After running The Magic Carpet in Nevada City for more than 30 years, Paul and Eileen Jorgensen were considering retirement in 2012. But longtime customers and good friends Peter Cohen and Carolien van Straten convinced them to keep the business open and then joined them as partners.
Now, the store that features hand-made rugs from around the world has been in business for 36 years. And like the Jorgensens, Peter and Carolien exude passion when discussing the heritage and culture of the rugs in the store at 408 Broad St.
“The Magic Carpet focuses on rugs produced by the cultural survival projects we support. The rugs are handmade in the ancient tradition of using hand-carded and hand-spun wool that is vegetable-dyed,” Peter said. “The projects, which benefit women weavers and their communities, are in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nepal, India and Turkey.”
Now on display in The Magic Carpet is a copy of the world’s oldest known rug, the Pazyryk, which dates back to 500 B.C. The original rug is on display in the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia. It was discovered frozen in 1949 at the steppes of Mongolia in a prince’s tomb. The rug has an astonishing 278 Turkish knots per square inch, making it an incredible achievement and work of art.
The Magic Carpet team will hold a special event to commemorate its 36th anniversary. “The Oriental Rug: A Cultural Gathering Place,” will be held at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 12,, at the store in downtown Nevada City. The event, which will feature about 40 antique rugs, will give the public a chance to learn more about the journey and evolution of the Oriental rug.
“The rug has always been a significant part of any culture,” Peter said. “It is where families have gathered together to sing, dance and tell stories. For the nomads who carried their rugs with them, it defined their home.”
To learn more about The Magic Carpet and its upcoming show, call 530-265-9229, visit magiccarpet.biz or go to the store at 408 Broad St. in the New York Hotel. It is open from 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from 1 to 5:30 p.m. on Sundays.