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The Art of Woven Legends

The Industrial Revolution revolutionized the ancient craft of carpet weaving.  It drove a wedge between the artist and the material of her art.  As recently as the twentieth century, conventional wisdom held that the great traditions of carpet weaving, bound as they were, for example, to the art of natural dyeing, were extinct, replaced in the early 20th century by a rush toward making "handknotted" carpets in factory-like conditions, with the highest priority placed on uniformity of color, design, and dimension in  accordance with a program rather than an artistic vision.  Indeed, it is primarily through an understanding of materials, across a broad spectrum of skills, from the handling of raw wool to the dyeing of yarn, to the active role of the weaver in interpreting design, that we discover this most cooperative of arts, the weaving of a whole carpet.

For the first time in many decades it is possible for collectors of antique oriental carpets, as well as individuals furnishing a home or business, to find beautiful, contemporary handmade carpets that are the equal of carpets woven centuries ago.  The company most often identified with this renaissance is Woven Legends, whose weavings have been exhibited in galleries, museums and showrooms throughout the world.  By pioneering the use and cultivation of natural dyes since 1982, as well as re-establishing the hand spinning of indigenous nomadic wools in Turkey and elsewhere, they have heralded a return to the traditions that existed before the Industrial Revolution, when the disastrous effects of inexpensive, harsh colored synthetic dyes and machine processed yarns displaced thousands of farmers and artisans in Europe and Asia.  The success of their work is expressed in artistic terms by the rugs on this site, which represent not only the best of contemporary weaving, but are among the best carpets to be woven in the past century.


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