It’s hard to go to the Dallas Design Center without developing a new obsession, but after spending an hour with Elizabeth Eakins, let’s just be polite and say I left with an extreme rug crush. And, okay, a girl crush. Eakins is the legendary creator of some of the finest rugs and textiles in the country, and they are on full display at Holland & Sherry, which recently acquired her 41-year-old company. Many of the rugs originate from sheep that graze on her 240-acre farm in a small Kansas town. After they fill their bellies on the alfalfa and hay she grows for them, Eakin shears, spins, and weaves.
The fact that her business mind is as keen as her artisanship—and this is really rare—is evidenced in her flexible, responsive program for designers and their clients, whom she encourages to be the real artists in the creation of works using her colors and spun wools (from drenched deep indigos to a thousand variations of white), patterns and designs. In a moment dominated by tech overdosing, owning an Eakin is a stake in the ground for authenticity. My prediction is that with a new boost from Holland & Sherry, the discerning Texas market is going to go wall-to-wall.
Wool 101 with Elizabeth Eakins
So, what do you ask a world renowned rug-maker when you get the chance? How to clean pee stains out of wool, obviously. Elizabeth says the key verb is blot—don’t rub. Do not use pet sprays such as Nature’s Miracle (though water extraction professional rug cleaning is fine).
- First, water test to make sure you are not making it worse.
- Then, use one part Ivory soap to 10 parts water, or one part clear vinegar to 10 parts water. (She uses bottled water—not tap.)
- Blot, blot, blot.
- Flush (meaning, blot) with plain bottled water.
- Repeat the whole process.