Posted by Jerry Silverman on 08-29-2007 01:52 PM:

The Standard

Dear Folks,

I have hesitated to add these pictures because I don't have express approval to post them. Yet I'm going ahead anyway as similar ones were already published in HALI.

At ACOR 5 in Burlingame, CA, there was a trip to visit the home of Jim Dixon - a home designed to accommodate/display a fabulous rug collection. If there is a "standard" to which collectors/decorators may aspire, this is it.



Posted by Janet Tyson on 08-29-2007 06:09 PM:

What an extraordinary collection! Both the rugs and their display must be overwhelming in person. I am just guessing here, but it looks as though the focus is on Persian tribal and city textiles. It makes me wonder about the number of years this collection has been in the making.
Here in Dallas/Fort Worth, where I've been living, collections are put together -- and here I'm talking more about paintings than rugs -- rather quickly. I'd like to think that the collection you visited and photographed is the result of decades of passionate looking, learning, and acquisition.

Posted by Richard Larkin on 08-29-2007 06:13 PM:

Hi Jerry,

Thanks. And "Holy mackerel!"

Posted by Jerry Silverman on 08-29-2007 08:59 PM:

Fuzzy pics

I'm sorry these pictures aren't any clearer, folks. Trust me when I tell you that they were sharp as a tack when I started. I think the problem takes place somewhere in the digitization process. Or maybe it's in the PhotoShop "enhancement" that I used to lighten each picture so you could see more detail in the rugs. Or maybe it's in reducing each image from about 5.4MB to 150kb.

That's also the problem with some of the images in the Salon itself.

Don't know the cause. Wish I did. But I think you'll get the idea.



Posted by Steve Price on 08-29-2007 09:11 PM:

Hi Jerry

I can confirm that yours (and the ones in the Salon) were sharp and clear when in their unedited state; the image deterioration puzzles me, too. I edit lots of images for people for Turkotek posting, and almost none lose detail the ways yours do when adjusted to size. They come from all kinds of digital cameras and scanners. If anyone has suggestions on how to avoid this, I'd like to hear them.

Steve Price

Posted by Patrick Weiler on 08-29-2007 09:12 PM:

Big Mistake, Jerry


You have mistakenly used pictures of my house in your post.

Patrick Weiler

Posted by R. John Howe on 08-29-2007 09:18 PM:

And I don't want to hear anymore about "clutter."

Of course, Dixon's clutter is often 16th and 17th century. Maybe he gets a "bye" for that.

R. John Howe

Posted by Chuck Wagner on 08-29-2007 10:16 PM:


Hi Jerry,

Our kids used to complain about living in a museum. Now I have something to fight back with. Looks like a hidden wing of the V&A. I'm impressed and waiting with open arms for the cast-offs.

Steve - send me a full scale image and I'll see what I can do..

Thanks again Jerry, that place is incredible



Chuck Wagner

Posted by Steve Price on 08-29-2007 10:38 PM:

Hi Chuck

I don't save the original image files after I've edited them.

Jerry, would you send some of the originals to Chuck so he can take a crack at resolving the problem? Chuck, just so you know what I've done with them, I edit them in Photoshop CS2 and generally don't do much except crop out the extraneous stuff and reduce the image dimensions to no more than 600 pixels wide if it's landscape, no more than 500 pixels wide if it's portrait format. On some, I touch up the brightness and contrast.


Steve Price

Posted by Filiberto Boncompagni on 08-30-2007 04:16 AM:

Never mind, it’s done: Jerry sent the originals to me too.
The trick is to sharpen the images after the resizing.

To see the new images, you’ll have to click on the “refresh” button of your browser while keeping the “Ctrl” key pressed down, though, otherwise you’ll probably see the old ones from your – or your ISP – cache.

Now, a comment on Mr. Dixon’s house:
This IS too much

and typically nouveau riche.

Yours vieux pauvre, admittedly with a lot of envy… for the collection, NOT for the display of it


Posted by Johanna Raynor on 08-30-2007 04:32 AM:

Wonderful! Thank you Jerry.

In the third photo it appears that the carpet on the floor is extremely worn.

