Memories from his childhood in the Black Sea region came flooding back when Vedat Demiralp spied a remarkable rug on a friend’s floor whilst visiting Turkey twelve years ago. He was reminded of the special rugs woven from goat hair which were, at one time, an honoured part of a woman’s dowry. Highly valued and painstakingly handmade, these deceptively simple rugs were considered an important part of Turkish rural culture. As Turkey’s rural population has migrated away from remote mountainous areas to the cities in search of work, these rugs have almost entirely disappeared. Younger generations are drawn towards the colourful, mass production of the late twentieth century and these monochromatic rugs have become casualties of such trends. Demiralp visited the village where they were still being made and sold. In the past these rugs would have been made on a regular basis, at home, to supplement a family’s income; but as demand has declined so too have the skills required. He found the weavers in their forties and fifties, and not all of the designs good – but there were some lovely examples. Since then he has founded Coban Rugs and dedicated himself to reviving and refining the designs and reintroducing the skills. He began hiring the best weavers to make them for him and his predominantly UK based interior design market. While remaining completely loyal to the original concept he has fine-tuned their production.Exquisitely plaited edges adorn and finish the rugs; delicate and abstract motifs travel lightly across the surface. These are often hand-stitched by Demiralp himself after the rug has been woven and are also inspired by his other loves – technology and engineering. Linear rhythms of geometric shape in contrast with the natural tones of the fibres come together, giving them a striking appearance. Their palette is highly specific and results from the natural colour of the goat’s hair. Demiralp explains that the goat hair is naturally resistant to dye; a high level of lanolin makes it hard to apply any colour. The goat’s natural habitat is invariably mountainous and they can survive in most climates; high altitudes, hot, dry summers and cold, crisp winters. The resulting goat hair is varied and contains several different types of hair. The most (famously) desirable is the soft hair found under their chins and bellies, cashmere. But they also have very coarse hair which runs along their spines and several other grades in-between........ To read the full article click on the Selvedge articles icon below from issue 74.