Wait a minute. No, it’s not really a university—it’s really just a blog—but the term “university” conjures regal images of bluestone and brick, books and baristas, academic excellence and ivy league largesse. Hey, there’s nothing wrong with a little upscale branding. Work with me on this.

So yes, it’s just a blog, but we’re going to fill it with valuable information about every aspect of the oriental rug trade. We hope you’ll consult it when you’re thinking of purchasing or caring for an oriental carpet. Our goal is to demystify the business of oriental rugs—precisely the opposite of what most retailers do. We want you to know exactly what you’re buying—no matter whom you buy from. We want you to understand what to look for, and what to avoid; why some rugs are more expensive than others, and the factors that contribute to value, longevity, and durability.

We’ll describe useful techniques for using, displaying, and caring for oriental rugs. We’ll discuss how the rug-making regions of the world differ in style, weave, and tradition. We’ll look at fibers, knotting techniques, and dyes. We’ll discuss cleaning, repairing, and preventative maintenance to maximize the life of your oriental rugs. We’ll answer questions, offer advice, and occasionally scarf a few slices of pizza on the side (surreptitiously, of course). Incidentally, pizza did not originate in China—that’s an urban myth—but oriental rugs did—or possibly in Mari, Syria in the 2nd millennium BC. Nobody really knows for sure, but in this context China works with the pizza leitmotif, so work with me on this.

Like many ancient crafts, oriental rug making is practical, multifaceted, and deeply organic. The woven arts have accompanied the whole of recorded history, and the essential tools and techniques involved have persisted for thousands of years, largely unchanged. In a world of remarkable technological advancement, this is extraordinary. Why, then, should the topic be mysterious? Throughout most of the world, it isn’t—but western society is young, and has not been influenced by the ancient tribal cultures of the east. Purveyors of oriental merchandise have long sought to exploit this fact, and oriental carpets in particular have benefitted (or suffered, depending upon your point of view) from this exploitation.

At Oriental Rug Mart, we believe that obfuscation is the opposite of responsible sales. We work diligently with our customers to ensure that their needs, tastes, and budgets are accommodated as precisely as possible. That means explaining everything as clearly and completely as we possibly can. That’s what ORM University is all about—a resource of reliable information from responsible purveyors of rugs from throughout the rug-making regions of the world. We hope you’ll find it informative, interesting, and invaluable.

We’ll be posting new entries in this space about every two weeks, and more information will be available at our website, www.ormart.com. Entries will also be posted on Facebook and Tumblr. If you have questions, topics of interest, or useful information, send it tous at socialmedia@orientalrugmart.com. We’ll look it over, give it an editorial pass, and include it in future University postings. 

Now for a slice of pepperoni.

- Brian