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We've Got the Grey-Blues

Are you like us? Do you have gray fatigue? Not that we don't like gray - we do! - it's just that with current trends, the vast majority of our customers are looking for grays, with gray furniture, walls, cabinets, and/or counter tops they want to match. When we are showing 7 out of 8 customers gray rugs we get really excited when someone comes along looking for a bright coral, a brilliant teal, or a soothing green.

Whether it's an accent wall, a colorful rug, or some cheerful upholstery there are lots of ways to introduce more color into your decor. We've collected some colorful inspiration photos from our favorite design magazines to help give you some ideas to work from. Many years of helping customers find the right rug have taught us that finding photos of spaces that you like can help give you direction and inspiration for your own space. Take a look at our inspiration picks and see if you have the gray-blues too. Let's spice things up with some color!

Photo courtesy Maine Homes by Down East Magazine

 

Pictured above is a warm, welcoming, coral room featured in Maine Homes by Down East Magazine. (The room was designed by one of our favorite designers, Annie Stickney of Annie Stickney Designs!) Though the main rug in the room is a subtle neutral you can see tucked back in the entryway a lovely vintage Persian scatter rug. It beautifully complements the room and provides a colorful and practical rug for the entry. Traditionally patterned and colored rugs are great at hiding dirt and can withstand the heavy wear of a main entry. Check out the 3'5"x4'10" Farahan Sarouk I picked out that I think would look equally nice in a beautiful coral room like this one.

 

Green is such a fresh and lively color! The inspiration photo above from New England Home Magazine uses a great balance of dark and light greens and blues creating a cheerful and interesting space without feeling over the top. You can easily create this look by starting off with a custom cut and bound carpet from Bellbridge. Their L-squared line of flat woven wool plaids offer some nice classics in great colors.

The great thing about a plaid (more properly known as a tartan) is that it is a true classic, and great for bridging disparate design styles. Additionally, plaids are an excellent way of introducing multiple colors into a space. Most plaid designs will incorporate 3 + colors, giving you a great range of options from which to choose an accent color.

A cool crisp room with white walls and neutral furniture may need the introduction of a pop of bright color. Over-dyed rugs can be a super fun way to get that great pop, as in this coastal room featured in New England Home Magazine. Over dyed rugs are literally old traditional rugs that have their original color bleached out and then they are re-dyed with a trendy new super-saturated color. They can get pricy but you can get the same over-dyed look in a much lower price point with Kaleen Rugs', Relic and Restoration Collections.

Products featured above: Relic Heriz in avacado, Restoration in blue, Relic Heriz in purple

Maine Home and Design writes of the this room designed by Campion Platt, pictured above, "Bright decor paired with white furniture and metal accents help to keep the space airy and fun. Accent chairs with a pop of color or texture add dimension to the space without feeling overwhelming." 

Overwhelming a space by adding color is a common concern. Striking the right balance is important, but that does not mean avoiding color entirely. Mixing brights with neutral colors, mixing both deeper tones and lighter tones of a color, or combining some color with natural elements, like wood, stone, or plants, can help keep a space feeling colorfully interesting but not overwhelming.

Products featured above: Samarkand, Kimono Gold, Fleur

Products featured above: Bombay 318D, Canaan Forest, Rochambeau

Color doesn't have to be bright and in your face, it can be just as calm and soothing as white or grey. Individual colors evoke different moods, and combining certain colors can create different moods. This is part of what is known as color theory. For a really simple and straight forward explanation of color theory and how color can help you achieve a desired effect, check out Colormatters.com Basic Color Theory. For example here is what they have to say about color harmony.

"Color Harmony

Harmony can be defined as a pleasing arrangement of parts, whether it be music, poetry, color, or even an ice cream sundae.

In visual experiences, harmony is something that is pleasing to the eye. It engages the viewer and it creates an inner sense of order, a balance in the visual experience. When something is not harmonious, it's either boring or chaotic. At one extreme is a visual experience that is so bland that the viewer is not engaged. The human brain will reject under-stimulating information. At the other extreme is a visual experience that is so overdone, so chaotic that the viewer can't stand to look at it. The human brain rejects what it cannot organize, what it cannot understand. The visual task requires that we present a logical structure. Color harmony delivers visual interest and a sense of order.

