Words by Corinne L. Casazza | Photos by Brynn Burns
en years ago, Scot Bullock (then owner of The Rug Studio, a to-the-trade showroom in Overland Park) visited Brady Legler’s family home.
Scot was struck by the beauty of the Kansas City artist’s canvas and told Brady he was looking for more abstract inspiration than their traditional oriental rugs. “Is that something you’d be interested in?” he asked.
From this chance meeting, a strong relationship emerged—one that remains strong today under new owner Phil Aitkin.
The first painting made into a rug still hangs over the Legler kitchen table. Tree of Life has bold pops of color and is based on Brady’s colorful Italian family. “It has a lot of color and emotion,” Brady says. “Italians can fight and scream one minute and hug and kiss the next. It seemed fitting to start with that piece, something so personal to me.”
"I like to surround myself with things that make me happy. That’s what I hope my products do for people. I want you to love what you buy, and I want it to make you happy.”
Family is important to Brady, and his grandmother, Nana Lou Legler, has been a force in his work. “Her influence is in my DNA. She came from a very humble Italian background and believed everyone has something to offer. She was kind, nurturing and compassionate. Her sense of style and outlook on life drained right into me. ”
That open outlook encouraged Brady to take his inspiration from anything. “I can see the beauty in a ketchup bottle,” he says. “Little things inspire me.”
And big ones, too. Brady was awed at the scale and texture of his work the first time he saw it transformed into a room-sized, handwoven, knotted wool and silk rug.
“It was so large and impactful on such an emotional piece. The Rug Studio’s level of expertise is mind-blowing to me. I mix my colors by hand and they’re able to match my crazy colors perfectly. When I saw Tree of Life, it looked exactly like my painting—the colors matched exactly.”
That’s no surprise to Phil. “We can take a design in any color a client chooses and have a rug weaved. The custom options available are limited only by your imagination,” he explains.
The studio has relationships with artisans and weavers in Nepal, India and Afghanistan. These weavers are skilled at using photos or drawings to provide a rendering of the carpet for clients to preview.
The Rug Studio stocks an inventory of traditional, transitional and contemporary rugs of all colors, designs and styles. “The ability to offer custom rugs makes us unique in the Kansas City area,” Phil says. “We’re able to develop really close relationships with our customer base because we’re only open to the trade.” For anyone looking for a statement piece that’s happy and vibrant, this is it.
“Brady’s works are contemporary with bold colors and translate beautifully into rugs,” Phil adds.
The Customization Process
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