Posted by R. John Howe on 11-06-2003 07:20 PM:

“Pinner Principle” is Persistent

Dear folks –

Some will be tired of what I say in this post since I have said it before, BUT, it is a notion of our discussions, here, that continues to be not infrequently encountered and is also one that, it seems to me, ought to be addressed, occasionally.

Once in conversation with Robert Pinner, the British rug scholar, I asked him if he ever looked in on Turkotek. He admitted that he had on occasion. I said, “What do you think?” Robert responded “I have a question. Why would a group of people who know relatively little about oriental rugs want to spend so much time talking about them in public?”

I responded, “Robert, if your comment resided entirely within the world of rugs, I would have to bow to your expertise and experience, but I think you verge unto an area with which I am more familiar. I think your mistake is that you believe that the only legitimate conversation about oriental rugs is authoritative conversation. I, on the other hand, would argue that a group of folks merely interested in oriental rugs, but with access to reasonable rug libraries and the ability to compare full color electronic images, can leverage each other’s learning usefully in conversation.”

I reported back to our owner/manager group. They were not impressed with Robert’s question and thought my response unneeded. “Tell him to go to hell,” one said, “we’re having fun.”

I have told my “Pinner story” repeatedly, in part because I like it and in part to demonstrate that we are not above entertaining plausible critique of our activities here.

Some things strike me about the range of responses it evokes.

First, there are some that recognize that we are NOT usually pretending to much authority here, but are instead focused on the enjoyment of exchanging images, views and opinions. (It is even possible, although perhaps mostly inadvertent, that some learning occurs from time to time.)

But there are also a visible number of folks who quite agree with the core of the assumption behind Pinner’s question. They feel, with him, that we should not in fact be doing what we do here at the level of quality that we manage in an arena that has a certain “public” character. That it is, in fact, all a little embarrassing. I have heard repeatedly that some “advanced” European collectors and writers “smile behind their hands” at the goings on here. One local collector said to me recently, “I agree with Robert. I would never post on Turkotek. I know if I did my phone would begin to ring immediately and incessantly.”

This latter feeling is strong enough and frequent enough that it needs to be explored a bit. What are its components?

Well, first, it would seem there is a concern about quality. There are vetting processes of various sorts that operate to screen those who write in rug periodicals, who present at rug conferences and even at rug club meetings. Here, literally anyone, who has a computer and access to the Internet, can post on any of our boards. And it is clearly the case that posts that flow at levels different from those to which we aspire are sometimes made. But there are two possible counterpoints to this argument. One, the presentations I have sometimes heard and the articles I have sometimes read suggest to me that vetting processes do not always operate as intended and, two, the fact that someone can literally “walk off the street and post” here, also means that sometimes we encounter useful views and perspectives and even images of pieces that would not even be proposed to most vetting processes. I watched Orson Wells’ movie “Citizen Kane,” last night. Kane, it is said, chose as his cast, actors who had little prior film experience, saying “That’s the only way to learn in such project, to have people involved who don’t know anything.” If this was his statement, I think it goes a bit far, but there is ample evidence that discoveries in many fields have been made by those untrained in them and who as a result don’t know what questions not to ask. I am not sure that the tradeoff is not positive. In any event I do not see the quality problem as “disqualifying.”

What else? Well, a major component of the embarrassment that folks might anticipate encountering if they post on Turkotek is likely linked to the “public” character of our conversations here. No one, it would seem, would object to particularly mistaken arguments about rugs and textiles if they had the decency to restrict themselves to private conversations.

It seems to me that there are at least three potential defects in this second argument.

First, I have witnessed great scorn being heaped on a rug view told (originally in confidence) by one person to another under the most solitary circumstances. So the shame is not irremediably attached to the “public” character of our conversations.

Secondly, note that the “public” nature of our discussions here is of a particular sort. While they can in fact be accessed internationally (this seeming to magnify the pernicious effects of any mistakes greatly), they do not intrude on most people at all. One can go through life without knowing that Turkotek exists. One can be passionately interested in rugs and textiles and not have Turkotek spring like a computer “pop-up” into your hobby. You can own a computer and surf the Internet avidly and Turkotek will not bother you UNLESS, you actively choose to connect to our site. So the “public” character of our discussions is not an invasive one and errors and uninformed opinions that occur here are experienced only by those who are here (virtually) on the basis of their own decisions.