In summary, extreme unity leads to under-stimulation, extreme complexity leads to over-stimulation. Harmony is a dynamic equilibrium."

It's all about what is pleasing to your eye, that's the most important thing. Hopefully, if you are like us and are ready to move beyond just grays, you've found this post inspiring and helpful.

As always, if you have questions or would like some guidance come visit us at the gallery, we are always happy to help!

 

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Featured Rug: Fluxus Granite

If you are looking for a high quality, hand made rug with the freshest modern look, Fluxus Granite by Stark Studio Rugs may be the rug for you. Stark is a well know name that for years has been associated with the very best in designer area rugs. Using "Old World" weaving techniques, they have combined the best traditions of rug making with the most timely and on trend designs.

Hand knotted in Nepal, with the highest quality wool and silk, Fluxus Granite is available in standard sizes starting at 8x10, or can be custom made in any size.

Making Rugs By Hand by Stark Studio Rugs

"A hand knotted or hand woven rug represents the remarkable achievement of many highly skilled artisans. There are few, if any, other items you can purchase for your home on which more care and handwork has been lavished. Every stage of this ancient craft, from spinning the wool to trimming the pile of the finished rug, is carried out by hand – not out of stubbornness, but because there is no better way of making a rug."

Fluxus Granite is the best of the old and new worlds of rug making, with it's exquisite construction and fine modern sensibilities. We love it because of it's bold splash of interest and asymmetrical design, it feels active, almost interactive, as if were you to squish your feet around in the soft wool and silk pile you could shift and change the pattern yourself. Though only including white, black, grey, and a little gold, Fluxus Granite is not boring, it is dynamic and interesting, and will play well with whatever modern or minimalist accent pieces you choose.

If you are attracted to Fluxus Granite and would like to see it in person we have it here in our show room to see in a 9'x12'. We also have a 2x3 sample piece to easily transport home if you want to see the colors in your space. Please stop by anytime Monday through Saturday from 9am to 5pm and we'll introduce you to the beauty that is Fluxus Granite and Stark Studio Rugs.

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Texture!

"When an interior designer refers to texture they are speaking to the surface quality of a material. Every surface has a texture whether it be smooth or rough, bumpy or flat." Continue reading

Vintage Rugs Friendly For Any Budget

Creating a stylish and comfortable living space shouldn't cost a fortune, and it doesn't have to. Sometimes it just takes a little extra time and poking around in unexpected places to find the unique and interesting pieces that you love at an affordable price.

Bradford's Rug Gallery prides it's self on offering, not only the best of the best in handmade area rugs, but also on offering handmade, vintage and antique  inventory in a range of pricing. Some people just can't accept home decor with that mass produced, machine-made look and want something, special, unique and interesting, all traits you find in handmade one of a kind rugs. While the adjectives "handmade and one of a kind" are typically followed by thoughts of exclusiveness and high cost, that doesn't have to be the case. 

We've curated a collection of inspirational decor photos and matched them with affordable vintage rugs we currently have in stock at our Forest Avenue showroom. We want to inspire you to make your living space as one of a kind as you are.

What makes these particular hand-made, one of a kind rugs so affordable? Multiple things. Most of the rugs in this collection are pieces that show distinct signs of wear, whether it's fraying ends, worn away pile, actual holes, or unravelling sides. These are rugs that have been authentically distressed. There is nothing with more character than a slightly shabby old rug, you'll never find two that look exactly the same. 

Holes? Fraying ends? You may ask why you would want to spend money on a "damaged" rug, and we would tell you - because there is still a lot of life in that rug! Hand knotted (or hand woven) rugs are constructed in such a way that they are incredibly durable, a little wear or a hole here or there will not compromise the functionality of a rug. They can be hand washed with excellent results and small repairs can be made as necessary to promote longevity. There isn't likely anything you or your family could throw at one of these rugs that it hasn't already lived though.

