Rug making is an art, one that can take weavers months to years to complete. From straightening and dying wool to weaving it into a final product, the process takes creativity and skill, but the end result is a beautiful work of art used to transform a space.
At Artisan Rug Gallery, each artistic rug is handpicked from around the world and used by clients to create a beautiful, unique home to live in and share with others.
Jeff Deutsch launched the business more than 30 years ago as a way to make money in college and fund his travels. While spending time working at a ski resort in South America, he stumbled upon vendor markets in Otavalo, a city in Ecuador. Primed with various artisans selling wood carvings, weavings and everything in between, Jeff had an idea—he could buy a selection of items and sell them back home in the United States.
“After I had decided to start the process of importing these completely exotic crafts, I began actively looking for other markets and scouring them for more unique and different things—always with an eye on the main goal of long treks and mountains to climb,” Jeff says. “I went to Huaraz, Cusco and La Paz for the mountains but left with an indelible mark on my soul from not just the mountains, but the people and their artistic nature. There was poverty, but they were rich with art. After my first trip, I had an incurable need to travel. At 22 years old, normal life didn't seem to work for me anymore. What began as a way to make a little extra money for college became an avenue for more travel.”
As Jeff continued to travel, he kept one eye on adventure and the other on local artisans “that made up the cultural fabric and artistic nature of these countries,” he says.
Upon returning to the States, Jeff would sell his international finds at festivals in Crested Butte. By 1991, he opened his first storefront there selling home décor and accessories, clothing, jewelry, rugs and furniture, offering customers a glimpse into life, culture and art overseas. In 2001, he and his wife Tiffany decided to focus solely on rugs.
“As we grew and matured, rugs became the items that we wanted to be known for. They last forever and you can really get to know people by the types of rugs they buy and the discussions that occur while showing the rugs,” Jeff says. “They are not disposable items. They last as long as the client wants to keep them, then they can be passed on to another user. In this day and age, that is something we are proud of.”
Today, Artisan Rug Gallery has three locations in Denver, Crested Butte and Charlotte, North Carolina catering to anyone wanting to personalize their home. From the abstract black and white options to colorful ones woven in Afghanistan, the wool and silk rugs come in various sizes, styles and colors to fit clients’ needs.
What began as a desire to travel has led to a 30-year-old business curating rugs and connecting with vendors from around the world. Jeff and Tiffany say their love of travel is still there, but their showroom, team and the beautiful rugs that surround them drive them each and every day.
“Life is what you make of it, and this is what we made of it, and we couldn't be happier about it,” Jeff says.