More Notes by Barry O'Connell

Notes on James Blackmon


For more than 30 years, James Blackmon has been involved in the field of antique carpets and textiles as a collector, importer, textile restorer, textile conservator, textile cleaner, weaver, textile appraiser, a writer on, a lecturer on, a student of and a curator for various private and museum exhibitions and lastly, a textile gallery owner. James has also served on the board of the Textile Arts Council of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco and is currently a member of the Textile Museumıs Advisory Council. His most recent project was as curator of ³The Fabric of Life: Columbus Collects Textile Art² at the Columbus Museum of Art in Ohio. Reviewed in Hali 137, pgs. 64 - 70.

The James Blackmon Gallery is devoted to the promotion and appreciation of antique textiles as art. Through the gallery he represents unique and historically important textiles and objects of high artistic merit from the Near East and Central Asia, Africa and the Andean region of South America.

Over the years the Blackmon Gallery has gained international recognition as one of the finest galleries of its type in the world.

James Blackmon Gallery
Antique Textile Art
2140 Bush Street, #1
San Francisco, CA 94115

Tel: (415) 922 1859
Fax: (415) 922 0406

Saturday 9:00 to 10:00 AM Marquee 1 & 2, John Sommer, assisted by Jim Blackmon, will present a rare group of non-Turkmen rugs, textiles and artifacts that are little known outside of Russian museums. Many of the rugs, screens, felts and other textiles he will show were acquired directly in Kirghizstan. Travel slides will augment the talk.
From the ACOR 3 Program Focus Sessions Friday, January 26

The James Blackmon Baluch Prayer Rug

The James Blackmon Tekke Turkmen Main Carpet C. 1830 - 1860

The James Blackmon 6 Gul Tekke Torba

Guide to Eagle Group/Fine Brown Yomut

But not everyone can make a living at the popular pastime of dealing in folk art, antiques

That's not the way it was 30 years ago when rug dealer James Blackmon got out of the draft during the Vietnam War by pretending to be crazy. He traveled to Afghanistan, where he got hooked on tribal carpets. When he returned to the Bay Area, Blackmon made a modest living restoring carpets before discovering he could make more buying and selling old carpets than repairing them.

Blackmon, who sells by appointment from his San Francisco gallery, says his biggest problem is finding good material. ``It's hard to find any overlooked area,'' he said. ``Turkmenistan or Uzbekistan might open up for a year or two, but then it dries up.''

He also observed that with TV shows on collecting, online auctions and other sources of information, ``everyone is more sophisticated and collectors often view dealers as competition.'' - All in the Details "Last but not least, local dealer Jim Blackmon, having sat out last year's show, returned to mount his best display for some time, with a carefully chosen mix of Old and New World material. The front of his stand was dominated by a superb Aymara mantle which, like much of the brilliantly woven Bolivian Altiplano material in the concurrent exhibition at his Bush Street gallery, was last seen in the Smithsonian Institution's 1983 travelling exhibition (see Adelson & Tracht, Aymara Weavings). After the bustle of the fair, with its enormous variety of sometimes brashly colourful material, the elegant, even 'spiritual' presentation of these delicate woven masterpieces was a true haven of peace and a place for contemplation." - Bay Area dealer James Blackmon will host an exhibition of Aymara textiles "Aymara Aesthetic Thursday, January 30, 2003
In early 2003, in addition to exhibiting at the San Francisco Folk, Tribal and Textile Art Show (14-16 February), Bay Area dealer James Blackmon will host an exhibition of Aymara textiles, 'Aesthetic Choices', in his Bush Street gallery. He will also show other antique textiles, including ethnographic costume and early Anatolian kilims."