Age is another factor in finding great, vintage rugs at modest prices. Most rugs made from about 1920 through the early 1980s have the misfortune of being knotted with yarns dyed with synthetic chrome dyes. At that time those relatively new chrome dyes were of poor quality and their resulting colors can seem over bright to a collector who is wanting to buy antiques with softer, more subtle natural dyes. These mid-century, synthetically dyed rugs can fade and loose some of their jarring notes, acquiring appeal that only age and use can impart. Take for example the Persian Tuisarkan featured below, made sometime in the 1950s with chrome dyes, it is in excellent condition, with thick, soft pile, though tempered by time the chrome dyes are still apparent. It may not be appealing to the more serious collector, but all the better for those of us on a budget. It is an excellent quality rug that is kid and pet friendly, will last a lifetime and cost a fraction of what an older Persian with natural dyes would cost.

One of a kind rugs are just that - one-of-a-kind, finding the perfect size with the exact right look, or the exact right colors may not be in the cards, but if you are willing to be flexible and work with the rugs that speak to you, you are likely to come up with a result that is beautiful, unique and all your own. White walls with white trim is a favorite among designers and home renovators to complement a modern aesthetic with interesting vintage pieces, seamlessly blending the old and new. See inspiration photos above and below.

Photo Courtesy Designsponge.com - "A Bungalow Full of Thrify Finds and Charming Surprizes"

All of the rugs (room scene rugs not included) featured in this blog are available to be seen in person at our showroom or available to be purchased online (click on the rug photo for more information). As a rule, we highly encourage our customers to bring rugs home on trial. Colors in photographs never read true, we've all gone through the process of ordering something online and being immensely disappointed by the actual color of the product when it arrives. Here at Bradford's we have a process by which we allow rugs to be taken home for a 3 day approval period. If you don't like the rug, just return it within 3 days. There is no substitute for seeing rugs in person! If you buy a rug from us online we offer the same 3 day return policy (some exclusions my apply). We like knowing that we've done everything possible to make sure you are buying the exact right rug for you.

For more Antique and Vintage rugs, in all price ranges, check out the following collections on our website.

If you have an antique or vintage, hand knotted rug that you are interested in selling, we may be interested in buying it. Please send photos of the rug you are interested in selling to info@bradfordsruggallery.com
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Rug Myths Demystified

There's a lot about hand-made rugs that is confusing and can be mis-understood, which understandably, makes your average consumer less than confident about making a rug purchase. Here we will go over some of the most popular myths and talk about what is true and what isn't, we'll try to give you the information you need to feel confident about buying a hand-made rug.

Myth #1: New Oriental rugs are no longer made by hand.

Due to current and past US sanctions on Iran it's easy to understand how this myth has gained footing, but it is not at all accurate. In 1979 when President Jimmy Carter instituted the first trade sanctions on Iran, this left an opening in the hand-made rug market, allowing for new weaving facilities, in countries like China, India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan, to develop. Although early rug production from these countries may not have met the quality level of the Persian rugs, over time their quality has improved and in present time you can easily find high quality, hand made Oriental rugs from all over the world. You can even find new rugs, hand made with natural dyes and hand spun wool, the same way rugs were made thousands of years ago.

If you want help identifying the deference between a machine made rug and a hand made rug please visit our show room and we'll be happy to teach you.

Myth #2: Old Oriental rugs are more valuable than new Oriental rugs.

The truth to this myth is a little less cut and dry. Old is a relative term, 30 or 40 years may seem old us, but for a rug that is on the younger side. The term antique is only given to rugs that have acquired the age of 100 years or more, and typically it is only these rugs that start to acquire value rather than deteriorate in value. The age of a rug alone does not determine it's value, many factors play a part including condition, color, rarity, etc.

