Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Robbery Foiled at Oscar Isberian Rugs

Posted: Tuesday, 26 May 2009 9:13PM

Carpets stolen worth $250,000

Four men caught with $250K in stolen carpets
May 26, 2009

(HIGHLAND PARK) Four men were arrested last week in connection with the theft of rugs worth $250,000 from a north suburban business.

Neb Lazovic, 47, Louis Sokolovis, 58, and Srecko Zdravkovic, 45, all of 8213 N. Oconto in Chicago; and Aldijan Salkic, 23, of 2717 Atlantic in Franklin Park were arrested May 18 and charged with burglary, theft and possession of burglary tools, all felonies.

A detective in an unmarked Highland Park police vehicle was conducting surveillance of businesses in the Skokie Valley Road corridor when he noticed a red Ford van and a black Mercedes enter the parking lot of Oscar Isberian Rugs at 3300 Skokie Valley Rd. just before 10 p.m.

Working together with Northbrook, Wilmette and Winnetka police, officers witnessed the men force their way into the west entrance of the store and load rugs into the van. The men were stopped and officers found seven rugs in the van worth a total of about $250,000.

Highland Park Police Cmdr. Gerald Cameron said that the rugs were handmade Persians, some made of silk. The fact that only the seven were taken leads police to suspect the men had been in the store prior to the burglary attempt.

“It’s our belief that they went into the rug store prior to that and targeted several rugs they knew were of great value,” Cameron said.

Bond for each of the four was set at $500,000 and they were required to surrender their passports. Police said the investigation is continuing and court dates are pending.

Copyright 2009 STNG Wire, The Chicago Sun-Times. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Persian Carpets Gardens of Delight

Persian Carpets Gardens of Delight

Persian Carpets Gardens of Delight [Photo]

