It’s uncommon to meet women who have recently traveled in Iran. As the owner of a tribal Persian rug gallery in Key West, traveling there regularly is part of my job. Much to people’s surprise, it’s one of the things I love most about my work. Realizing the unique position I’m in, I take the opportunity whenever I can, to share my experiences with others in an effort to dispel some of the myths that surround the Iranian people.
I have found the Iranians to be some of the friendliest, most welcoming hosts. Despite what we hear in the news, the Iranians I meet love Americans. Everywhere I travel in Iran, people welcome me into their homes as though I were family.
The place I spend most of my time is high up in the Zagros Mountains of Southwestern Iran. The Quashqai Nomads have lived there for hundreds of years, herding their sheep and making some of the most beautiful rugs in the world. The women of the tribe weave the rugs . . . one knot at a time. When I travel there, I’m not only hand selecting the rare and treasured rugs called Gabbehs, I’m also connecting with a community of women who are continuing a tradition that has been passed down through generations.
My mission for my gallery is to offer exceptional art and, in doing so, share with my clients the spirit of the individuals who create the work.
Wendy Asplundh in a village on her way to the Zagros Mountains.
Wool being spun by hand.
Women knotting a rug in the shade of a tent.
The beautiful sheep of the Zagros Mountains.