Thursday, 22 October 2009

Something Old, Something New......

Antalya Wool Rug

Those who are familiar with Artery Gallery will know that we are always looking for something new and different to display here as it's always great to bring new work into the gallery, alongside our regular firm favourites. Discovering a new artist for our gallery is one of the most exciting aspects of working within the art world, and looking for new artists and different styles is something we all do here, not only as a matter of course, but as a passion.

We have found something new for Artery again, while on our travels - we now have a collection of beautiful hand woven Turkish woollen rugs and silk rugs.
I suppose hand woven rugs aren't art in a traditional sense, but the creativity and skill required to produce these, make them one of the finest art forms possible. We have two types of rug - those made from sheeps wool, and those made from silk.

Our woollen rugs are spun from wool taken from the sheeps soft neck, chest and belly area, as it is the downiest wool on the body. Many woollen rugs from other countries tend to use wool from the back and flanks of an animal, which is courser textured and gives a sparse and hard texture to the pile of the rug. Rugs made from soft belly and neck wool have a very dense and downy texture. The rugs have different designs on them, some depicting scenes, and some with patterns, which mean something, and are specific to particular areas of Turkey. Turkish women can spend anything from months to years making a rug, so sometimes sometimes a lifetime is expressed in designs, symbols and patterns on a rug, it also means that some of the rugs can be many years old.

Our silk rugs have a glorious soft sheen to them, and my own thought is that they are so soft, they feel like the back of puppy dog's ears! It's wonderful to have a piece of art which is so tactile. With silk, the colour of the rug can change, and shimmer depending on which way you look at it, because silk is a light-reflecting material. Turkish silk rugs are reputedly the finest in the world as there are over 200 individual knots per square inch, make it one of the most difficult handmade works to produce due to the attention to detail it require. As with the wool rugs, the silk rugs either depict a scene or pattern, which can tell a story, or denote the area they come from. Unlike the wool rugs, the silk rugs are brand new, and although the colour will mature on them, the vibrancy and 'brand new' appearance is maintained in silk.

All Turkish rugs use natural plant and vegetable dyes as opposed to chemical dyes which are often used on imitations, and in rugs produced in other countries. Plant dyes change with age, but mature and mellow, maintaining their vibrancy, but developing an aged look (a bit like humans!). Chemical dyes can fade, and the colour can be stripped out altogether, or worse still, totally change colour. Turkish dyes are all natural, and each strand of wool is dyed entirely from end to end, rather than perhaps having several different colours on the one strand.

Stop in to the gallery for a look (and feel) of these beautiful works of art.

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