Persian Carpet Tehran, May 15, 2009: Ancient Persia was known for its hand-woven carpets and rugs. The use of carpets in religious rituals and other ceremonies dates back to the time of pharaohs in Ancient Egypt. The priests of Heiliopolis used them in religious ceremonies. Pazyrik is the oldest evidence of Persian rug that dates back to 500 BC. It is named after Pazyryk Valley in the frosted mountains of Altai in Siberia. According to the ECO Heritage publication, the carpet was excavated from under the ice that protected it for almost 25 centuries. Post-Islamic Rugs, Carpets Since rugs and carpets are made of fine material that perish in the course of time, extant material evidence is rare and scarcely exceeds 300 years. Therefore, to find the evidence of post-Islamic rugs and carpets in Iran, one should rely on written sources. These sources reveal that during 8th century AD, Azarbaijan was a major center for production of carpets and coarse carpets (Ziloo) in post-Islamic Persia. There is a considerable body of textual evidence attesting to at least 12 centuries of rug production in the region, both flat woven and piled. The earliest material evidence of Persian carpet in the post-Islamic period dates back to the Safavid era (1502-1629), known as the famous Ardebil Carpet. Today this priceless carpet is preserved in Victoria and Albert Museum in London (formerly known as South Kensington Museum which was a foundation for collecting Persian arts and crafts). Under the Safavids, the art of carpet-making reached its peak and the degree of refinement and ornamentation in the carpet of Safavid era rightfully earned it the title of “the golden age of rugs and carpets“. The products of court workshop in Safavid period have an exceptional quality in terms of style, materials, patterns and ornamentation. The products of court workshops of Ardebil, Tabriz and Isfahan are dominated by leaf and flower motifs. In the 16th century, human and animal forms began to appear in these carpets. Certain motifs such as the cloud-band unmistakably indicate the Mongolian influence. Nevertheless, the earliest designs used by nomads have survived even to the present day. Abbasid Treasures The earliest reference to Persian carpets is made in the official inventory of Abbasid Caliph Haroun’s treasury recorded in 809 AD following his death. The production of prayer rugs and small carpets also dates back to this period, as historical records mention that along with taxes, 600 carpets were sent to the Baghdad caliphs, including small prayer carpets. These were produced in the province of Tabarestan (Mazandaran), another region in north Persia. It is believed that during this time, the main export item from the region was carpets. The carpets of Khorasan, Sistan and Bukhara were in high demand due to their attractive designs and diversity of motifs. During the reigns of Seljuk and Ilkhanid dynasties, many workshops in different cities were involved in the production and sale of carpets. Fars Carpet Historical texts refer to a magnificent mosque built by Ghazan Khan, the great Ilkhan (died 1304) in Tabriz, which was covered by fine precious carpets of excellent quality. Perhaps the most striking and instructive reference is the historic royal decree of Ghazan Khan, which reveals that carpets, befitting metropolitan royal palaces, were being produced in sizable numbers in Fars as early as the 13th century. Fars remained one of the great centers of carpet production, perhaps the most important, for Ghazan Khan had most of the carpets for a whole group of buildings at Shams Garden in Tabriz (his capital) made at Fars. Timurid artisans combined the art of Persian miniatures with carpet-weaving and reproduced various scenes of Persian miniatures (which had been originally derived from Persian literary texts). Weavers and Weaving Different tribes in Fars province produce rugs and carpets. In fact, the ethnographic map of Fars is so colorful that it is hardly comparable to any other Iranian province or any other carpet-making region in the world. Lors, Turks, Arabs, Kurd-Lor and other ethnicities scattered in the area, which have not been adequately identified. Of the seven major tribes that have maintained their unity up to the present day (Ainalu, Arab nomad, Baharlu, Basseri, Lor, Nafar and Qashqai), only Lors and Arabs (and perhaps some Basseri elements) inhabited the region in the 10th century. Turkic immigrants, comprising Qashqai, Baharlu, Ainalu and some Nafar tribes do not appear in this ethnographic map earlier than the late 13th century. The first Turkic tribal group may have descended from a 300-strong Mughal cavalry dispatched to Fars in 1281. Commercial Aspects During the Safavid era, export quality carpets and rugs were produced. In 1722, the French consul in Shiraz provided 18 carpets to an agent of a company. Because of uninterrupted production, it can be surmised that all or a large part of these rugs were produced locally. During 18th and 19th century, under the Zand and Qajar dynasties, the pace of carpet and rug exports increased. Nassereddin Shah also sent Persian rugs to the Vienna Exhibition in 1891, where they were appreciated by a public fascinated by things Oriental. Carpets, furniture and decorative objects, as well as paintings by European Orientalist painters, were all reminders of the East, and evocative of exotic of distant lands. Toward the end of the 19th century, however, investment and capitalization by local and foreign firms in the country spurred the development of a new Persian carpet industry, the fame of which was to become legendary. Income from the sale of commercial-style carpets soon supplanted the revenues earlier derived from the export of raw silk, fine textiles and luxury carpetsÑand even today; carpets remain modern Iran’s most important non-oil export. Symbolism The richness in international designs rests mostly on the enormous wealth of symbols, myths, icons, occultist ideographs and objects of totemism. Talking about the symbolism of Persian rugs, one cannot ignore the evolution of their patterns and designs, which probably originated in Mesopotamia. Passed on through generations, the designs and motifs of Persian rugs and carpets have basically remained intact. While the continuity of designs and motifs has been preserved, the evolution in form and ornamentation can be identified in the numerous themes and motifs of rugs and carpets. At times, these symbols predate the history of carpet-making itself, as a number of these motifs are related to the patterns and motifs found on the potteries dating back to 4th-3rd millennium BC. They provide us with a vast treasure of prehistoric archetypes used by ancient tribes. These motifs relate to the mythological belief and symbolic iconography of those early times. Later, these forms drew heavily from Achaemenid and Sassanid visual traditions and subsequently from the early Islamic ornamentation. Liberty of Weaver Like words in a language, there are ’motif-words’ that remain unchanged or little changed for generations, while others become obsolete or lose their meaning, original worth and function. Like a language, the traditional weaver cannot change the meaning, spelling and phonetics of the words, but has the liberty of employing them at will, making new phrases. The individual liberty of the weaver has no lesser or greater scope than the liberty enjoyed by a writer or a poet. The incredible wealth of motifs, designs and ornamentation in Persian rugs and carpets has led scholars to believe that these are being invented by individual weavers. Behind the creation of a Persian rug or carpet are weavers (particularly in case of Fars rugs and carpets, most of the weavers are women from tribal or semi-tribal communities) loyal to the traditions passed down to them from their ancestors. Therefore, they cannot easily be separated from these traditions and their common artistic consciousness, yet they are free to create their own versions of the old traditional designs. In other words, this conformity and unity, while forbidding inventions of unfamiliar and non-traditional designs, does not lead to the production of stereotyped rugs and carpets, rather it gives rise to highly personalized creations marked by a uniqueness that makes it difficult to pair rugs and carpets that are identical in design and color. The tribal weaver carries her pattern in her mind. Generally speaking, she has worked on predetermined patterns and designs all her life, and has learned that any deviation from it, changes in coloring, irregularities deliberately introduced and other slight alternations are the unconscious attunement of her mental attitude to her daily environment. Then, of course, the use of birds, animals, flowers, plants and celestial objects in carpet designs have their own symbolism and are governed by regional preferences. These are beyond the scope of this article. Thus you’ll find the Persian weaver whose family bereavement, say, would find unconscious expression in the free use of white in her pattern, a marriage might give cause for a preponderant employment of brilliant red, a misfortune might be shown by a descending eagle, while hunting scenes in her work with hounds and leopards and cheetahs would indicate the fame, valor and honor of someone deserving allegiance or affection.

