Swatch – Kilim
- a pileless, tapestry-woven rug or other covering made in various parts of the Middle East, eastern Europe, and Turkestan.
The word Kilim derives from the Persian word “gelid” which holds the meaning “to spread roughly” this refers directly back to the texture that is created through these traditionally woven rugs.
Believed to be of Turkish origin, Kilim rugs are considered to be one of the most ancient fabrics, pieces that date back to as early as 7000bc have been discovered.
Ancient Turkish tribes migrated to areas of Iran and Afghanistan bringing with them one of the worlds oldest textile traditions. Now the kilim originates from Turkey, north Africa, Iran, Pakistan and much of the middle east. The traditional kilim rugs carry with them forms of cultural heritage and self expression. They are rich masterpieces with deep symbolism from each culture that is integrated into their unique patterns.
These handwoven textiles have often been popular due to their eye catching patterns and complex colour palettes. They are seen to enhance an interior as a classic floor covering or now used more widely for wall hangings, upholstery and cushions. Seen as more of an art piece of the people that made them by hand. They hold great authenticity as each is unique, this is due to the nature of how they which they are created.
Woven on looms using techniques that have been passed down through the generations, Kilims are created using tapestry weaving techniques. Tightly interweaving the warp and weft to create a flat weft faced surface with no pile. It is this that makes the kilim rugs different. Each side is then made identical due to this technique, known as silt weaving. Successive weft yarns interlocking and manipulated to create blocks of colour and primarily using plain weave to create bold the geometric designs.
These designs can be rich and complex or solely aesthetic. There are no strict rules to weaving and each piece therefore is unique. They can hold a romantic reflection of history and ancient heritage. Each of which can reflect the heritage of the cultures of which they are rooted. This can also been seen in the skills used in which to do so. The symbols and patterns can have deeper meanings, representing animals, stars and fertility for example. The more complex the design the more time they take to produce. It is these bold distinct bold patterns that make them stand out against other rug designs.
Within a neutral interior it is the killms colours that can vital. The authentic colours from the traditional kilim textiles is why they are so sought after. often earthy tones that reflect their culture and of where they are woven. Wool is primarily the yarn of choice when it comes to this type of textiles. made from sheep fleece it is natural in strength, pliable and easily spun and accepts colour well. Using the natural tones of the fleece along with natural vegetable pigments to create more vivid colours. This material is also widely abundant where from the flocks in the mountains where the traditional textiles are produced. Cottons are now used more widely as warp yarns and also as highlights within designs. You would often also find animal hairs such as camel, horse and goat amongst the more common yarn. Used for strength and also texture.
When looking how kilim rugs have now infiltrated into the modern interior, they not only have become a way to adding something that is authentic and crafted by hand into your home. these designs have now been revived either by simplifying the geometric elements or the colours used to 2/3 shades or more softer tones, even neutrals. They have been transformed onto cloth, a lighter weight version using the basics of a kilim pattern, a more aztec idea.
The weight of a kilim rug is one of the most favoured qualities to the original textile, its what makes these original and useful within interiors. Be it on upholstery or soft furnishings to add texture and interest.