Third, the embarrassment about mistakes and uniformed opinions ignores the great fact that errors are very often, precisely, an occasion for learning. More, a great many of the actual or seeming errors made on Turkotek will be corrected quickly by another participant or two or three or more. My own view is that while we need to be careful to be as accurate as possible, we fear errors, especially “public” errors, too greatly, and as a result often stunt our potential for growth through learning.

But some apparently feel that gaffs about rugs and textiles should be restricted to arenas approximating those suitable for the performance of basic bodily functions. I think this standard is not just too rigorous, but misplaced.

I invite exploration of the “Pinner Principle,” (including even better statements of it by adherents, although that seems unlikely) in this thread, because I think it is strong enough and pervasive enough that it limits our potential. In particular, it discourages some more experienced folks from posting here.

Every once in a while some friendly critic will ask on the side, “Why don’t you get more people into the discussions?” They say, politely, that it is a bit boring to hear from the same folks most of the time. I think this is a real critique (despite some of the numbers Steve has cited), but I think the tendency I have outlined and spoken to above is one of the major impediments for broadening and improving the quality of our discussions. Those holding this view seem to be indulging in a kind of self-fulfilling prophecy: discouraging participation of more experienced folks because the level of quality is not what their participation might make possible.

What are your thoughts about the “Pinner Principle?”


R. John Howe

Posted by Steve Price on 11-06-2003 09:23 PM:

Hi John

Robert has an impish way of expressing himself, and I suspect that was good-naturedly tweaking you when he asked you that. He knows the answers to his question just as well as you and I do. Here are some of them:

1. We enjoy conversation about a topic that interests us, and rugs is such a topic. I don't think there's anything odd about that. If people didn't enjoy talking about something that interests them, things like ICOC (which Robert founded and chairs) couldn't exist.
2. The activity is educational for those who participate (and for some of those who just read the goings on). There is a large pool of various kinds of expertise that is accessable on a public discussion board, most of it from people we wouldn't even know about if the forum didn't exist.
3. While it is true that many of our participants don't know a great deal about rugs, all know something about rugs and a significant number are experts in at least some aspect of the field.

I'm puzzled by the person who said that posting on Turkotek would generate a bunch of phone calls, presumably derogatory. Really? Are there large circles of collectors who all follow us closely enough to immediately know if one of them posts, and none of them think the content on the site is worthwhile? Why in the world do they read it? That strikes me as bizarre.


Steve Price

Posted by R. John Howe on 11-07-2003 06:39 AM:

Steve -

I don't know how large the group is but I do think that there are a number of people who rather frequently read our conversations here but who do not post.

There were at least two experienced people in the conversation I mentioned, who said that they looked at Turkotek sometimes but would never post.

One further sign of this is that we sometimes get messages on the side from experienced folks, who are obviously watching a given conversation and who are willing to participate, but only at a distance and sometimes only anonymously.

I think the full range of reasons that prevent such folks from posting may be complex.

Some will be of the view I have cited in my initial post in this thread. Others may feel that they need to reserve what they have to say to print media. Some may actually feel that they do not "write" well enough to express themselves in that way. I know several local rug authorities whose first language is not English and who are perfectly fluent in verbal presentations, but who know that they can't spell well and so would be reluctant to write a post here. And there are some, despite our efforts to make posting "user-friendly," who find posting daunting especially if they want to include images. We try to make that easy for them, if we can spot it, but I'm sure that we are not always successful.

But I do think there are some experienced folks who lurk on Turkotek sometimes, who would be embarrassed before their friends if they posted. Not a large group, I think, but one that exists.


R. John Howe

Posted by Steve Price on 11-07-2003 06:54 AM:

Hi John

Oh, I know that there are many people who read what's on here but don't post, and that there is quite an assortment of reasons among them. That doesn't puzzle me at all.

I am having a hard time making sense of the notion that someone doesn't participate because he is afraid that he'll get an immediate flood of (presumably derogatory) telephone calls from friends if he posts a message here. I guess I choose my friends differently than he does.


Steve Price

Posted by R. John Howe on 11-07-2003 07:39 AM:

Steve -

The sociology of hobby groups is not always admirable, but it is consistent and understandable.

