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What is a Kilim?

  Welcome to the first blog in our new series on handmade Turkish Kilim items!  Not only do we feature beautiful one-of-a-kind Kilim rugs in our collection, but most of our handmade items and accessories are made using Kilim rug fabric.  We wanted to take the opportunity to provide you with more information on what exactly Kilims are, what makes them unique, and how and where they are made.    

The word Kilim means traditional rug in the Turkish language.  What makes Kilim rugs unique is that they are each handmade, thus some may feature similar patterns but no two rugs or pieces will ever be exactly alike.  Using a loom and a flat weave technique that relies on interweaving the various fabric and color strands of wool together, skilled artisans meticulously and carefully hand-weave Kilim rugs.  Using a variety of colors and patterns, the artisans weave beautiful rugs that consist of several sizes, shapes, color-schemes, and patterns…the possibilities are endless.

Using wool fabric that is mostly dyed using natural or vegetable dyes, Kilim rugs tend to be mostly or entirely made of natural materials and colors.  Kilim rugs are soft, thin, and flexible in nature unlike the typical consistency of machine-woven or pile rugs.  Kilims take on different designs and patterns depending on the area in which they originate, which are concentrated in the Anatolian region of Turkey.  This region has been producing beautiful Kilims for a long time and many of the vintage Kilims from this region are featured in our online store.  The region continues to produce Kilim rugs which are inspired from the vintage and antique Kilims that were made in the 1960’s.

Kilim pattern

Due to the linear weaving technique used to make Kilims, the patterns tend to be more geometric rather than floral and also contain cultural Turkish motifs and designs that signify a specific item or symbol.  For example, the scorpion or akreb design which resembles a star or asterisk shape, signifies a scorpion and is meant to offer protection from them.  Another common pattern that is seen in Kilims is that of an eye or göz, which resembles a diamond or multi-layer square and is meant to ward-off the evil eye.  

In this modern day and age, most Kilim pieces are made just for decoration and are beautifully hung as wall tapestries, are used as rugs, or developed into household goods such as pillow cases and even into accessories such as purses.  Historically, however, Kilim fabrics were extremely versatile and were used for a variety of things, including durable tents, saddle bags to carry goods, horse-saddles, robes and even prayer rugs.

If you’re just as intrigued by Kilims as we are, please check back soon for our upcoming Kilim blog series which will feature more about our beautiful and unique Kilim items that are featured in our store!           

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