Carpets Linked with Islamic Art

Carpets Linked with Islamic Art

Carpets Linked with Islamic Art [Photo]
Carpets Linked with Islamic Art Tehran, May 15, 2009: An exhibition on the impact of Islamic art on Persian carpets will be held on May 19 at Tehran+s Carpet Museum concurrent with the World Museum Day. Announcing this, director of Carpet Museum, Parviz Eskandarpour, told CHTN that carpets from across the country, which depict architecture and monuments, will be presented at the exhibition. “Carpets from Kashan, Tabriz, Kerman and Chaharmahal-Bakhtiari provinces, which feature architecture from ancient times up to the present, will be displayed at the event, “he said. Eskandarpour noted that Persian carpets and Islamic architecture are linked. “We can clearly see vaulted buildings as well as minarets and tileworks in Persian carpets, “he said. He referred to Mehrab (the prayer niche) as an inseparable part of Iranian religious buildings, particularly mosques, and added that carpet weavers have always been inspired by religious architecture. “Iranian carpet weavers have always taken religious architecture into consideration, “he said. Eskandarpour concluded that veteran carpet weavers and exemplary museum employees will be honored on May 20 in Tehran+s Carpet Museum.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Silicon Carpet Invisibility Cloak

Tiny Invisibility Cloak Constructed

Tiny Invisibility Cloak Constructed

Kristy Erdodi / DailyTech

May 04, 2009

‘A tiny invisibility cloak has been developed, combining silicon and a carpet-like design.’ -

A tiny, unique cloak has been developed, demonstrating how silicon and a carpet-like design can take scientists even further in their explorations of invisibility.

The journal Nature Materials reported on the development, which was constructed based on a carpet-like design theory first described by Professor John Pendry, from Imperial College London, in 2008. Teams involved in its current production included Michal Lipson and her team at Cornell University and Xiang Zhang, along with his team at University of California, Berkeley.

Hosting a design that allows it to eliminate distortion from the shape of anything underneath it, the cloak enables light to bend around it, which creates the illusion of a flattened surface.

A silicon sheet measuring a few thousandths of a millimeter across and containing multiple miniature holes makes up the cloak, which “changes the local density” of the item placed beneath it, according to Professor Zhang.

“When light passes from air into water it will be bent, because the optical density, or refraction index, of the water is different to air,” Professor Zhang explained. “So by manipulating the optical density of an object, you can transform the light path from a straight line to any path you want.”

The key to changing the optical density in this case lies in the cloak’s holes, which optical light cannot see because they are smaller than the size of its wavelength. All optical light does see is a “sort of air-silicon mixture,” as Professor Zhang explained, which means that at least in terms of light’s view, the item’s density has been altered.

The recently constructed silicon sheet does not stand as the first attempt at invisibility through a cloak. For example, in early August of 2008, Researchers at the Nanoscale Science and Engineering Center at the University of California, Berkeley used nano-fishnet of metal layers and nanoscale silver wires to cloak 3D materials. The two separate teams involved in this project, which also relied on the bending of light, were led by Professor Zhang, as well.

Similar attempts at invisibility cloaks of the past have also included constructions made of metal, which highlights this current project’s significant step toward progression. Unlike metal, which allows for losses of light, silicon absorbs only a minimal amount. The new material enables scientists to move forward from some of the flaws that metal’s light loss can cause upon trying to achieve invisibility.

© 2009, DailyTech

Friday, May 1, 2009

Felt at the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum

Art Review | 'Fashioning Felt'

Humble Fabric Takes Center Stage

Published: April 30, 2009

Felt is the feel-good fabric of all time. Sturdy, cosseting, beautiful, shape-shifting, dye-friendly, it serves many purposes and offers countless pleasures. Some but certainly not all of its latest uses are outlined in “Fashioning Felt,” an illuminating exhibition of around 70 items — mostly furnishings and garments — at the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum. Felt’s purely artistic possibilities are also being explored in scattered shows at New York galleries.

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James Estrin/The New York Times

Felt art now on display in Manhattan includes the multiheaded “Bold as Love,” by Adam Parker Smith, at Broadway Windows at Broadway and East 10th Street. More Photos »

Though you may never have thought much about felt, there’s a lot more to it than you’d expect. One of the first manmade textiles, it requires almost no special tools, certainly not a loom. It began to be made 8,000 years ago, a millennium before the earliest forms of weaving. Its fairly unadulterated natural ingredients were and remain animal wool, soap and water mashed into a kind of pulp (initially by bare feet), then dried under pressure and made into everything from caps to rugs and capes to yurts.

