01-2007 06:42 PM:

Your pictures were what inspired me to post some pictures of my own, although they ended up on a different thread. I love your pile of rugs and love the variety of textiles you have.

Posted by R. John Howe on 09-03-2007 07:15 AM:

Ms. Tyson -

I'm glad that you have been encouraged to share some views of your own "living with rugs and textiles."

Dear folks -

The only piece on the wall in our bedroom is this penny rug which you have seen before, but not "in situ."

Some dealers in antique penny rugs indicate that the border treatment suggests that it was made in New England. Age estimates are uncertain, in part because penny rugs are still being made.

I have been encouraged to add it here because it has recently been published.

It is also an example of some of the strange things that can happen when you put pieces up on the internet. When I first had it, I put up a post, talking about it a bit, and about penny rugs more generally on the basis of what I had found about them on the net (the post is in our archives and can be Googled).

Since then I have been contacted periodically and treated as a kind of expert on penny rugs (I know nothing at all about them). In one case I was asked whether I would be willing to come and speak on them to a group that was making them.

This illustrates a sequence through which one can come to be seen as a kind of authority in an entirely accidental and inaccurate way.


R. John Howe

Posted by Marty Grove on 09-03-2007 09:42 AM:


G'day John and all,

And its true; they are all real, and glowing and so fullfilling remembering you and your good wife share a love of textiles; yours shown indicate so well how you complement each other...

As for your 'penny' piece lastly on the wall, I am sure was made by colonists primarily to scare the indians.

Yep, wonderful John, Im smiling and enjoying - do you smoke by any chance? Its a very pipely atmosphere yours.


Posted by R. John Howe on 09-03-2007 10:02 AM:

Hi Marty -

I have never smoked, but am not entirely allergic to a nice glass of wine.

An '82 red Bordeaux would be nice, if you happen to have any about. Actually, that's probably an unfair request, but Wendel Swan recently put me onto a New Zealand Pinot Noir by Sherwood Estates, 2005. Much like a much more expensive Burgundy. The Sherwood you might actually find and enjoy.


R. John Howe

Posted by Marty Grove on 09-03-2007 10:10 AM:

Glorious Tribal

Ah, the wine... Yes John sure it is there's a bottle of excellent red, but Australian of course, we make the best you know! And Im sure you wont be offended for me saying that, knowing how your own people lay claims

Myself, Im a four week non smoker... and eminently proud - its hard tho'.

A cold turkey, is

Posted by Patrick Weiler on 09-03-2007 12:00 PM:

What's Next?


I am amazed at your strength of will to keep the bedroom walls relatively bare. I suppose there should be a rug-free sanctuary in the home. We have a downstairs bathroom with no decorations at all. It can be used for hurricane, tornado and nuclear attack safety.

Marty, good luck with your effort to be smoke free. The folks who end up with your rugs in a hundred years will appreciate it. On the other hand, if you can quit smoking, what will be next, rugs?

Patrick Weiler

Posted by R. John Howe on 09-03-2007 12:27 PM:

Marty -

You mistake the congeniality that exists between my wife and me concerning our separate collecting tendencies.

She believes that rugs should only be placed on the floors and so complains bitterly and often that the textiles on the walls make it hard to arrange more extensive shelving on which her own collie artifacts could be displayed properly (and, in truth, a basement storage room, perhaps 8' X 17', with steel shelving 6 feet high on both sides is full of things she cannot display).

Pat -

There's "my side" of the bedroom and I've put a sizable piece up there on the wall.

The end of the bedroom at the foot of the bed is entirely taken up with another custom drawers and shelving installation for collie artifacts. I'm allowed drawers below, but not shelving above.

The bathroom is a possibility and I've tried there, so far, unsuccessfully. My southwest Chinese raincape, for example, is absolutely appropriate, since it can deal with moisture, but my wife positively hates it.

(I once visited Steve Price, and as I recall, found more than one Kaitag embroidery in one "powder room." The most sumptuously decorated "bath" I can remember.)

For some of us collecting can be a trying endeavor.


R. John Howe

Posted by Marty Grove on 09-03-2007 12:42 PM:


G'day Patrick, John and all,

Thanks for the encouragement; and no Patrick, not likely that I could
do without rugs.

I have to laugh re the smoking comments - all my carpetry is fairly
well smoked - I smoked roll your own's for more than 40 years and I had
rugs and stuff for equally as long a time, much of it warmed by log
fires, let alone for the few really old ones, the extra time they must have
spent in the original ancient smoky places.

Ive not found a way to eliminate the smokiness covering the light
coloured wool in some pieces. Washing doesnt get rid of it...

But that John never smoked, is wonderful - would that I could say the
same, although I admit I did love the taste of tobacco, regardless what
it has done to my hide.

And Im not convinced it isnt an ingredient toward the longevity of some
of our rugs... Whatever...


Posted by Marty Grove on 09-03-2007 12:47 PM:


John - Ah, but the sheer display of your woven artifacts gives the nod to that very congeniality which does indeed exist between the pair of you - regardless who endures a dominance one way or the other, decoratingly that is.

Your place shows that you both live comfortably together, otherwise it would not look quite as it does and as Im sure Jo Ann reminds you, there are probably more dogs than rugs and we all know what happens when dogs and rugs get together without discipline...


Posted by Marty Grove on 09-03-2007 12:50 PM:

Apologies to you both, I was thinking of another wife I know well, in a very freudian slip...


Posted by Johanna Raynor on 09-04-2007 01:25 PM:

Not only are you confusing wives, but wines as well.
New Zealand Sherwood Estates /Australian Sherwood Estate.

Think Qashqai - Luri!