When comparing the relative value of old and new rugs, of the same quality, it is helpful to consider the difference between "value" and "cost". Value is what a consumer believes a product is worth to them, cost being the amount spent to obtain a product. Generally, with Oriental rugs that are less than 100 years old, their value is going to be less than what it would cost to purchase a new rug of the same quality. So in looking at it that way, the majority of old rugs are going to be less "valuable" than new rugs of the same quality. In the same sense, Oriental rugs that are over 100 years old generally begin to acquire value, meaning over time they have gained desirability, rarity, or importance etc., which can then mean the exact opposite - antique rugs can have more value than new rugs of the same quality. Remember that we are speaking of rugs of the same quality - meaning an old hand knotted Oriental rug versus a new hand knotted Oriental rug. When you are speaking of different rug qualities (i.e. hand tufted, hand hooked, machine made) these same value rules may not apply.

Myth #3: New Oriental rugs are given an old look with a tea bath in order to trick the consumer.

Many new Oriental rugs have been pre-aged in some way, but it is not done to confuse the buyer but rather to add appeal to the rug. New rugs (possibly up to 90% of new rugs on the market) are given a wash in a chemical solution (usually containing chlorine) to tone down their colors and give the wool a beautiful luster. "Specialists carefully formulate the 'wash', as it is called, aiming at a solution that is strong enough to impart the softness of age, but not so strong as to corrode wool and radically fade colors." - Emmett Eiland, Oriental Rugs Today, 2003 

Other aging techniques include herbal washes made from a combination of tea and henna, madder (a natural dye) washes, sun fading, blow-torching, extreme clipping and some rugs are even spread out in the streets "...for man, beast, machine, and elements to render them into semi-antiques" in a matter of just a few weeks. -  Emmett Eiland, Oriental Rugs Today, 2003 

Regardless of how a rug is artificially aged, a reputable rug dealer will never mislead a customer into thinking that a new "antiqued" rug is actually an old rug. All new rugs are made to fill a demanding market. "It is very important to many people to get just the right look in their homes, especially people with good taste. Not everyone has $25,000 to spend on an antique rug, or sixty years to wait for a new rug to grow old. Even if you have the money to spend, it's not always possible to find the right antique rug. Yes, distressing a rug may take years of useful life out of it, but a new, distressed rug will last at least as long as a $25,000 antique and cost a third as much. As long as people know what they are buying, why not give them what they want, if we can?" - Emmett Eiland quoting Jack Simantob, Oriental Rugs Today, 2003

 

Myth #4: Knot count is the most important factor in determining the quality of a rug.

This is a frequently held belief that is mis-guided. Knot count is one factor to consider when choosing a rug, and by all means a rug with a high knot count will most certainly be more expensive than a rug with a lower knot count, but it is not the only factor that determines a rug's quality. 

The knot count of a rug will tell you the fineness of the rug, but a well-made, hand-knotted rug can be more or less fine and still be equally good in quality.

For more information on knot count please see our previous blog post Rug Speak: Knot Count

As always, if you have any questions please feel free to stop by our show room at 297 Forest Ave, in Portland or contact us. We are always happy to talk rugs!

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Featured Rug: 4'10"x7' Tuisarkhan

Hand knotted in the Hamadan province of Iran circa 1920, this 4'10" x7' Tuisarkhan boasts beautiful, vibrant colors and a richly detailed pattern. In great condition, with only some minor border loss on either end, it still has it's soft, medium thick pile that shows little to no wear.

I've chosen to feature this rug today because of it's magnificently rich jewel tones. The small medallion in the very center caught my eye, with it's blue abrash, it adds dimension that makes it truly stand out. This Tuisarkhan is a step above it's compatriots due to it's brilliance of color and fineness of detail. The center medallion pattern feels balanced and active without feeling busy. The slightly geometric vining flowers keep your eyes moving along the entire length of the rug.