Clearly Mr Dixon has no problem exposing a carpet in this state to further wear.
But I'm betting that carpet is far more valuable than anything I'd ever dream of owning. Perspective huh.

Other thought regarding Jerry's Question 'When's a rug actually a rug'.
Of course they never were just rugs in their 'real' lives. They're bags, sitting furniture, cushions, tables, beds, doors, screens, religious places, decorative items and floor coverings. What's more we often see items past their initial transferred to other uses. Bags to floor rugs, big rugs cut down to bags. So our uses are just extensions of a whole ongoing process. The idea of colouring and design even put them in the purely decorative arts arena.

I'm happy using old balisht and saddle bags as doormats. And relegation to the cat bed is a noble use for any rug (actually all my rugs are cat beds) ! However is preserving an oldish, badly repaired, cheap and unusable, but pretty rug for its decorative value even when it can't be hung or put on the floor noble, wise or crazy? My friends say crazy.

I'll never have enough money to have too that answers the clutter question


Posted by Marty Grove on 08-30-2007 09:20 AM:

Definitely Overwhelming!!

G'day all,

Oh Boy! Luuuvvv those patterns and colours - and hey, dont apologise for the sharpness Jerry, they appear perfectly okay on my monitor. And as for clutter, I dont mind, I live with it everyday - just wish my clutter approximated a bit more what you have just displayed...

And now I have something to show my friends if they query my 'no shoes inside' edict - notice everyone in Jerrys friend's home has only socks on? Just like my place - socks that is.

Muchas appreciation Jerry, its a gas.


Posted by Jerry Silverman on 08-30-2007 03:43 PM:

Yes, some of the rugs on the floors were a bit blitzed, but others were still in damn nice condition (as I recall). Taking off our shoes was almost as much a sign of respect as a house rule.

One side note that I'd forgotten about until now: The display of fragments beside intact pieces was done in such a way as to enhance both - something I hadn't seen before or since, for that matter.



Posted by Richard Larkin on 08-30-2007 05:57 PM:


Among the very many comments one can make: The man has a penchant for Memling guls. No?

Posted by Steve Price on 08-30-2007 09:17 PM:


My take on it: It's obviously a superb collection. But the display makes it just about impossible for me to really appreciate the rugs. To me, it's like being shown an enormous patchwork quilt by someone who expects me to appreciate, enjoy and admire the patches individually. Maybe some people can do that, but I'm not one of them.

Reducing the display to half the number of pieces would make it twice as wonderful.


Steve Price

Posted by James Blanchard on 08-30-2007 11:07 PM:

Hi all,

First, I will echo those who have commented on how fabulous that collection is. Wow!

I tend to agree with Steve and I think that each of the wonderful pieces would somehow have a greater impact if not placed side-by-side with another, often similar piece. On the other hand, perhaps that is exactly what I would do if I had a collection like that and a cathedral-sized house...


Posted by R. John Howe on 08-31-2007 07:56 AM:

And a big thank you to Filiberto for straightening out the distortions in the photos of this incredible place.

James -

This is a custom house designed specifically by Dixon to house and show off his collection.


R. John Howe

Posted by James Blanchard on 08-31-2007 08:28 AM:

Hi John,

Really (tongue in cheek)? I thought that was how they made all houses down in the U.S. of A. It's how they look on TV.


Posted by R. John Howe on 08-31-2007 10:20 AM:

James -

Well, in truth, they make houses lots of ways in the U.S. Recently, there has been a tendency to things 10,000 square feet or more (although I think the recent "crisis" may put a stop to much of that).

Someone here wrote about what it's like for a family of four to live in a 10,000 square foot house. It means for one thing that each member has as much space as often comprises an entire house for others. And things get lost in serious ways in 10,000 square feet.

There are, of course, lots of custom homes at this size, but none I had seen previously with cathedral ceilings of this height.

I mistook your previous post. I thought you were suggesting that you and your wife might encounter some such place, looking about when you return. That was what triggered my "custom" indication.


