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Leslie Schofield

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Threads of Inspiration

The Leslie Schofield Team tours Adibs Rug Gallery.

Housed inside what many Salt Lake locals know as the old Villa Theatre is an oasis of art, tradition and culture. Adibs Rug Gallery is arguably one of the most incredible hand-woven art galleries around. In 1930 Abolfazl Adib set out with a mission to enable rug makers who were farmers and homemakers by trade to be able to elevate their craft and become professional full time artisans. By 1974 Abolfazl’s son, Ray, opens the first Adib’s Rugs showroom in Walnut Creek California where the father and son worked together sourcing and sharing one of a kind rugs directly from their Persian showroom. Over time, Ray and his brother Dr. Hamid continued to grow their expertise for ethically sourcing long lasting and unique pieces which lead to the opening of the sister showroom, here in Salt Lake City, Utah. To this day they work to help craftspeople turn their passions into fairly paid professions.

In 2004 the old Villa Theatre was restored to historical accuracy and now is home to an extensive collection of hand woven rugs from Iran, Pakistan, India, Turkey, China and America. Nearly 100 years of family history and centuries of traditional rug making later you can feel the one of a kind space that has been created the moment you enter the gallery.

As part of our always continuing education, the Leslie Schofield Studio Team was able to take a tour of the Gallery with Dr. Hamir Adib as our expert guide. Educated on the traditional style of rug making, the cultural significance and storytelling that goes into every rug we were privileged to be able to walk the space feeling each hand tied knot of the backs of these works of art. While Leslie has worked closely with Adib’s Gallery for years, this was an introductory tour for some members of our team who are new to the area.

Rug Gallery, large rugs hang on the walls and piles of different size rugs fill the center of this large room, an old movie theatre, refurbished into modern day gallery.

“There are two things that make a room timeless: a sense of history and a piece of the future.”
Charlotte Moss

Stepping into the gallery feels like crossing a threshold into a world where time actually slows down, and centuries of work hold a palpable energy. As we were warmly welcomed by Hamid and Tim, the Galleries Manager, it became evident that this was more than just a place of business; it was a sanctuary dedicated to preserving the ancient art of rug making.

With palpable enthusiasm, they led us through the gallery, learning that behind every intricate pattern and vibrant hue lies a meticulous process, passed down through generations.

As we admired the intricate knots and weaves (some rugs holding over 1,000 knots per square inch!), Dr. Adib, shared insights into the meticulous techniques employed by master weavers. From hand-spun wool to natural dyes sourced from indigenous plants, every element is carefully selected to ensure the highest quality and authenticity—a testament to the gallery’s unwavering commitment to preserving tradition in a fast-paced world.

Yet, amidst the reverence for tradition, innovation thrives. Adib’s carries more than the traditional rugs. Dr. Adib enlightened us about the gallery’s approach to blending age-old craftsmanship with modern sensibilities when appropriate. Through collaborations with contemporary designers and artists, they breathe new life into ancient techniques, creating bespoke pieces that bridge the gap between past and present.

Moreover, they shared their dedication to ethical practices, highlighting the gallery’s efforts to support local communities and tradition, never exploiting child labor. Their business model reflects a profound respect for both craft and conscience in todays consumer driven world.

As our afternoon drew to a close, we couldn’t help but feel inspired by the passion and dedication radiating from every corner of the gallery. In an age of mass production and fleeting trends, places like Adib’s Rug Gallery serve as beacons of authenticity, reminding us of the beauty that lies in preserving tradition and honoring craftsmanship.

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