WHO WE ARE  (page 8 of 15)

Weaver with Star Ushak

Chris says "Another essential part of this level of accuracy is that, in the earliest and most highly developed versions of the classical design types, you see a 1:1 ratio of the horizontal to vertical in the knots.  It is difficult to achieve, because the Turkish knot is doubled horizontally, and when the weft is put in and packed down it also pushes the carpet even further into a more horizontal orientation.  What we do, which is a little more difficult, but which gives us the proper ratio of horizontal and vertical knots is we often use a doubled or thicker weft to give us a little more vertical orientation, and we also pack the knots more tightly horizontally than vertically.”  

At first, he says, he did try to make exact copies of particular carpets.  But several things quickly changed his attitude towards this approach.  While he was making his cartoons, he found that there were many little decisions to make, is there a red knot here, or a yellow, that would resolve this particular geometrical figure, and he found that often he still had to make creative decisions, it wasn't always black and white.

“Much as we imagine the weavers had to make choices as they were looking at a sketch or vagireh or certainly when they were weaving strictly from memory.” 

And something else altered his attitude towards making exact copies of certain carpets with one of the first carpets he made, which was a “Lotto”, named after the Italian Renaissance painter, with a Cartouche border, similar to the border we see in the later Lotto rugs, like the one in the Vermeer painting, “Sleeping Maid” .

“This border of this carpet at first struck me as very simple, but also very deep in its visual resonance, so I just had to understand it, to draw it, to possess it, and then to make a carpet with that particular border.  But the Lotto field that we see in the carpets this late in this line of development is actually less sophisticated, more what the scholar call degenerate, than the earlier classical Lotto fields.” 

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