R. John Howe

Posted by James Blanchard on 08-31-2007 10:31 AM:

Hi John,

You said:

I thought you were suggesting that you and your wife might encounter some such place, looking about when you return.

They make houses in lots of varieties in Canada, and perhaps even moreso in India with their booming middle and upper class.

A couple of years ago we bought a house in my hometown on the Canadian prairies. It's a well-insulated bungalow. We had no illusions about finding the cathedral-type house. It gets mighty cold in winter on the Canadian prairies, and heating a house like that would probably cost more than the mortgage payments, not to mention rapidly depleting Canada's oil and natural gas stocks and contributing to global warming, etc...

By the way, we are in the midst of moving back to Canada after 6 years in India. So my settings are changing as we speak. Luckily, I still have a lot of international work on my plate and will continue to make regular trips to South Asia and China.


Posted by Janet Tyson on 08-31-2007 01:07 PM:

nouveau riche

Filiberto's comment on the nouveau riche look of Mr. Dixon's house begs the question: how long was this collection in the making? It may be that many of those rugs were acquired over a long period of time and Dixon finally got the bucks to show them off (as the display is tres nouveau riche in style, if not substance). But I don't know enough about rugs to know if so many of whatever quality they are, could be amassed in a matter of a few years.
That said, if I were newly rich, I'd concentrate more on buying rugs than spending money on their display. And I'd be out there buying at least one every day, until all the money was gone.
Which brings up another question that I sometimes bedevil myself with. If I had unlimited money to spend on rugs -- or even, say, $50,000 a year to spend on rugs -- how would that affect my taste?
Would I lose interest in war rugs and start buying the wonderful Yomut pieces I can't begin to afford? Would I move to Turkish rugs and start buying the oldest and best that were available? Would I buy one museum-quality piece every year and commune with it every time I caught the buy to look at other rugs?
I don't really know. What does anyone else think?

Posted by Patrick Weiler on 08-31-2007 01:50 PM:

Decorator for Hire


When you win the lottery, I suggest you hire me to buy your rugs for you, for a modest commission. You get two rugs, I get one.

Some (Big Name) collectors have used the services of a specialist to assist in focusing their collections. And many collectors have trusted in a favored dealer to buy at auction or bring things to them that fit into their collections.
You can find a few dealers that offer their services in this way and many other dealers who know the kinds of rugs some of their clients prefer and they contact them when something that may interest them arrives or becomes available. It certainly takes some of the pressure off when spending the big bucks on pieces that others may think are not worthy. And it also saves you a lot of time and effort. On the other hand, you can end up with a collection that reflects the taste of your dealer rather than your own.
Or, you can buy the rugs yourself and pay an expert to rate and evaluate your collection.
Let me know when your collection is published and you go on tour to all the ACOR rug groups.

Patrick Weiler

Posted by Filiberto Boncompagni on 08-31-2007 01:52 PM:

Like James, I’m in the mists of moving too. This should account for my distraction….
Because I deleted a message thinking of validating it - for the second time this week.
This is the text, unsigned:

Message Title : Think Baluch, always.
Hi Janet,

A question after my own heart, to be sure. I've also thought about
that more than once. No time now, but I'll chime in soon.

I’m sorry, but at least half of the messages are from spammers, so the deleting is becoming almost automatic, if I don’t pay too much attention.


Posted by Richard Larkin on 08-31-2007 02:09 PM:

Shiraz is also good

Filiberto and Janet,

That was me that got nixed. For some reason, one of my computers does not enter me as registered. I did put in my user name. Thanks for the effort in notifying me.

Rich Larkin

Posted by Janet Tyson on 09-01-2007 05:04 PM:

Rich, I feel the same way about Baluches, maybe because they tend to seem so out-of-the-box, so provisional. There is an interesting dealer who is based in New York -- actually, I think he teaches at one of the CUNY collages, or some such -- and is a Balucho-holic or Balucho-phile, or whatever seems most appropriate. His name is: deleted actually, I think it's deleted , but don't quote me on that.
His website can be accessed through deleted. After looking at his rugs for a while, I begin to feel like I'm on another planet.

Note: names deleted to avoid the slightest suspicion of commercial promotion. Ed