Diana Quin & Andrew Ledger of Rugs Oriental
Home to an eclectic collection of traditional and modern handmade rugs, home furnishings and accessories, Rugs Oriental has been Cayman's first choice for under-foot flair since 2004. Founded by long time resident Diana Quin, Australian Andrew Ledger joined the team in 2009 and helped expand offerings to include custom designs. A complimentary 'try before you buy policy' ensures clients are happy at home, while at the shop the dynamic duo are always eager to talk warp and weft and share globe-trotting tales about tracking down the perfect rug.
DQ: My husband and I moved from Bermuda in 1985 with two small boys and a dog after leaving Northern Ireland three years earlier.
AL: A school mate lured me here in 2007 to play a game of cricket. I had no plans of sticking around but I fell in love with island life, met my dream girl, got my dream job and now I hope never to leave!
RL: Tell us about Rugs Oriental.
DQ: It's the best place to shop for high quality, hand-knotted traditional and contemporary rugs on the island, although it also looks like an art gallery at times with rugs adorning the walls. It’s very colourful, with unique handmade accessories as well as rugs.
RL: Tell us about your partnership.
DQ: The best thing is that we get on well. Andrew is like a fourth son, but more patient! He encourages me to go outside my comfort zone and try new things. I think I bring experience in choosing the rugs and an eye for colour.
AL: When I was a tour guide in Turkey I became great friends with a seventh-generation carpet collector, Huseyin Sahin. I spent many hours in his shop listening to stories and learning about the history of the rugs: how they are made and the meaning behind the motifs.
DQ: There is such a cosmopolitan community living in Cayman that we need to have an eclectic collection of rugs: Persian silk and Tribal wool pieces, Turkish kilims and prayer mats, new colourful contemporaries from Pakistan and everything in between. We try to choose pieces that work with the Caribbean light and flooring.
AL: Many homes here have unusual sized spaces, so our custom design service is perfect. Using the latest software, clients get computer-generated images based on their design specifications. Once the design is locked down, we recommend making a small sample rug so clients can physically inspect it for colour and quality before committing to the final product.
RL: How does one go about choosing a rug?
DQ: Be open minded. Ideally it helps to measure the space you wish to fill, have an idea of colours that you like and know your budget.
AL: I always encourage our customers to buy a rug because it speaks to them. Handmade carpets are an investment and will last for generations; you have to love them. Our in-situ trial service is completely free, so I encourage clients to ‘take and try’.
AL: There is no such thing as a bad handmade rug. They are all made one knot a time and the weaver’s thoughts, dreams and love are all woven into the final product. The value of a rug is determined by the work that goes into making it, the quality of the materials, the provenance, the uniqueness of the design and the age.
RL: Tell us why a client might like a vintage or antique rug.
DQ: These rugs have their own beauty, often with a patina from years of use. They are special pieces reflecting a culture or history from another age. Some are becoming increasingly rare to find, thus have become collector’s pieces. It’s also an extremely environmentally friendly decision – you are recycling while breathing new life into a piece of functional art.
AL: Carpet designers have started to combine antique designs with the latest materials and techniques to create a unique fusion of traditional and contemporary design. Ancient patterns and motifs are being updated using techniques such as disintegration, overlapping, glitches, reinterpretation and similar effects that can be aided by digital manipulation. This has created a completely new aesthetic, called 'Transitional' which can be recognised in both a historic and a contemporary context. The innovation coming out of the rug industry in recent years is truly inspiring.
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