Monday, January 11th, 2010...5:41 pm

Inspired by: Geometry + culture

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I’m all about geometric designs right now. A year ago I was assigned a story for a local magazine about a local rug shop that specializes in semi-antique hand-knotted rugs, like this:

persian-rug

I learned that hand-knotted rugs are so special because they don’t have a pile, which means they don’t wear down like traditional synthetic carpets, which means they can last pretty much forever. Apparently they’re most expensive when they’re either brand new or super old, but the medium-aged ones (“semi-antique”) are the most affordable. (Read: Still $1,000+ for something room-sized. That’s why I don’t have one yet.) My favorites are the old Middle Eastern ones that have a palette of earthy red, black and white, plus some unexpected neon colors. It’s like the color palettes make no sense, and yet they make perfect sense. And, even though they’re they’re covered with pattern and color, they somehow work as a perfect “neutral” in a room.

Then this winter, I started seeing a handful of Native American-inspired geometric prints, like Mociun’s awesome blanket coats:

mociun-nightcoat.black_1

Note that she is standing on the coolest old hand-knotted rug ever! Its patterning looks so random.

At antique stores I’ve seen lots of pillows made out of vintage rug remnants, which are a more affordable way to start my collection. The site Vanishing Textiles labels what culture each one is from, like:

turkish-kilim

Turkish,

afghani-kilim

Afghani,

navajo-kilim

Navajo.

They seem to have a cohesiveness that brings them together… and yet they’re from different sides of the world! And many are from a hundred or more years ago. It’s kind of like we’re all more alike than we realize, and we always have been.

Does anyone know how these these graphic likenesses across cultures have happened? I’d love to know more from a historical perspective. Any closet anthropologists or design history majors out there? :)

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