Carpets / by Robert Kushner

For some years, I actively collected flat weave oriental carpets, known as kilims. I loved the softened but strong colors, the way the designs interlaced and the fact that there was really no positive or negative to the flattened shapes. After my trip to Iran and Afghanistan in 1974, where I bought a lot of carpets and saddlebags in the bazaars, and sent them home, I realized that nearly all of them had holes or frayed edges which I needed to repair. I apprenticed to a young restorer and then worked free lance for about five years for Artweave Textile Gallery.

Robert Kushner, untitled, edition of 15, signed by the artist, Tibetan wool, silk, 60x53 inches

When I was asked by Bravin Lee Gallery to submit a design for a pile carpet to be woven in Nepal, I was pleased, and knew a little about what I would be asking the weavers to do.

This design: One Red Geranium features forms derived from Central Asian Suzani, or embroideries. In the middle of this abstracted swirl of vegetal forms, I placed one enlarged red bloom of my trusty geranium (who blooms nearly all year at my windowsill just in case I might need a model.) I liked the contrast of the different sets of curving forms, the combination of three different fibres and the technicolor redness of the geranium against the black/white/gray of the field.

Bravin Lee featured Robert Kushner's  carpet at Art Miami in December 2011.