Tuesday, July 18, 2006

ASID IP Focus: Merridy Gerlach

IP Focus
By Mike and Bev Landfair, Allied Member ASID

This quarter the IP focus is on Merridy Gerlach of Tufenkian Artisan Carpets. The interview took place in the Tufenkian showroom on 21st and W. Burnside. When we walked in, two golden retrievers greeted us. Henry is the lighter colored golden, ten years old, and Lucy is darker and eight years old. Merridy is a beautiful, tall blond, co-manager, who has been at Tufenkian’s for nine years. She stays fit by moving carpets around, walking her dogs and gardening.

Merridy has been an IP member since 2003. She has been highly involved with ASID, and was on the board last year as the IP Representave to the Board. She was in charge of the planning of last years's Vendor Fair in Ashland. She also regularly attends member meetings and has been a great support to the Chapter.

We discussed Tufenkian and discovered that there are three Corporate showrooms in the country: Manhattan, Los Angeles and Portland. There will soon be one in Dallas, Texas. Our first question was “Why Portland?” Tufenkian Carpets has been an established showroom in the Portland area for over 25 years, originally carrying carpets from all over the world. When David Tufenkian prepared to retire from the showroom in Portland in 2002, James Tufenkian, who is the Founder of the Tufenkian Corporation based in New York, realized that the Portland Showroom was such a fixture with the designer community that the relationship was too important to disrupt. The Tufenkian Showroom is now focused on the carpets that Tufenkian produces. The complete collections of the Tufenkian Tibetan and Armenian Carpets being made are displayed on racks, which makes it very easy to review the selection.

The carpets are magnificent, hanging on the walls like fine art. Still made in Nepal and Armenia the time-tested way by citizens who benefit from Tufenkian’s business philosophy. Special training, higher wages, work places with modern amenities, health programs and schools for local communities and a ban on child labor are hallmarks of the Tufenkian way of doing business.

“It is a wonderful place to work”, says Merridy. “Not only do I get to be a support system for designers, using my creative abilities as much as are needed, but I know that Tufenkian is supporting the people that are involved with our product. We feel passionately about making a difference in the places where our carpets are made.”

When not working, Merridy spends time with her husband Doug and their families which both live in the Portland area, gardens, travels (she would love to visit Nepal and Armenia) and reads. Two of her most recently read books are Sight Hound by Pam Houston and Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston.

In addition, Merridy is a Tellington Touch Practitioner. The Tellington Touch is a holistic approach to helping animals get back in balance physically and emotionally.
We mentioned that we have a golden named Ralph that we rescued and live in Merridy’s neighborhood. In Merridy’s case, dog people are good people!

Bev & Mike
Landfair Furniture + Design Gallery

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