One visible feature of it is that there are "opinion leaders," who often dictate the range of behavior that is to be admired. If one wants to be a "figure" in such a world, one must usually identify such folks and comply with the norms they articulate.

I think that's a large part of what is going on here. Folks, who either consciously or subconsciously want to be "figures" in the rug world are less likely to post here for fear of what the opinion leaders in that world might think.

More, it would appear that print media is still the "media of choice" for most of those most influential in the rug world.


R. John Howe

Posted by Richard Farber on 11-07-2003 09:05 AM:

Dear Mr. Howe,

I found your letter most interesting but wonder if what you say about "hobby groups" is not an attempt to understand something about the dynamics-of-opinion in groups in general and not for the specific set which you call 'hobby group'.

I am not up to date in sociology. Is the behavior of people according to their hobbies something that is studied ? I could well imagine that people that
keep pets are studied . . but those that collect woven articles ??? interesting.

What you wrote my be most applicable to the 'world of fashion'

You wrote:

***One visible feature of it is that there are "opinion leaders," who often dictate the range of behavior that is to be admired. If one wants to be a "figure" in such a world, one must usually identify such folks and comply with the norms they articulate. ***

Concerning the second point you raise . . . .

***Folks, who either consciously or subconsciously want to be "figures" in the rug world are less likely to post here for fear of what the opinion leaders in that world might think.

. . . . How do you characterize those who do participate ????


Richard Farber

Posted by Richard Farber on 11-07-2003 09:38 AM:

Dear Turkotekniks,

perhaps I might say something about Mr. Howe's first letter. [the Pinner Principle]

I am recognized as knowing something about related fields and have a large measure of respect for those who have spent years and years collecting data, defining it, analysing it, looking for paradigms and trends and all the other important activities the researcher does.

But I have come to realise that the general catagories that art-music-theater historians have to use so that children or students or any individual can get a first grasp on the huge amount of activity out there are at best pale reflections of the complexity of what is being studied. Expertise is best expressed in the micro and not in the macro.

Of course there are things that are either true or not true and hopefully we can understand the difference between fact and conjecture.

What I am finding hard to say is that people experienced [not only educated] in areas of the arts and crafts might well have something to say about trends and catagories that are important. About the macro. You dont have to be a musicologist to have something valid to say about the music that you have lived with. And especially about the place of that music in society or history although for an analysis of of the micro . . say the use of the passive tense in Dutch historical plays or a understanding of the cadence in feeling closure in orchestral pieces of the early nineteenth century you do have to know some facts.

There is a place for the generalist as well as for the professional and this site has am added value of bringing together people from different backgrounds to try to understand something about an art or craft that they find important in their lives.

Best regards

Richard Farber

Posted by Patrick Weiler on 11-07-2003 09:59 AM:

Dumb and Dumber


I suspect that one reason many do not post here, (not counting those who feel that posting non-anonymously could be "dangerous" - they may get spam or someone would track their computer down and steal their credit card number) is that they are afraid that what they post would be considered "stupid" or "ignorant". People do not want to flout their ignorance. And this is what Pinner is probably talking about.
The funny thing about many of the "leaders" in the rug world is that their pronouncements in writing come only after much research. It is like playing chess and not wanting to make a move until each possible negative outcome is considered. Because you know that even the "experts" would appear ignorant in the give-and-take of a dynamic, real-time exchange about ideas that may be outside their area of expertise. It is too easy to be blind-sided and become trapped in their lack of knowledge if they do not have the time or resources to "study" their way out of a sticky situation. Then how much influence would they have?

This is one reason that politicians have some anonymous "source" float potentially problematic suggestions to a select audience - fly it up the flagpole - before being confident enough in an idea to take it public.

It is only us who don't really know how stupid we are that are willing to show others in public our shortcomings.

Patrick Weiler

Posted by Michael Bischof on 11-07-2003 12:41 PM:

limitations ...

Hallo everybody,

do me a favor and do not pretend to be smaller than you actually are !
In case Pinner did in fact use his phrase as a kind of tweak I may smile with
him. As I respect him I guess his remarks were meant like that...
He knows too much so it cannot have had another meaning :
"Why would a group of people who know relatively little about oriental rugs want
to spend so much time talking about them in public?"

