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Remember when I said I was going to do a post on Istanbul and the lovely Turkish rugs forever ago? Well, many weeks later, here it is. And by the way, you’re welcome to purchase through me.
First off, before I went to Istanbul I knew I wanted to get a rug (or two, or three…). I also knew that they would probably have a lot of earth-toned colors which are not exactly my style, and I was willing to come back with nothing if a rug didn’t jump out and practically beg me to carry it home. Thankfully, there has been this revolution in rugs called the over-dyed rug, or color reform rugs, as well as patchwork rugs which immediately excited me when I saw the finished product here and there in stalls all over the Istanbul. I didn’t know it before I went, but this style of rug is now being sold in Anthropologie, Horchow, ABC Carpet and being featured on major design blogs like Decor8, Apartment Therapy and others.
The first place I spotted them was in the Grand Bazaar but pretty soon I started noticing these rugs in little shops all over the city. I was told that the process for making them involves finding older, good quality, hand-knoted rugs that might be a little worn or faded and putting them through an acid wash which removes most of the original color, and then dying them one particular shade. The variations on this are to also put the rug through a process that wears it down (I didn’t care for the worn look as much) or to take several old rugs, over-dyed or not, and piece them together into one large rug. Apparently the process of acid washing requires some very harsh chemicals– so harsh in fact that they are not allowed to be used in city limits, so all of the acid washing occurs in warehouses outside the city somewhere or in small villages. (I’ve seen comments on several blogs querying if this process can be done at home, and knowing what I was told, I would say that’s an absolute NO.)
The Grand Bazaar
Some of the earth-toned rugs (well, these are actually kilims if we want to be accurate) that I saw a lot of.
My first sighting of the patchwork/ overdyed rug.
The rug at the bottom of this photo displays the intentional wearing down of the rug. I was told this style has been very popular in northern Europe.
With all the shopping and haggling, I eventually had to make a decision on which rugs I wanted (I’ll post those next), but the best part was that I established a relationship with the shop owner so that if I ever want to get my hands on more rugs like these and not pay US prices, I can!