Kilims of the month – Fethiye Alara kilims

Whilst not being ‘in style’ at the moment, there is a sense of history in these kilims that to me, transcends fashions and times.

Fethiye Alara kilim with camel wool

Fethiye Alara kilim with camel wool

The simplicity of the design speaks to the very origins of kilims.  It is thought that kilims pre-date carpets and began with a simple monochrome palette.  Which eventually lead on to the weavers step by step expanding their expertise and experimenting with designs, first by adding coloured bands which we see in these kilims and perhaps adding small motifs brocaded on top after that.

Fethiye Alara kilim with camel wool

Fethiye Alara kilim with camel wool

And on and on it goes…larger motifs forming the designs, slit weave technique, soumak technique, more complex borders.  The stunning variations within all kilims came from the most humble of beginnings.

These kilims are instantly recognisable once you know what to look for.  Banded stripes with few filler motifs.  Generally speaking they tend to be of excellent quality and considering what their original purpose was (a camel cover); you realise that it HAD to be strong.  Here are some pics of showing the cover in use on the camel and another being used to cover the stored goods once camp is settled.

Camel cover in use.  Pic J. Powell

Camel cover in use. Pic J. Powell

Being used to cover stored items in tent.  Pic J. Powell

Being used to cover stored items in tent. Pic J. Powell

Often referred to as Fethiye Alara kilims, the weavers are actually nomadic tribes that frequented the Taurus Mountains which divide the Mediterranean coastal region of Western Turkey from the central Anatolian plateau.

Nomad shepherd in the Taurus Mountains

Nomad shepherd in the Taurus Mountains

These are actually made using camel wool that has been hand spun.  I know I sound like a broken record when it comes to the importance of the HAND SPUN wool, so I won’t get into it again 😉

But some other facts regarding the natural properties of camel hair/wool from wiki: “The colour of camel is primarily golden tan with a variance of red to light brown tones. Camel’s hair is also a fibre that supplies warmth without added weight. The hair contains thermostatic properties which can protect and insulate the camel from the extreme cold conditions as well as keeping them cool in the desert. The same properties and characteristics are transferred when making fabrics woven from camel hair.”

Turkish women spinning wool next to her camel.

Turkish women spinning wool next to her camel.

The motifs most often seen on these types of kilims are protection motifs like scorpions, eyes and also ‘pitrack’ woven for abundance.

So while they might not be the most glamorous of kilims or have the deep complexity in their design as some others; I still love them for their simplicity.  And how they demonstrate the Anatolian nomad’s skill in creating multipurpose functional art from only the natural materials that surround them.

fet2

We currently have 3 of these kilims available for sale.

 

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