Guest blog post by Emma Rock.
The world of antique rugs is vibrant and full of history - The London Antique Rug and Textile Art Fair (LARTA) is a celebration of this rich past, and a look into its future. An important commercial event for dealers and private buyers alike, LARTA also offers a glimpse into how we have utilised and interacted with with textiles over several centuries. There is a magic that exists in the imagining of 17th century English needlepoint wall hangings in their original surroundings, an intrigue into why these textiles were created, and how they came into being.Early English needlepoint panel, c.1700
The massively influential Asian and Oriental traditions of rug production are also well represented at LARTA, with exhibitors such as the Turkmen Gallery showing impossibly bright Ikat and Suzani textiles whose bold, graphic construction belies their age. These fabrics are native to Nomadic tribes in central Asia and Uzbekistan, and are fascinating examples of how different dyeing techniques have come about depending on the geography of those who made them.
However, for the first time this year LARTA is showing contemporary exhibitors such as Gideon Hatch, whose designs in the rug making of today are sharp and innovative - appearing as modernist artworks on the ground. Exhibitors like Hatch represent the way in which modern craftsmanship is reacting to traditions that are centuries old.
'Temple' rug by Gideon Hatch
This fair is a London platform for the buying and selling of a fantastically valuable commodity, and not only gives us an insight into this part of the textile trade but also a sense of the history and cultures that have shaped what it is today.
LARTA runs from 24th to 29th January 2017, at Battersea Park, Londonwww.larta.net