The city of Hamadan is the largest in the Hamadan Province of Iran, the city's "bazaars were supplied by the migratory tribes with superb, traditional carpet products whose method of construction (the use of a single heavy cotton weft between each row of Turkish knots) is known as the 'Hamadan' weave." (Oriental Rugs Vol. 2 Persian) Tuisarkhan, a town located about 100 km south of Hamadan city was one of many surrounding cities and towns to supply the Hamadan bazaars with hand knotted rugs. Surrounded by the Zagros mountains, the weather is mild and nice in the summer and cold in the winter. This beautiful and rugged landscape surely provided much inspiration of the rug weavers of Tuisarkhan.

If you are looking for an hard wearing, easy to keep looking great, kitchen or entry rug - this is a perfect choice for you! It's beautiful colors and pattern will help hide stains and can withstand daily traffic. If you would like to see more vintage or antique rugs like this one please visit our Antique and Vintage collections.
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Stair Runners

 

Stair runners can add a measure of safety for everyone in the family, and they can add a spark of color and interest in an otherwise bland area of the house.

We find most often that customers are motivated to add a stair runner for an adored family pet who is having difficulty managing the hard surface stairs, or to make a stairwell safer for young children or older adults in the household. Whatever the reason, when you decide to install a stair runner there are mountains of products to choose from, so many options in fact it can become quite overwhelming.

Brad and Beth's "Noli" on their Roger Oates "Halle" stair runner.

 

We're here to help! Please stop in and visit us any time, we're happy to walk you through all your options, we have a showroom full of samples to peruse. In the meantime, consider the following points as you move forward:

1.) What is the layout of your stair case? Is it a straight set of stairs? Does it have turns? Are their landings? Are any of the stairs pied (triangular in shape) or are they all rectangular?

Knowing the answers to these questions well help us, better help you find a product that will work with your particular stair layout. Straight stairs are the easiest, with few limitations on what will work. Some patterned materials are not conducive to pied stairs, the pattern will not match up from step to step. 

If you do have turns with landings, it's helpful to consider how you would like to address the landing - do you want the runner to turn at the landing, staying continuous, or would you like it to go up over the landing stop and then begin new on the next set of stairs? For some good stair runner photo inspiration check out our Pinterest board: Stair Runner Round-up.

A Roger Oates runner with two hand-sewn, mitered corners to keep the runner continuous.

 

2.) Are you looking to replace an existing stair runner or are you adding a new stair runner?

If you are replacing an existing runner you may want to take note of the width of the existing runner - more than likely the finish on the stairs underneath is either in poor condition or has not faded the same as the uncovered portion of the stairs - you will probably want to make sure that the new runner will be the same width or wider, unless you are planning on having the stairs refinished. If you are adding a new stair runner take a minute to consider what amount of space you would like to have showing on either side of the runner. Depending on the width of the stairs, 3-5 inches on either side is a good general rule of thumb.

Custom cut and bound Bellbridge "Linen"

 

3.) What are you looking for in terms of color, pattern, or style?

We have a showroom full of samples. If you aren't sure what direction you want to head just come on in and take a peep around. We encourage you to take samples home with you so you can see all your different options in your space.  Your options are vast but we can help you narrow in on what will work best for you. For example, stripes are a classic on stairs - we're in love with Roger Oates - but heathered neutrals are great work horses, good at hiding sand and dirt.

Custom shaped Bellbridge "Southhampton" diamond.

 

4.) Here at Bradford's Rug Gallery we do full service stair runner installation, but some people are interested in installing their own stair runners. If you are a "weekend warrior" and want to do it yourself here are a few suggestions and tips to consider as you begin the process.

Generally pre-sized and finished area rugs are the easiest for DIY installers. There is a wide range of area rug runners that would be suitable, just note that they come in preset sizes that cannot be altered in width. The most common runner width is 30 inches. If you have never installed a stair runner before and you have any pied (triangular) stairs we highly recommend leaving the installation up to the professionals - making those pied stairs look fantastic takes some extra skill and know how. A straight set of stairs is the easiest, and squared landings are fairly easy to address as well. 

If you are considering installing a stair runner yourself here is a great resource from Dash & Albert for DIY stair runners: How to Install a Stair Runner

Dash & Albert Clover in color Black - 100% cotton.