As imposed to the people who generate HALI this would work equally well, no, it
would work even better ...

There is one thing that I miss here: print media might be better respected. But
it costs a lot to produce them. They must be financed by advertisements. This
imposes certain limitations on what can be published and discussed - so opposite
to the respect given the existing print media in our area have less and not more
content. This figure is even enhanced when we move to "delicate" matters. I mean
problems that do exist but that cannot be discussed in print media because of
the above given limitations...

As a matter of fact we ( our team: Memduh Kürtül, Mümin Kurnaz, Susan Yalcin and
I ) found it difficult till impossible to publish
thoughts/results/problems/interpretations on topis like quality of modern
weaves, dyes, finishing methods, integrity of antique pieces, "grading" (
securing their provenance) , repairs and fakes etc. in any established print
forum. As a conclusion we stated that Turkotek seems to be the only
independant forum in our area - and this is a huge benefit !

The impact of truely independant research ( museums, public instutions like
univesities etc.) is scarce till non-existant and so there is no balance to what
dealers do. Nearly all literature is made by dealers, even at the level of ICOC
their influence is somehow there - and this is not a healthy situation.

Therefore we sense Turkotek as a kind of avantguarde event which all carpet
connoisseurs should support as good as they can - by contributing to it. Anybody
who has a scientific education will know that the fear to express an errors is
most likely the heaviest burden against progress. So there is no reason to feel


Michael Bischof

Posted by R. John Howe on 11-07-2003 11:25 PM:

This is an attempt to respond to Richard Farber's two posts above.

Hi Richard -

Good observations and questions.

First, I want to make clear that while a number of us on Turkotek do not pretend to be repositories for much authoritative information or experience with regard to oriental rugs and textiles, we do not denigrate such expertise and experience and in fact would like more of it reflected in the posts here. It is just that it is more accurate to describe our primary objectives here as those growing out of interest and centered on enjoying interchange about the objects of our neurosis. It is not that we are not interested in such things as advancing rug knowledge or learning. It is just that we can’t predict when, if ever, these two things might occur in our conversations here. Michael Bishof invites us not be too modest, but I would argue that we need to take care always to be appropriately modest.

I have noticed in all three of the arenas of hobby interest that I have observed (dogs, rugs, teddy bears) there are:

Lesser influential opinion leaders
A literature
Standards of some sort
Enormous time, resources and energy expended
More subjective judgments than those based on objective data.
Visible dysfunctional behavior in pursuit of recognition

You asked whether the statements I made about “hobby groups” might not have wider application. I think they do. I have a long experience in large work organizations and a number of the features I would attribute to avocational groups such as hobby groups occur in vocational settings as well.

Although I once studied “political sociology” closely, I, too, am not close to current trends in sociology. I would be surprised if at least some aspects of hobby groups have not been studied with some rigor but could not detect such work in a few Internet searches. And I do not know of a sociological study of collecting, although such might well exist. I do know of a novel that captures nicely the individual psychology of the collecting experience and does treat to some extent the forces that tend to play on a new collector. It is Evan Connell, Jr.’s "The Connoisseur." Here’s a link from our archives in which I described it:

You also asked about my indication that there are opinion leaders in the rug world, as in many groups, and those who want to become “figures” in such worlds usually need to identify these folks and to comply with the norms they hold with. In particular, you asked what implications this has for those who DO post here.

My own view is that those who participate here in our discussions do so for a variety of reasons. Here are some possibilities:

 They may see themselves as already sufficiently well-established figures in the rug world that they are not concerned about the potential consequences of being “seen in our company.”
 They may not aspire to be “figures” in the rug world.
 They may feel that they cannot get a proper hearing elsewhere.
 They may be attracted to the possibilities of this medium.
 They may simply be interested in following questions no matter where they may lead.
 They may not understand that there might be consequences for participating in our conversations.
 Their posting here may just be one more item of evidence of the extent to which they suffer from the neurosis of collecting.

Again, useful observations and questions.


R. John Howe

Posted by Richard Farber on 11-08-2003 12:13 AM:

Dear Mr. Howe,

thank you for well thought out reply . . . .

a question or two.

you wrote ******

Lesser influential opinion leaders
A literature
Standards of some sort
Enormous time, resources and energy expended
More subjective judgments than those based on objective data.
Visible dysfunctional behavior in pursuit of recognition


I think this list is important and want to understand it. What do you mean by politics in this setting ?

and perhaps you might consider changing the last item ?

