Posted by Marla Mallett on July 30, 1999 at 09:19:33:
In Reply to: Re: Shahsavan weavings posted by Wendel Swan on July 29, 1999 at 21:49:57:
Now you've gotten my dander up--with the statement, "...because they are easier and cheaper to make, flatweaves are the utilitarian structures. And no culture tends to value its merely utilitarian products." Sorry...Can't let this one slide by without a protest!
First, even little kids can and do easily learn to tie rug knots and copy either existing rug designs or cartoons. I suspect that just about anybody reading this could learn to do so in a few minutes, and in a few hours could gain some proficiency. Learning brocading, warp-substitution, double weave, etc. is an entirely different matter. Just give it a try and find out! (Does anybody here know how to even BEGIN with a warp-substitution weave!?) These skills are HIGHLY respected among the groups who practice them. And the products made with them are NOT considered "purely utilitarian." Purely utilitarian woven articles are the plain or striped sacks, ground covers, tent panels, etc. In fact, among those Anatolian semi-nomad groups that still include a few elderly ladies who can do brocading, it's THEIR weavings that are the current luxury products. Since there is not a good commercial market for such traditional things, however (at least new pieces), to devote time to their making is truly a luxury. Young women feel they can't afford the time to develop those skills. Among people who are not affluent, it is indeed a luxury to make and keep such products when one can instead be making something saleable. It's the same with artists and craftsmen everywhere. Anyone who wonders why all of the flatweaves have disappeared (among Turkmen or any groups) need only consider that they ceased being produced and the skills were gradually lost when a hot commercial market developed for alternative products. But plenty of evidence of their existence remains in knotted-pile designs.
Just so that someone doesn't reply: Why, if it's easy, does it take so long to achieve a refinement in the "weave balance"?...let me say that THAT matter is a community affair...worked out over time and so when new weavers--young people--start learning new weaving skills, they don't have to worry about such things. They need only follow instructions, use the materials that are handed to them, and be concerned with the proper interlacement, proper amount of weft ease, etc...just weaving mechanics.
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