Welcome to RuGypsy!

My name is Connie McCoy and I want to share with you my love for rugs and other handmade textiles from the Middle East and nearby areas.

One of my favorite childhood memories is that of playing and lounging on the big Oriental rug in my grandparents’ living room. Eventually, after I made Big Sur my home, that rug became mine and I carried it with me from one household to another as a treasured, reassuring link to my past.

Over the years, the comfort of that rug led me to collect other rugs and textiles, but my interest became a passion when I worked and traveled in the Middle East, Georgia, and Armenia.

I became a rug merchant by chance as I began seeking textiles to cover the floors and furniture of my university flat in Van, Turkey. Nosing out all the tucked away rug shops in town, over a few months my flat became warm and inviting, full of my finds, yet I continued to frequent the shops. I came to love the learning process of seeking out lovely handwoven things—enjoying the textures, the colors, the various weaves, discerning the lineage, the age, the techniques, the congenial company of dealers. One day when I was trying to make a choice from a stack of much-desired items, I gave up and told the happy dealer, Hamza, “I’ll take them all!” At that moment, I decided to become a dealer myself.

My teaching work sent me all over Turkey and in between I traveled on my own. I’ve had the opportunity to see rugs and other handwovens in the environment in which they were made, patronize remote rug shops, visit museums devoted to the craft, drop in to weaving and dyeing workshops, and also tour the countryside where the animal fibers and plant dyes originate. Friendly rug merchants have given me an education, for they love talking about their wares, explaining techniques, loaning me books, dragging specimens from the bottom of a pile or out of the back room, always coming up with something special.

I’ve brought back (and now import) not only rugs but also woven saddlebags, tent entrance covers, angora goat hair spreads, horse trappings, doorway hangings, dowry covers and much more. I collected most of the pieces in southeast Turkey, but many were produced by nomadic and settled tribes of neighboring Iran—Shahsevan, Afshar, Kochan, Luri and Baluch to name a few. Fibers are all natural, of wool, cotton and goat hair.

I love everything about this path—traveling, meeting people, learning more about the craft and being surrounded by beautiful natural things. Through this website, I hope you’ll join me on this continuing journey.