Magic Carpets

By Carol Tisch Photography by Rod Millington October 1, 2011

John MurseHis medium: art for the floor. “Rug weaving is an art form like anything else that is handmade and beautifully crafted,” explains the owner of Rugs As Art, a landmark on Sarasota’s South Tamiami Trail—with locations in Port Charlotte and the new Bacon’s concept, which will hold its grand opening the first week of November in the former Robb & Stucky.

Celebrating the store’s 25th anniversary this year, John and wife Lucy have traveled the world sourcing remote weaving centers from India to China. And to fill a void for rugs that truly complement the Sarasota lifestyle, they’ve now designed and produced their own. Their softly colored made-for-Sarasota rugs are handcrafted in Bedoui, a weaving village in India, and already best sellers.

“We work as a team, but Lucy has inherent talent for color and design,” Murse says with pride. Together they’ve gleaned rug solutions for every room, decorating style and budget. “Whether you’re shopping for a $50 front door mat or a $5,000 showpiece, you cannot afford not to shop here,” he says.

Rugs As Art, 6650 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota (941) 921-1900


Artfull RugGet John’s Look 

Why are rugs art? “Rugs are a canvas for color and design, and our hottest new collection for downtown and Longboat Key condos translates paintings by fine artist Rex Ray into hand-knotted rugs. Presidio, shown in sea foam, is one of 18 designs.”

What this town needs:  “This town has everything I need, but we do need a three-lane corridor on U.S. 41 from Stickney Point Road to Venice on the north and south sides. It’s three lanes from downtown Sarasota right to this store, then two lanes all the way to Venice.”

Can’t live without: “My family. And the people at my stores are like my brothers, sons, sisters and daughters. They’ve been with us 10, 15, 20 years, and I don’t want to live without how I feel about them.”

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