Posted by Vincent Keers on 08-09-2002 11:27 AM:

Kurdish? Needle work?

Dear Michael,

I'll throw in a weaving.

The design feels Kurdish and Turkman at the same time.
There's a change in the field design at the left (the top) side.
I like the design in the two panels at the end.

It has groundwefts so isn't it Kurdish?
It isn't soumack. Think of it as needle work.

I allways thought of weftless work as lazy work.
Cheaper/faster to produce export quality.
Your salon didn't (not yet) change this.
No this isn't angry, this is me thinking.
A very difficult exersize for me as you can see!

Hope you like the needle work.
Thanks for the salon,

Posted by Michael Wendorf on 08-09-2002 03:41 PM:

fast and easy

Hi Vincent:

I think you are quite correct, at least in part. One explanation for Kurds weaving in the weftless transverse soumak technique is that it can be done very fast. Since it is not used in commercial weavings that I know of, I do not think cheaper is relevant at least not in the context we think of it - the race to the bottom to produce always cheaper and cheaper cost to produce commercial goods.

I also think your perception fails to take into consideration the care and quality that the majority of these weavings express. I do not consider the pieces to be lazy work. Quite the opposite. Moreover, if they reflect an effort to just produce something faster and/or more cheaply why not just slop it together, why use so many colors, etc.? The examples I have used to illustrate this Salon, at least, do not fall into the category of lazy, cheap, commercial weavings; at least in my opinion.

The piece you illustrate looks like an overlay - underlay brocade to me. And the existence of groundwefts does not have significance to me. If it is a brocade, I would expect ground wefts. Could be a Quchan piece.

Are you sure it is needle work? I doubt it.

Best, michael

Posted by Vincent Keers on 08-09-2002 08:01 PM:

A lot

Hi Michael,

It's because I never saw any old weftless soumack but I could buy wagon loads
2x3 meter weftless soumack, brand new from Iran and very cheap. So that's why
I'm trying to get my self thinking a different way.

Needle work? It's because if a design is made starting at one point, making a journey
going left up, rigth up, down right, down left ending at the same point, and the centre
is made the same way...different colour....creating a rhomb, it looks like needle work to me.
At what point could she weave a ground weft if the design wefts aren't continued
(and skipping the warps), at the back horizontally?

But I'll go for Marla's book now....where is it?........oohh....under my Pillow.....

Yep...found it. She tells us that some mix up brocade with needle work.
But she doesn't explain what I'm looking at, and tried to discribe above.
Maybe I should make a picture?

Oops........hope this doesn't upset Marla.
Sometimes people mix up needle work with brocade

Best regards,

Posted by Michael Wendorf on 08-09-2002 08:55 PM:

Iran made 2 x 3 weftless soumak

Dear Vincent:

The weftless soumaks I am referring to are all old pieces from eastern Anatolia. The are all sacks, saddlebags etc. I do not know the 2 x 3 pieces you refer to that are coming rom Iran. Perhaps you could post images of the front and back of one?

Thanks, Michael

Posted by Vincent Keers on 08-10-2002 04:30 AM:


Sorrry Michael. Can't deliver.
I traded soumack in sizes 2x1.4 meter that I got directly from Iran In the years 1996/1999.
Qashqai, beautifull, straight etc. But I couldn't get enough of them and they where expensive.
Then a guy told me he could deliver at a much lower price. I'm Dutch, so I was very intrested.
When he showed me some pieces they were floppy, look-a-like and weftless. He could deliver in all sizes.
I wasn't intrested.
I did make some pictures at the locations I sold the real stuff. I'll have a look in my files.

Best regards,

Posted by Michael Wendorf on 08-10-2002 09:28 AM:

Qashqai pieces

Hi Vincent:

I think I know the Qashqai pieces you refer to. I think we are talking about two different things - those weavings and the weavings I am calling weftless soumaks that were made in eastern Anatolia by Kurdish weavers. Go under your pillow and take a look at the section in Marla's book on weftless soumak. In the second edition there is a section on page 68. It shows the construction and the distinctive padded look of these weavings. These are different from the weavings from Iran you have handled, I think.

Grooten uit Ann Arbor. Michael