Long-time antiques dealers Blanche Greenstein and Thomas K. Woodard had been selling antique quilts, rugs, and furnishings in Manhattan for years when a man walked into their Upper East Side shop with an offer of wholesale quilts handmade in India. The partners weren’t interested in the quilts but asked if the visitor knew a source for hand-loomed, flat-woven rugs. Antique ones were getting scarce.
“He said, ‘my family has made rugs for 2,000 years’, ” Woodard says. He and Greenstein asked for samples, and several months later they received a package from India, addressed to Mr. Tom and Mr. Blanche. “We’ve been Mr. Tom and Mr. Blanche ever since,” says Greenstein.
Some 40 years into the relationship, the rugs are still made on “real old-fashioned hand looms” by the same company, in a factory two hours north of New Delhi. “The weavers sit on the floor and work the loom by hand, strand by strand,” Woodard says.
Available in more than 100 designs, rugs can be made in widths up to 12′ wide without seams. They’re made from top-grade cotton hand-dyed and spun into thread in the same shop. Working conditions are top of the line; all dyeing and weaving are environmentally sustainable.
While every rug design is unique to Woodard & Greenstein, all are based on historic floor coverings and color palettes, including rugs or fragments the two have encountered during their collecting careers. One popular design, Brookfield 51A, “is adapted almost exactly from a rug I found under a table at a flea market,” Greenstein says.
The rugs are so durable that repeat clients may only reappear after 20 or 30 years. But they do come back. Says Woodard: “Our rugs bring a hand-done warmth to a room that you can’t get from anything else.”
Woodard & Greenstein / Woodard Weave
Long Island City, New York