Visible dysfunctional behavior in pursuit of a] recognition b] accumulation


Two personal comments

I would like to add that I find a certain generosity among contributors to the site. . . generosity in the sharing of thoughts and experience and generosity in allocation of time to the other participants and remarkably to those just beginning. Congratulations.

[I might have added a smilie here, but once a year seems enough]
the ability to find humour in what one does is perhaps the best preventive for having one's neurosis become a psychosis.

best regards

Richard Farber

Posted by R. John Howe on 11-08-2003 06:24 AM:

Richard -

I should have made clearer that the species of politics that I was referring to is spelled with a small "p." The dictionary definition that comes closest to my intent here is:

"Partisan or factional intrigue within a given group."

And I agree that the dysfunctional behavior extends to "accumulation," but that latter is, it seems to me, usually at least in part a means for achieving "recognition." Theoretically, it is possible to collect in a very solitary and private way, but most folks want their acquisitions to be seen and admired.

And I think your notice of a general generousity of spirit in the posts of most participants here is important and accurate. I also agree that humor serves us well in making sure that our neurosis does not progress to less desirable states. Neuroses can have their endearing aspects, as with the reputation of the British for quaint eccentricity. Humor helps keep it that way.

Your standard of only one emoticon per year is one I could not aspire to achieve. I have to take the potential "edge" out of what I write far more frequently than that.


R. John Howe

Posted by R. John Howe on 11-08-2003 06:37 AM:

Pat -

Too true. We know not what we do here. I get faint images of self-crucificion, occasionally, but they do not seem to work to prevent the next post.


R. John Howe

Posted by Bob_Kent on 11-11-2003 01:52 PM:

Let Hali Be Hali, and Turkotek be Turkotek

Rugs involve a vast amount of unsigned and undated material that crops up all over the place, so there are advantages to a free, fast moving, open-access medium where more people can discuss more things. Rugs aren't Rembrandts and there aren't 87 worldwide PhD programs in Rug Studies (a good thing, in my opinion), so a different sort of medium beyond an expensive and glossy print outlet may serve the rug audience, or parts of it.

On Turkotek, neither the things nor the contributors need to be screened by suitability for publication in a prestigious, space-limited medium. That's not a knock on Hali, which to me is great, but Hali can hardly give publish some of the ratty wonders that appear here alongside pieces that could go there or anywhere else. So, as one example, Hali could never do as much to help a new collector as Show-n-Tell or the salon discussions here can. And while the reader may have to do more to assess the level of expertise of people who post in open format, I am often very impressed, and I think we all know that expertise is not monopolized by particular publications in any field.

Also, people in the rug business (this of course includes many or most contributors to Hali) are forever crying that The World Needs New Ruggies (presumably to buy rugs, attend conferences, and subscribe to glossy magazines). Hali and Turkotek are just different, but Turkotek is probably a much better vehicle to make new ruggies than Hali

Posted by Steve Price on 11-11-2003 02:21 PM:

Hi Bob

You wrote, Hali and Turkotek are just different, but Turkotek is probably a much better vehicle to make new ruggies than Hali

I think HALI is unlikely to attract many people who haven't already been bitten by the rug collecting bug. This isn't a criticism, of course - it's a terrific periodical and keeps getting better. But there aren't many public libraries that subscibe to it, and it's much more money than someone new to rugs is likely to spend on a subscription to a rug periodical.

From the standpoint of the new collector, I think a site like this one has a lot to offer. First, it's free. Second, misinformation that gets put on it tends to get corrected fairly promptly by readers. Third, it's free. Fourth, as you note, the kind of pedestrian rugs that a newcomer is likely to have can be submitted for discussion and will be seen and treated seriously. Fifth, it's free. Sixth, the newcomer doesn't find hype from dealers promoting their inventories here. Seventh, it's free.

One of the things that happens when you get old is that you start repeating yourself. Did I say that already?


Steve Price

Posted by Michael Bischof on 11-11-2003 02:55 PM:

limitations ...

Hallo everybody, hello Steve,

haha, well done . Pretending to get old ...