 

We love installing stair runners and can help you find a completely custom look for your custom home, or we can help you find something that is supremely practical for your busy family, or anything in-between. Please stop by and see us any time Monday through Saturday from 9am to 5pm and we can help you find what you are looking for for your stairs.

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2019 Annual Summer Sale!

 

In order to keep our showroom fresh and ever evolving, we have to clear out the old stock. As the years pile up so does our inventory. From Monday, June 17th through Saturday, June 29th we are offering all of our in-stock area rugs at 20%-80% off. Hooked rugs, modern Moroccans, flat weaves, chunky textures and vintage Persians, there will be something for everyone and something for every space. We are always blown away by the number of familiar faces we see these two weeks each year, don't be a stranger, come take advantage of these once a year deals!

We hope to see you soon!

Brad, Beth, Courtney, and Abby

Here is a small sampling of our excellent deals:

 

Plus so much more!

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A Guide to Buying Ethically Responsible Rugs

Whether you are concerned about child labor, fair wages, human rights, or environmental impacts there is a lot to think about if you are trying to purchase a product you feel confident was made in an ethical way. In today's consumer society most buyers are looking for cheap, fast, and easy, which can be the enemy of ethically made products. But, there are still those who want to take the time and use their money to make a positive impact, and promote a healthier world for all.

Unfortunately, their is no one simple answer for all of us, this blog hopes to provide a jumping off point for those of you who wish to delve deeper into making sure you are making a purchase you feel good about. Each of us has our very own set of values and beliefs, making certain specific ethical concerns very individualWhile we at Bradford's Rug Gallery try to be as knowledgeable as possible about the different companies we work with and the products they provide, including their environmental and social impacts, we cannot possibly know the answers to all specific ethical concerns because of their subjective nature. What we can do is use our vast knowledge to direct you once you have identified your personal ethical concerns and have determined exactly what you are looking for.  

Photos courtesy: 

 

Below are some of the most common ethical concerns we hear our customers voice, as well as resources to help you educate yourself more on buying products that you can really feel confident align with your personal set of ethics.

 

Made Without Child Labor:

Child labor has historically been prolific in the textile industry. Part of the challenge of eliminating illegal child labor has been the international nature of the carpet industry and the difficulty of monitoring every single manufacturer - from large weaving facilities with hundreds of looms down to cottage industry weaving facilities with 3 or 4 looms - in multiple countries. There are also the challenges of addressing cultural differences. Carpet production and the use of child weavers on family looms has a long and legal tradition in India and Pakistan dating back to the 15th century. As UNICEF points out - not all child labor is bad or illegal.

'Not all child labour is bad, because day-to-day child co-operation is for many families a necessity to survive.'
- UNICEF -

There are several organizations that have stepped up to combat the issue of child labor in rug production. The Oriental Rug Importers Association (ORIA) is a national trade association that was formed in 1958 to foster ethical business practices in the United States and the oriental rug making countries.

The ORIA is absolutely opposed to the use of illegal child labor and, accordingly, their members have taken affirmative steps to avoid the procurement of carpets made with illegal child labor. The ORIA members, through the ORIA Charitable Fund, have committed funds to assist with schools in Pakistan and India. There is a clear link between child labor and a lack of available education, providing children with the alternative of schooling helps eliminate illegal child labor practices.

'Wherever the social situation has improved and children have had a school they could attend, child labour has disappeared.'
- TERRE DES HOMMES -

ORIA membership includes area rug importers and manufacturers all of the rug companies that we at Bradford's Rug Gallery purchase from. To learn more in detail about ORIA's stance on child labor please read their position paper:

ORIA Position Paper on Child Labor

Also combating child labor is the European based organization Care & Fair. They are an alliance of retailers, importers and exporters that has been committed to creating humane living conditions in carpet knotting regions, especially for the youngest members of those societies. The focus of their work includes abolishing illegal child labor in India and Pakistan, creating better living conditions for carpet knotting families, producing goods in a socially acceptable manner, and being a positive example for others to follow. ORIA is a member/sponsor of the Care & Fair organization. While ORIA has no certifying logo - members of Care & Fair have the ability to use their logo as a certifier of products made without illegal child labor. If a rug has a Care & Fair tag you can be sure it was made without child labor, but on the flip side a rug does not have to have a Care & Fair tag to still be assured that it was made without child labor. The best way to know for sure is ask your retailer (that's us!) or look at the ORIA member list to see whether the manufacturer of you rug is a member - if they are you can be assured your rug was made without child labor.

