Kyrgyz felt carpets have a special artistic appeal and are characterized by their ornamental lines and contrasting colour combinations. But they are more than just beautiful geometric works of art. The patterns are not abstract motifs, but elements of vocabulary in an ancient language that is still generic to Kyrgyz nomadic people. They reflect an accurate perception of the surrounding environment, and, at the same time, reflect the pre-Islamic, animistic beliefs of the Kyrgyz people, who have always worshiped and trusted in the power of nature. Kyrgyz patterns often express encoded information and messages from the creator to the recipient. They hold protective functions as well as visualisations of blessings and wishes, and tell stories about cosmology, worldview, culture, and society, but also about the aspirations, dreams and visions of the artists. The tradition of felting can be seen as a process of life and self-reflection, in which handed down patterns and ornaments are intertwined with the thoughts and wishes of the felting women, creating images and stories through which the invisible becomes visible.
Karin Altmann will give a lecture on “Felted Narratives – Decoding Patterns of Kyrgyz Carpets” at the 20th ETN Conference, March 2 – 4, 2023 in Łódź, Poland, inviting us to take a closer look on Kyrgyz patterns and ornaments that have arisen on the basis of processes of abstraction and coding. And since theory and practice always relate to, extend and deepen each other in her own work as a researcher and artist, Karin also offers a post conference workshop on Sunday, March 5, 2023, at the Academy of Fine Arts in Łódź. This workshop is a felting course and teaches creative processes in the Ala-kiyiz technique, in which the patterns are given a watercolour-like softness and painterly quality. You will practice with her in a small format but acquire all the necessary knowledge to be able to produce a large carpet yourself.
More information about the ETN-conference, March 2 – 4, 2023, on site in Łódź, Poland and online: https://etn-net.org/etn-conference-2023.html
By Karin Altmann