Museum of Me: Art on the Ground
Rugs, Rugs, and more Rugs
Last October I took a little road trip to Cleveland to visit the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) for the first time. Nestled in the middle of Case Western Reserve University campus, the building, a stunning geometric structure clad in mirror-finish black stainless steel, is quite something to behold on its own, but I was eager to get inside to view the exhibition.
Wall to Wall: Carpets by Artists was an incredible showcase of contemporary art through the traditional craft of weaving and rug making. As a fiber artist myself, I was blown away by what I saw. What I appreciate most about the rugs that come through the doors of Grandview Mercantile is the artistry involved in their creation and this show was a wonderful display of how that artistry continues to evolve. The modern imagery on some, abstract style on others, and updated takes on traditional patterns created one of the most fascinating exhibits I’ve seen in recent years. I was particularly drawn to the work of Faig Ahmed and upon looking deeper into his work, have found yet another favorite artist.
I’ve fallen in love with antique and vintage rugs thanks to my job, and can easily see myself covering all of the floors in my house with them if I’m not careful. Not only are rugs functional and decorative, but the more I learn, the more I’m obsessed with their origins. There is a wealth of knowledge to be learned, but below is a bit of information about some of the styles we currently have in our store:
Considered some of the highest quality rugs in both craftsmanship and design, Sarouk rugs are one of the most sought after styles in the world. Originally created for the Persian aristocracy, Sarouk rugs, and particularly those from the Ferahan region in Iran, typically display a very traditional, floral motif with wonderfully intricate details. The color palette and dying techniques of Sarouks changed post-1920s to appeal more to the American audience. As a result, rugs that were produced in the 19th century and into the early 1900s are highly sought after as the new techniques did not create the same long lasting, high quality these rugs are known for.
Kilim rugs are flat, tapestry woven carpets that are produced in many different regions. Kilims have no pile and are very lightweight, allowing them to be easily transported. The compact production technique of these rugs creates a durable floor covering perfect for high traffic areas. This is also a style that easily lends itself to contemporary designs as well as traditional and tribal patterns.
Known for designs incorporating large medallions and floral motifs and crafted using a technique of much large knots than other rugs, sometimes less than 30 knots per inch, Oushak rugs are beautifully elegant and perfect for finishing off a formal setting, These rugs originate from the city of Uşak in the Anatolia region of Turkey, a major rug production during the time of the Ottoman empire. The color palette of most Oushak rugs have a red geometric or floral pattern against a dark ivory or golden background.
The more I learn about the history, artistry, and craftsmanship of all types of rugs, I realize how little I know and how much more I need to learn. I wish I could go back to the exhibit and study each rug on display in detail. It is fascinating to me how a craft as old as rug making and weaving, has endured through centuries, been reinvented many times over, and continues to to inspire creativity to this day.