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Megerian's Persian Rug sponsors rug-weaving events

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by Melissa Wilson

SBJ Staff

In honor of 65 years in business, Megerian's Persian Rug Co., 1309 E. Republic Road, sponsored a series of rug-weaving events April 16 and 17 featuring Tibetan carpet master Jampa Tenzing of Tufenkian Tibetan Carpets, a Nepalese rug company.

Tenzing, a native of Tibet who is based in New York, is a graduate of Johnson & Wales University in Rhode Island and began weaving at the age of 16. He has worked for Tufenkian Tibetan Carpets for about five years and travels the U.S. on weekends to demonstrate how Tibetan rugs are woven by hand.

"I am the only weaver from our company to travel and do exhibits such as this ... I enjoy explaining to customers how these rugs are made, and they are also very interested in learning about them," Tenzing said.

Tenzing said it takes about 3,000 hours to weave a 9- by 12-foot rug, and as a carpet master, he is also skilled in designing rugs, loom fixing, wool selection, carding, spinning and dyeing, as well as trimming finished carpets.

Tenzing, who was born in the Himalayas in 1959 as his parents fled Tibet during the Chinese invasion, is also a skilled Himalayan guide and interpreter, speaking most of the languages of the region.

"I learned this art (rug weaving) from my parents and was able to educate my eight brothers and sister from the money I made from it. Two of my brothers became Buddhist monks," Tenzing said.

In Springfield for the first time, Tenzing said his next exhibit will be in Omaha, Neb.

Megerian's Persian Rug Co. was begun by Vahan Megerian in 1934 and is a third-generation business now owned and operated by Voncille Elmer and Heather Reynolds, Megerian's daughter and granddaughter.

"This is the first time we've had a demonstration in our store, and we've gotten such a good response from it," Heather Reynolds said. "Jampa's company is the only one that I know of that does exhibits like this," she added.

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