Carpet Cowboys

Carpet Cowboys
Carpet Cowboys
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There is a good chance that if you have ever been to any hotel, casino and office building then you must have walked on a carpet made in Dalton, Georgia. Little known city produces about 90% of the world’s industrial rugs, despite this fact, people are not aware of it. Almost all the carpets from the simplest looking ones to those with mixed up patterns either garish or eclectic, are made in Dalton. This meant that even such small southern town was able to offer employment opportunities and wealth for those pursuing their destiny. However what happens when boom turns into predictable growth rates and no space is left for courageous young people who want to make names in carpet design?

This is exactly what Carpet Cowboys document aims at addressing. The film reveals more about how the Dalton carpet industry operates as well as talking about personal lives of some men working here. Both Emily Mackenzie and Noah Collier who directed the movie were skillful enough to juxtapose these two parts equally.

The visuals remain subtle yet beautiful while presenting an interesting and under sung topic through Carpet Cowboys clearly showing its world. It is important for documentaries like these to bring on viewers who are new to their subjects just as much as those already into them; this does that excellently.

One meets various people along the way such as Lee Phillips whose company investigates the durability of carpets; Harry Ward who was born in Dalton but chose another path rather than joining the carpet industry; most significantly Roderick James a Scot man who came to Dalton searching for his American dream.

Roderick gets more airtime than anyone else but everyone interviewed has something important to share about themselves. For example Harry mentions about him doing rock art instead of making ‘carpets’ environmental impact of making ‘carpets’ before he talks about carving human faces on stones many years ago.

Every moment, however minute or major it might be, has its own place hence Lee getting pet faeces at a vet so as to observe how well it stains the carpet. Similarly, in the company that does stress testing, there are employees whose sole duty is to walk around circles and test various carpets samples again after some time. They have to make the 20,000 passes which totals into two weeks of work which makes one wonder about how many steps go into making an item most people don’t think twice about when they consume it.

As far as Roderick is concerned, he sounds disconcertingly similar to Brian Cox, and in that regard, he serves as the ideal point of departure for discussing industrialism and the American dream, which are the central themes of this documentary. Despite his Scottish heritage, Roderick hardly ever appears in public without a US flag somewhere on his clothes while he always wears a cowboy hat. He says his friends in Dalton call him “Scottish Cowboy.” For instance, he can brag about having made carpets and even talk about some future projects which might or might not materialize. His untamed confidence level is just right to keep him chasing after dreams always convinced that they are all attainable.

To turn carpet manufacturing into a study of characters that symbolizes the American mythos is not an easy job at all The film however goes beyond its parts when it comes down to details regarding both interviewees and visual observations

Whether these filmmakers came with any anticipated viewpoints on their subjects or personal biases, none of this emerges from how Dalton or its inhabitants are depicted Each subject interviewed or rather each narrative told lacks judgment which works well for them as well as their audience who can make up their own minds about these interesting people

The same amount of attention has been paid to its all-important visuals. Dalton has some beautiful and vast scenery, which Roderick compares to the Scottish Highlands, so it must be filmed faithfully This is because it provides an interesting contrast with the interiors of the factories and warehouses used for the production of their carpets. Placing industrial plants next to undulating hills emphasizes how incongruous it is that such a small town in Georgia could be part of global constructions You would never think or imagine that casino carpets in Las Vegas come from the same place as those found in hotels located somewhere within New York City though they do originate there: lovely Dalton.

It’s unsurprising then most subjects venerate them since everywhere you turn in Dalton, you are surrounded by carpets. Whether the interviewee speaks positively or negatively about it, the subject of carpets is given a lot of seriousness and one cannot escape how much it means to each person’s identity There is one subject who describes it as “the canvas on which all other art rests,” which is an excellent metaphor for how he imagines it as being bigger than flooring.

There are countless jobs provided by this industry for people in and around town and factories and warehouses everywhere. Homes have had to be destroyed in order to make room for new carpet businesses. As one interviewee reflects upon the fact that his childhood home was among those torn down, he says “it’s all part of the cycle” because although his house is gone, new employment opportunities have been created.

The carpets have acquired a divine status for the Dalton community; the industry that provides, also destroys. Using this framing helps one understand why both sides of this documentary coin work so well together. It is in every way presented visually, and thematically that this movie is made up of contrasting elements reflecting what Dalton looks like in real life. For the people of this community who are addressed here, tension and unhappiness result from this difference thus necessitating mythologizing their carpets and town.

Now we come to where the American dream enters into play. Some of these men are so dedicated to their craft that it can be intoxicating yet frustrating at times. The Carpet Cowboys feature Roderick spending some significant amount time pursuing new design jobs and contracts that do not appear promising at all. Nevertheless, his talking about finding inspiration everywhere from nature suggests that he continues to enjoy his job (Brooks). Would an industry which has already peaked still be a good place to seek your American dream?

The idea of industry decline is very prevalent in the documentary especially when it reveals it was shot in 2019. Looking back now, COVID-19 was just around the corner—something whose global economic impact was enormous leading to the collapse of a myriad number of businesses. Therefore, save for worrying about their lives there is even more reason for worry for these people.

One issue with this documentary is that after much of what happens has taken place; we are given an update two years later on how things turned out. Unfortunately, nothing about this addresses the pandemic properly nor does it offer any sort of significant update on several key storylines either (Brooks). While including an epilogue discussing how carpets were impacted by covid could have been too much information at once however omitting its mention altogether leaves questions unanswered. Instead of adding anything substantial as far as ending goes, the documentary would have been best without including such an epilogue but simply extended some of the action.

Running to 85 minutes, this is by no means a bloated film that stays on point in terms of its core themes and ideas. Therefore, it doesn’t mean the quality of film is hugely affected by this closing issue; rather it only implies that the final section lacks conciseness when compared to the rest. By showing how overblown the industry has become for this community, Carpet Cowboys manages to generate interest about Dalton’s carpet production thereby feeding into a national proclivity for mythologizing. It is industrial but pastoral, focused yet grand as well as bleak yet inspiring.

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