To repeat , that means, to stress that it is free is important. But there is a
limitation in it: the light-weight construction of Turkotek makes it possible to
touch "forbidden topics" ( that one will not read about in HALI , for good
reasons, as I must admit ) but the beginning collector rarely finds really
exciting pieces in show-and-tell, pieces of a kind that would help him to improve his taste ...
Whereas HALI is often used as an indirect kind of sales platform ( I do not mean
he advertisments !) I see too often "pedestrian rugs" here , not something one would dare to work out an ICOC lecture about, that stuff.

So for certain reasons that I do not know the quality level of this compartment
in Turkotek is not too helpful to collectors in my estimation. Well, even in
case on starts to learn one should have positive goals ( high quality, first as
a measure , then one starts to catch it ) .
This and the fact that still too many readers do not contribute are the main
bottlenecks of Turkotek.

Of course this is meant to be a provocation ...


Michael Bischof

Posted by Steve Price on 11-11-2003 03:17 PM:

Hi Michael

You're correct about most of the pieces in the Show and Tell section not being really exciting, but I'm not sure that learning requires a steady diet of excellent rugs. Explanations of why middle-of-the-road (or less) textiles aren't judged to be outstanding can just as educational as explanations of why outstanding pieces are judged to be outstanding, especially for the newcomer.


Steve Price

Posted by Michael Bischof on 11-11-2003 03:56 PM:

good diet ...

Hi everybody, high Steve,

it is not like learning "... requires a steady diet of excellent rugs.." , I
would guess it requires a "partial diet" of excellent rugs, but this constantly.
If one would only look at them all the time one would feel discouraged, thinking
one never ever could reachthat level of excellency. It depends on the mixture, I
guess ...


"Explanations of why middle-of-the-road (or less) textiles aren't judged to be
outstanding can just as educational ..." - but this rarely can happen. Everybody
here, myself being no exception, tries not to discourage the beginner. Sometimes
a more frank language would be really helpful, but only after the "basis" for
this straight approach between these two parties is constructed. That normally
cannot happen within this type of free, spontaneous but more or less anonymous
Therefore your sentence marks an exception, not the rule. Often enough I am
tempted to write like "what, please, shall this piece do here in a collector's
frame ?" - but then I do not ...

I had been curious about another website in the USA with a promising title that
showed much more passion, suggesting even obsession, than "Turkotek" does.
But I had to stop being on their mailing list after the first 5 mails, dealing
with incredible ugly, boring commercial material of today ... but this short
look was enough to suppose that those people there will never learn anything
that would lead them to taste and quality. I know that this "subculture" of
collecting exists, where people spend a lot of energy to pile up compliments
about"smart" cheap buys but I am used to escape that as quick as I can.

May be my demand is too high to expect such quality things in a higher amount
to be shown in a beginner's context. At salon discussions, with specially
prepared essays, it is much different as I admit.


Michael Bischof

Posted by Bob Kent on 11-11-2003 06:06 PM:


A new collector can learn on Turkotek by reading and / or submitting their own things to show and tell. The nature of show and tell dictates that things there won't all be great (or maybe even good) pieces, but who at Hali is going to provide info my latest odd baluch or worn Kurd? Often when one piece is shown, people provide images of more interesting related examples.

"If one would only look at them all the time one would feel discouraged, thinking one never ever could reach that level of excellency."

Hmmm. Exposure to "great" rugs at the MAV, Lyons, ICOC, Graz, etc., was fun but it didn't discourage me in the least, and I am a very low-spending collector (or perhaps that is why?). First, while there is much to learn from such pieces, I liked some things and I didn't like others. These rugs were in collections of great rugs for good reasons, of course, but some still didn't do that much for me. And what do I care, I just enjoy owning a few old things that appeal to me, reading, travelling a bit, and learning a few things. There are always people with more money, less money, more time, less time, and I am not sure that I'd buy a "great" rug if I had much more cash than I do now. I might rather buy a mess of worn stuff, learning more by reading about more objects, buying more things, living with a greater variety of stuff.

