Textiles from Turkey at The FolkArt Gallery
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Woven Dreams

Woven Dreams
T his year I was drawn to Turkey, curious about life in an Islamic culture and the consistently unflattering portrayal the media gives about the Middle East. What I found instead was beautiful country with friendly, charming, resourceful people who have a long tradition of hospitality embedded deep in their religion and culture. The people are experiencing profound changes in their social structure and are trying to cope with the same problems and concerns that people the world over share: raising their families, finding useful employment, pursuing their spiritual concerns, and so forth. It is a dynamic, exciting country with one foot in the East and one in the West with all the ensuing controversy and conflicts.

When I went to Turkey, it was not my intention to buy carpets, but I quickly saw the vital role they hold in the life and culture of the people. These beautiful, vibrant, colorful textiles are everywhere: on the floors of the mosques, on the sofas of homes and restaurants, on the walls of nomadic tents. Layer upon layer, pattern against pattern, they covered every imaginable surface. As I explored the lifestyle that created these works of art, I was drawn further and further into history—and a rapidly disappearing way of life. (History in Turkey goes back to 10,000 BC, the site of the earliest human settlements.) The closer I looked, the more I could see the important role kilims have played in the nomadic life and rural lifestyle, the symbolism and communication they embody, and the religious and spiritual significance of the rugs.

In the end, I, too, had fallen under the spell of the magic carpets, captivated by the sheer artistic exuberance and achievement, not to mention their ethnographic significance. Becoming enchanted with these powerful expressions of color, motif and composition has truly been a doorway into another way of life.

As I looked over scores of kilims, each more beautiful than the last, I began to discern the difference between merely excellent craftsmanship and the work of a truly inspired artist. Hopefully, our collection reflects this distinction. Our choices, hand-selected from hundreds, come from many different regions of this immensely diverse country and incorporate a variety of different kilim techniques.

I have tried to focus on pieces with an oldstyle, tribal aesthetic, with artistic integrity derived from a traditional lifestyle rather than those produced in workshops for export to suit western tastes.

Pasha

Sitting in a shop deep in the labyrinth of the Karpili Carsi (Grand Bazaar) in Istanbul, drinking tea and haggling over the price of kilims, one becomes part of a timeless tradition that has gone on endlessly for centuries at this crossroads of the ancientEast/West trade routes...

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