Woven History & Silk Road – Two Treasures, One Gate through which one enters this Shop of Unity that offers an exceptionally rich and ever-expanding gallery of weavings, textiles, gift items, antiques, furniture and collectibles from along the Silk Road, the oldest-known trade road. Silk Road side offers over two hundred different items from Turkey, Bulgaria, Bosnia, Macedonia, Iran, Armenia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tadjikistan, Kyrgystan, Kazakstan, Nepal, Tibet, Sikkim, Bhutan, India, Mongolia and China.
Woven History produces some of the finest vegetable dyed, hand spun wool, tribal, village, oriental and urban rugs in the world at its own looms, working with Tibetan refugees in Nepal, and Afghan refugees in Pakistan, with the hope of reviving dying arts and crafts while helping refugees help themselves, countering child labor in the carpet industry and providing finest carpets at the best prices. The Tibetans who oversee our looms in Nepal are one of the founding fathers of Rugmark.
Mehmet Yalcin, the proprietor, frequently travels along the Silk Road and visits the looms, villages, bazaars, and tribal groups. There he purchases one of a kind, collectible weavings, including rugs, kilims, sumaks, saddle bags, grain bags, salt bags, arrow bags, cicims, vernes and other textiles. Mehmet feels that hand-selecting the items he imports is the key to consistently ensure the quality of his merchandise. Sometimes several hundred rugs must be carefully viewed in order to pick only two or three pieces. These two shops also serve as cross-roads for people who have any interest in Central Asia, while serving as a cultural center by sponsoring various events to serve the Capitol Hill community, our nation’s neighborhood, and beyond!
Woven History in Exploring America VOA Uzbek TV
There are feature stories and other writings about Woven History in several national newspapers and magazines, including Sky Magazine offered on many airlines. Woven History can be found in just about every City Guide Book, some of which are Let’s Go, Time Out, Capitol Hill Map and Guide, and Fodor’s.
There has been editorials on Woven history and Silk Road in Architectural Digest and Hali Magazine. There has also been feature stories, articles and interviews done on Woven History and Silk Road in the Washington Post, Washington Times, Jerusalem Post and other national and international publications. Voice of America’s Turkish and Uzbek Services have done documentaries on Woven History and Silk Road as well.
Listen to Reporter Alex Van Oss from NPR’s Weekend Edition, talk with Mehmet Yalcin at Woven History.
See the feature story published in the Battle Creek Enquirer.
It has been published in dozens of local newspapers around the country, which are affiliates of Gannett News Service.
We have the original newspaper at our shop, for anyone who wants to see it.
A WHOLE NEW WORLD
Refugees keep Culture Alive in Colorful Carpets
Hollis L. Engley
Gannett News Service*
"SATURDAY, NOV. 2, 1996 BATTLE CREEK ENQUIRER 11A"
At our looms in Nepal we produce some of the finest Tibetan carpets in 60 knot (per square inch) and 100 knot quality. Hand-spun, hand-carded, hand-combed Himalayan wool is used, which is all vegetable dyes, hence these carpets are hand-washable. The designs are traditional, some of which we revive.
We also introduce designs from the outside, such as the arts and crafts designs by William Morris. Our non-traditional Himalayan village design rugs are very popular. Village and life in the village is depicted on these carpets. Some of them will have the name or initials of the weaver with a date, as well as other writings in Tibetan or Nepalese.
It is there that this project took root. Brave and industrious people, they were willing to do whatever was necessary to maintain themselves and their way of life. What they have always known best was weaving carpets. Due to the pressures of the modern world the art and technique of dyeing wool with vegetable dyes for carpets had largely passed out of existence in the last 40 to 80 years. It was the initial aim of our project to rediscover and revive those techniques, and then combine them with traditional Ersari designs that had also fallen out of use.
Having lived somewhat nearer than most ot the Turkmen tribes to the great Central Asian commercial and artistic centers of Bokhara and Samarkand, the Ersari adopted a far greater range of color and design in their weavings than many of the other remote Turkmen tribes. It has been our intent to attempt to revive this rich tradition of design and color in all the glorious hues of their original vegetal dyed antecedents.
The principle dye sources we use to achieve this are madder root for red, indigo for blue, and asparak flower or pomegranate husks for yellow. Manipulation and combination of these dye sources allow us to achieve a wide palette of colors. Wool is as important as dyes to the creation of a great rug. To this end we use only hand carded, hand-spun wool from Afghanistan. While our wool source may vary from time to time we are constantly searching for the best available and the wool most consistent with the lustrous, long staple wool found in antique Ersari Turkmen carpets.
All of our carpets are washed in soap and water only. While they may shine less initially we feel that the long term benefit to the customer is great. This is the way in which the carpets we are recreating were traditionally finished. The wonderful sheen which they developed came after years of use and washing, and we believe that our carpets will achieve the same if given the chance. Each carpet contains a small inscription, usually woven into one corner or end giving the name of the weaving family, the place woven and the date, as well as the weaver’s preferred choice of identity, usually “Turkmen Mahajer” — Turkmen refugee. These inscriptions are in Persian characters, however English translations are available. While not something that was so common traditionally, we feel that these inscriptions provide a personal connection between the ultimate recipient of these carpets and the hard work and artistry of the weavers.