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Local company keeping art of ancient rug making alive

It is a centuries-old tradition.  A dying art.  A labor of love.

And here in the Greater Milwaukee area, a company is keeping the tradition of authentic, Persian carpet making alive, thousands of miles away from where it began. 

Since 1982, Orley Shabahang has been producing fine rugs, selling them at its Whitefish Bay store.  It has since expanded its local location and opened branches in Florida, Michigan, and New York City.

The company does a lot more than just importing and selling.  It actually raises its own sheep and silk worms, working in tandem with native farmers and artists overseas.  

Each rug takes approximately one year to create, and no piece is the same.  Each carpet is made from hand-spun wool and silk, and is dyed using ancient traditions, company President Mehran Iravani said.

Orley Shabahang deliberately chooses to contract with individual artists instead of opening a large factory overseas, allowing them to stay rooted in their communities and practice their art in their native land, Iravani said.

Click the podcast player above to hear our interview with Iravani, and follow this link for more information about the company.  

Director of Digital Content | Radio Milwaukee