Women Behind The Weave: Bauhaus to Bosphorus

Partner Programme

18 — 23 Sept 2023

Craft, Interiors & Furniture, Fashion & Textiles, Art / Collectibles

Christopher Farr

18 Calvin Street


E1 6HF


To mark the launch of a new rug by Bauhaus Master Gunta Stölzl, Christopher Farr have joined forces with Kirkit, collaborating on a creative weaving project, celebrating freedom of expression. Kirkit, producers of flatweaves of the highest quality, are setting a new industry standard and future proofing Turkish weaving

Women Behind the Weave presents 15 pieces of woven artwork, made by individual weavers of the Kirkit workshop, who were invited to produce flatweaves from their own imagination rather than from a given design. Using surplus yarn from the workshop, each weaver was tasked to create their own artwork filling 1 sqm. Alongside these experimental pieces, a new design by Bauhaus master Gunta Stölzl, woven by Kirkit, will also be on display. Traditionally, weaving is done by women in rural villages, carried out in the home, and paid on piece work without guarantee of future income or employee benefits. This leaves the women weavers vulnerable to exploitation, resulting in the sharp decline of their numbers, as they change careers. Ahmet Diler, founder and director of Kirkit, is changing this norm. Diler has lived and breathed kilims and carpets his whole life. He grew up listening to the rhythm of the loom from the toil of his mother and grandmother who were both village weavers. From a very young age, he experienced the merchants negotiating down the weavers fee to the bare minimum. Diler comments 'If we want this art to continue, we, the industry, needs to change’. Kirkit workshop employs weavers on regular hours with a lunch break, and provides retirement funds and access to health care, in a restored Ottoman building. Alongside the 23 women weavers, the expert team includes a master 4th generation dyer and a production manager with a deep understanding for weaving and materials. Since opening in 2021, they have been inundated with applications for weaving work. Diler explains that ‘Making kilims is an ancient artform since the Neolithic era. It has always been about freedom of expression, and this is the Anatolian mentality. It always produces something beautiful, something irregular. It is deep-rooted, and just like Anatolian music, it comes from the same mind. It could be compared to the free-style nature of jazz music.’’ In 1919, the Bauhaus school manifesto welcomed “everyone without regard to age or sex”. Despite this, women were directed towards subjects deemed suitably feminine, fine art, ceramics and weaving. In 1925, Gunta Stölzl became the first female Master at the school, as Head of the Weaving Department, and was largely left to experiment. Stölzl transformed the Weaving Workshop from a neglected department into one of its most successful facilities. During her tenure, she shifted the focus from pictorial work to more industrial designs, introducing radical ideas from the world of modern art to weaving, and initiated experiments in materials and methods that transported weaving into the modern age. It is there she mentored her protégé Anni Albers. Christopher Farr is proud to present the new Gunta Stölzl kilim, Tapestry 1923, an edition of 10, produced as an ongoing collaboration with the estate. Anatolian kilims are embedded deep in the culture and Turkey is the world’s centre for the finest flat weaves. Kirkit have been producing Christopher Farr custom rugs for a number of years, as well as many of Gunta Stölzl’s designs. Women Behind the Weave celebrates these two very different groups of women - the Turkish weaving communities, and the Bauhaus weaving department – both of which had been disregarded on the basis of their sex. Christopher Farr with Kirkit champions this honourable business approach and model workshop, both sharing a common goal to give the women weavers the respect that they deserve. This also ensures that thousands of years of knowledge of traditional carpet making and this incredibly rich cultural heritage flourishes into the future. The woven artworks on display will be later available for sale, with profits going to a local Turkish charity of Kirkit’s choice. Dedicated to responsible trading, Label Step carry out regular independent audits of their supply chain to comply with or exceed fair standards at every stage in our production process.