|Knotting silk into carpets is extremely
difficult and tedious.
The people needed something to keep the yurt warm, so they knotted carpets. (The oldest carpet discovered is thought to be around 1000 years old.) Once they settled down instead of moving constantly, the Turks started producing finer carpets.
|Turkey produces fine-quality silk to use in making rugs.
|Younger women are learning to knot
and preserve this ancient skill.
On our visit to the Cappadocia region of Turkey, we learned more about how these rugs are made at the Matis Turkish Rug School in Goerme. We saw silkworm cocoons in a tub (shake them to hear the rattle of a live silkworm inside) and saw how a strand comes out of each. Raw silk has 300 filaments per strand; in fact, it is so strong it will cut granite. To complete the workmanship, only natural dyes only are used for coloration.
|Schools become factories producing handmade rugs.
|A myriad of designs, sizes, and
materials can be found in prized
Dozens of beautiful rugs in a variety of styles, colors and designs were spread on the floor, and we were invited to touch them, even walk on them. So, of course, I did, including a purple rug just like one custom-made for Elton John. Meanwhile, I sipped on raki, a strong, anise-flavored milky-looking alcoholic drink which I diluted with water.
Of course, the school/factory has plenty of carpets, large and small, for sale. Depending on complexity of design, fabric, and number of knots per square inch, even wall-hanging sizes can be museum-quality collector's items.
Because I love and admire handmade things, it’s not surprising that I found a beautiful rug I could love, but I did not buy another one. Since I already have three Turkish rugs it seems I have enough heirloom pieces.
Photos by Larry and Beverly Burmeier