 

Environmentally Friendly:

There are many different ways in which to look at the environmental friendliness of a product: How was product the made? What is it made of? What happens to it after it is thrown it away? What are the environmental impacts of the harvesting and processing of the core materials? Is it energy or water intensive to produce? What is the intended life span of the product? Does it contain any harmful chemicals? Does it require harmful chemicals to clean it?

To find a truly eco-friendly product you would want to consider all of those questions at the same time. "A life cycle assessment, or LCA, identifies opportunities for quantifying the impacts that a product has on the environment throughout its full life cycle – from production and manufacturing to the disposal phase. A full LCA is also known as a “Cradle to Grave” sustainability assessment." - Heritage Paper Blog

"'Cradle to Grave' thinking not only considers the impact of products during their use or disposal stages, but introduces the fact that many products have significant impacts throughout their entire lives. Beginning with the extraction of the raw materials that actually comprise the product, to its manufacturing, use of energy and water, its waste and emissions, transportation impacts, the actual use of the product and finally, ending with the ultimate disposal of the product — thus, from cradle to grave." - cleanlink.com 

Whether you are looking for a product that contains no chemicals or you are looking to find a product that adheres to the "cradle to grave" principles we willies our knowledge of our products to best to direct you to a product that meets your needs.

At Bradford's Rug Gallery we are fond of wool for many reasons (which is why we primarily carry wool products), but from the environmental perspective it is a particularly eco-friendly product. Recent research conducted by the wool industry shows that wool’s environmental footprint is low when it comes to the consumption of energy and water during the consumer use phase. This makes wool products more sustainable compared to other fiber products. Wool is a durable, renewable, biodegradable, stain resistant, and fire resistant material. It requires no flame retarding chemicals like all synthetic (man-made) materials do.

Photo courtesy Woolshire Carpet Mills Inc.

In the textile industry the most energy, water, and pollutant intensive process is dyeing, especially dyeing with synthetic dyes. Buying rugs made with natural dyes or with yarns that are un-dyed will drastically reduce the negative environmental impacts of an area rug. To view some rugs made with un-dyed yarns click here.

It is also important to consider that buying a vintage or antique rug may be the most eco-friendly choice you could make. Choosing an existing product eliminates any environmental impacts of production and lessens the disposal impacts as well. Remember, the 3 R's: Reduce, REUSE, and Recycle. Check out our Vintage and Antique collections here

Further Resources:

For additional reading on ethical concerns specifically related to the rug industry and beyond please explore the following websites:

  • UNICEF works in 190 countries and territories to save children’s lives, to defend their rights, and to help them fulfil their potential, from early childhood through adolescence.
  • While child labor has historically been prevalent in the textile industry, children are exploited in many other industries, such as sugarcane, banana, and flower production. For more information please visit the International Labor Organization website  and learn about their International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labor.
  • For more information on the environmental and ethical impacts of wool please visit the International Wool Textile Organization website.
  • If you are interested in the environmental impacts of the textile industry check out the following article: Clothing to dye for: the textile sector must confront water risks. - The Guardian
  • In their 2002 book Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things, architect William McDonough and chemist Michael Braungart presented an integration of design and science that provides enduring benefits for society from safe materials, water and energy in circular economies and eliminates the concept of waste.
  • In the news today we're hearing a lot about PFAS. Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a group of man-made chemicals that have been in use since the 1940s, and are (or have been) found in many consumer products like cookware, food packaging, and stain repellants (especially prevalent in textiles). For more information visit the following EPA weblinks: Basic information on PFAS and https://www.epa.gov/pfas

     

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