In buying things, I try to ask myself what pieces I would like best if they all cost the same amount, and I often do not select expensive "great" rugs. I try to just follow my own preferences after exposure to a range of pieces and some good reading (articles on comparative aesthetics such as Steve's ORR one comparing Yomut chuvals or the Mark Hopkins ORR one on Jafs are the best and all too rare; Turkotek salons showing variety and range of pieces are very good, also). Since I don't care too much about condition or if things are particularly old or rare (what am I, a curator?), I might select less than great, old, or rare things. For example, I really like jafs and they aren't rare or old.

Posted by Richard Tomlinson on 11-11-2003 11:36 PM:

hi michael

you wrote;


"Explanations of why middle-of-the-road (or less) textiles aren't judged to be
outstanding can just as educational ..." - but this rarely can happen. Everybody
here, myself being no exception, tries not to discourage the beginner. Sometimes
a more frank language would be really helpful, but only after the "basis" for
this straight approach between these two parties is constructed. That normally
cannot happen within this type of free, spontaneous but more or less anonymous


i can only speak for myself but, as a a beginner, i would really appreciate frank comments regarding pieces i put up for display.

i have had some dialogue with members of turkotek offline, and their comments have really pointed me closer to the direction i should be heading.

i hope my comments here will have constructed a basis for a straight approach for me :-)


Posted by Steve Price on 11-12-2003 12:38 PM:

Hi Richard

I think Michael put his finger on the essential dilemma: the line between "absolutely honest" and "brutal" can be pretty thin, and we (almost all of our participants) try not to be brutal. The nature of the medium precludes the encouraging glance or smile, the touch on the shoulder, the body language messages that could soften what might otherwise be brutal. This means that words have to be chosen carefully. On the other hand, I don't think many of the participants pretend to be enthusiastic about what they think is pedestrian.


Steve Price

Posted by Richard Tomlinson on 11-13-2003 08:41 AM:


congratulations to filiberto for being 'frank' in your latest show and tell post. (you even used the word FRANK in your summation :-)

and your comments are far from being brutal.

hurrah !!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Posted by Bob Kent on 11-13-2003 08:56 AM:

truth in jest

I agree with steve that comments may be interpreted differently over the internet versus in person (here comments are more public, there are no noverbals, etc), so presentation really does matter...

People here do a nice job of providing information on age, condition, etc., in a funny way: my things have been called "sixth quarter," "past sell-by date," etc ... an architect friend describes uninteresting houses in great neighborhoods as "noncontributing.."

Posted by David R.E. Hunt on 11-14-2003 10:06 PM:

Post Anxiety,Quality vs Quantity,Brutality, Ect.

Greetings All- Why do we post here? I would imagine we can find

as diverse answers to this question as we have a diversity of contribuitors. Testing one's knowledge by using their peers
response as a yardstick? A way of assembling a catalogue of images by which to research designs? Or even posting short
subject essays in the hope that people will critique them, as opposed to just standing around in virtual space and asking stupid questions (sound familiar)?

I myself am well familiar with the anxiety factor, having composed little more complex than a grocery list in the last 20
years- yes, and for all the world to see- but it's really not so bad after all for you see, I am a nobody. I would think that for a
somebody, such as Mr Pinner, some overexposure might be
detrimental to their image- much as with my numerous
happenstance meetings with Alan Alda of the television series
M*A*SH* fame, you can only run into someone so often on a
street corner untill it becomes "Outta myway buddy" just as with
anyone else (illustrative purposes only, you can rest assured I never told Alan Alda,and in general anyone else for that matter, to get out of my way).

In all seriousness, these high calibre dealers/collectors have images to maintain, and while not sasying this IS the reason why
they so refrain from posting on Turkotek, these are business people as well as collectors.

Much of what I would characterize as expertise, I.M.H.O., strikes me as being specialized, micro vs macro as it were- not that a more broadly
based depth of expertise doesn't exist, but that it doesn't seem to generate the amount of discussion stimulated by more
specialized topics such as dyes, photography, ect. Or is this just a reflection of those limitations of our cyber medium and of textile
collecting in general? Take color for instance, that aspect which is so important, yet both words and electronic images fail us.

It took me a little time to get up to speed, after having found this site, but I can say that(at least I think) I have came a way since visiting Turkotek. Perhaps the most important aspect is that of realizing what others collect and what is of interest to more accomplished collectors. So much can be learned just by listening.

Thank You so Much All-Dave