Beauty under foot |

Beauty under foot

photo by Ryan Salm/Sierra SunTruckee Mountain Rug Co., located on Jibboom Street in downtown Truckee, is where customers from around the region come to find one-of-a-kind rugs.

What began years ago as a small collection has now become a great passion and a second business for Michael Kent Murphy. Truckee Mountain Rug Co., located on Jibboom Street in downtown Truckee, is where customers from around the region come to find one-of-a-kind rugs.But theyre not just any rugs. These woolen carpets are all hand-made, many from decades past, by nomadic tribes native to Persia (Iran). The method for creating these rugs today is nearly the same as it was when the craft came to be nearly 2,500 years ago, according the Iranian Cultural Information center at Stanford University. They are a product of migration, Kent said. As [tribes] go from summer to winter pastures with their herds of sheep often a distance of 200 to 500 miles they collect their own wool, hand spin it, and use natural minerals, plants and insects for their dyes, Kent said. Items such as pomegranate skin, walnut husks, madder root and indigo are found in the region and are often used.Inside the 2-year-old Truckee Mountain Rug Co., more than 400 of these vivid rugs are rolled, hung and stacked. Some are small enough for a table top, others are larger than king-sized beds. The Gabbehs are a free-style type carpet that has no planned pattern and is made by the Qashqa’i people of southwest Persia. They use simple geometric shapes, often in khaki, blues and greens, but, as can be seen in the rug shop, many of their weavers also lean heavily on bright reds, yellows and purples.Most everybody likes the Gabbehs, said sales associate Lesli Tucker. They seem to brighten up the house.Other carpets, like the Chobis from Afghanistan, look a bit more formal and are made with definite floral patterns and subdued natural dye colors such as straw, pink and rust.Every country in the world has rugs and they are all wonderful things, but for some reason, these just got to me, said customer Cynci Calvin, who has purchased more than a dozen of Murphys rugs for her Auburn home. We didn’t know if they would work in our house, but once we got rolling we just couldn’t stop; we’ve got them on our floors, we’ve got them on our walls, and there are still places where I would like some more.The appeal of these rugs often goes far beyond the visual, Kent said, because the stories of their creation are so profound. As women migrate, they must build and re-build their mobile looms, which means that buyers can often see where the journey stops and starts, Kent said. Every inch of length takes 1 to 5 days to weave, so large rugs can sometimes take more than a year to complete.The hand-tied wool rugs are probably the longest lasting rugs made by anybody, Kent said. They are still in good condition after 100 years of wear; you need the first 20 years just to break it in.For more information, go-to

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