As Chris has worked as an
architect and designer for many years, he has always had a
tremendous appreciation for traditional craftsmanship and
design. He understands that the often anonymous craftspeople who put their heart and souls into their making of useful and
beautiful things are an essential part of the world's material
culture. So he had always been drawn to "Oriental" carpets,
initially without really understanding the tradition and craft
involved, rather just marveling at the magic of beautiful
designs, textures, and colors.
He was especially fascinated
classical Anatolian carpets, these designs that had been so
striking at the time of their inception, that they were imported
in large numbers into Europe, over hundreds of years, where they
were also appreciated and painted by celebrated Western artists,
like Lotto and Holbein, by whose names we now call them.
These carpet designs are a
particularly relevant testimony to the power of great art to
span across seemingly unbridgeable cultural boundaries.
Chris has also
been deeply influenced by his studies with the architect Christopher Alexander, author of “A Pattern Language” and "The Nature of Order". Alexander has
assembled a renowned collection of early Turkish
rugs. His book “A Foreshadowing of 21st
Century Art” is both a documentation of his collection
and a compelling and provacative theory about the intention,
genesis, and potential future of this mode of pattern making.
In the Summer of 2001, Chris
and his wife Biliana were in Istanbul, Turkey, on their honeymoon. In addition
to exploring the streets of this incredible and vital city, the Topkapi Palace, and the mosques of the architect Sinan, with
their soaring structure, sinuous spaces and shimmering Iznik
tile work, and partaking of the generous hospitality of the
Turkish people, they spent a lot of time looking at carpets, in
the shops around Sultanahmet, and in the Grand Bazaar.
But it was to the classic carpets
in the Vakiflar and the Turkish and Islamic Museum (TIEM), with
their bold colors and fantastic geometry that they kept coming