On the scale of material culture, felt’s elemental longevity places it somewhere between wine-making (the stomping) and ceramics (the malleable natural material rendered useful by drying or baking). Like the smooth surfaces and glazes of ceramics, felt’s wet-dry process and variety of colors encouraged the human yen for decoration. Among the Cooper-Hewitt show’s half dozen 19th- and early 20th-century precursors to contemporary felt is a Mongolian tea ceremony rug whose salmon-pink field is dotted with pinwheels of circles in red, green and white pinwheel (tie-dyed), and an Iranian carpet whose familiar Persian patterns, freed from the loom, have a wonderful drizzled, drifting effect. In contrast, an Uzbek carpet from the same time magnifies such motifs into big, flat silhouettes.

We probably all have felt-related memories, and maybe even some felt phobia. Mine include poodle skirts, varsity letters, blackboard erasers, pool tables and the undersides of lamps and heavy ashtrays that I was told to handle carefully. That felt’s edges were all, in essence, selvage — no hems required! — attracted people like me who don’t sew. Though I think that the closest I came to actually wearing felt was a yurtlike bathrobe with large red, cut-out and flocked tomatoes on its enormous pockets — a Christmas gift from my mother at the onset of my adolescence.

During my first years as a New York pedestrian, I gained a new appreciation of felt’s wondrous warmth and density through a simple pair of innersoles that winterized and then outlasted some reliable rain boots. Several of my favorite garments have been made of boiled wool, felt’s second cousin, including sweaters that I downsized (not always on purpose) in the washer or dryer. Then there’s my sizable collection of yard-sale afghans. Its pride is a blue-checked survivor of a previous owner’s washer-dryer experimentation. At first I thought it was a rug. I snapped it up for $10 and hope to be buried with it. And did I mention the felt-covered couch in my living room? It is seasonal, used only during the cooler months.

The Cooper-Hewitt show dwells largely in the gap between art and functional objects. Aside from room dividers by Scofidio & Diller and Janice Arnold, a neat hanging cradle by Soren Ulrick Petersen and a beautiful large rug in bands of Rothko red by Stephanie Odegard, there is remarkably little here that I can imagine living with or looking at for extended periods of time. It would have been nice to have had some slightly more down-to-earth applications that weren’t at least 100 years old, rather than the parade of exotic garments, weirdly shaped furniture and wall hangings.

There are extremes in size, from a felt necklace by Birgit Daamen embedded with coral beads to a giant red-brown installation by Claudy Jongstra that demonstrates degrees of feltness, raw to cooked, through different textures and wools, straight to curly. It reaches a height of about eight feet, resembles the maw of a whale and invites but doesn’t accommodate physical contact. Add seats and it could be a pair of booths in a fancy restaurant — say, the Siberian Tearoom. Just a thought.

There are also extremes in frivolity and function, some from the same source, as with Kathryn Walter, a designer whose family has been in the textile business for four generations. Ms. Walter’s gray felt molding bulkily mimics the fluted and floral relief designs of traditional ceiling molding, which seems hard enough to keep dusted as it is. But her “Striations” wall, made of leftover felt scraps built up in horizontal chips like shale, is a sound-proofing solution, and it recycles.

Among the show’s most interesting themes is hybridization: the increasing practice of combining felt with other materials, whether fabric, plastic or even light-emitting diode lights (a rug designed by Yvonne Laurysen and Erik Mantel). Jorie Johnson and Clifton Montieth collaborate; she makes felt vessels; he lines them with lacquer. Their works have a striking contrast of matte and shiny and hard and soft, although their practical applications are hard to gauge. Janice Arnold has draped the museum’s conservatory with “Palace Yurt,” an imposing installation of white-on-white wall hangings, each combining felt with silk, linen, mohair or Tercel in different patterns and motifs. The same principle is found on a smaller scale in the fashion designs of Christine Birkle and Françoise Hoffmann. And the felt-covered stones of Stephanie Forsythe and Todd MacAllen are an unusually compact combination. They come in gray, green and white and seem the perfect thing to lie down on if one’s back is tight. They must be better than tennis balls. These are not to be confused with Pernelle Fagerlund’s “Textile Stones” cushions, which are made entirely of felt.

Felt has a history in postwar art, starting with Josephs Beuys’s use of it in his performances, abstract sculptures and his dour felt suit pieces. And few things say Process Art like Robert Morris’s elephantine, industrial-strength felt wall pieces and Barry LeVa’s scattered floor pieces of felt scraps, with or without shattered glass.

The less dour aesthetic possibilities of felt hit me several years ago via an unforgettable cluster of little felt reliefs hanging in a hallway of an art building at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Va. Nothing special, just an assignment from a textiles class, but the variety of color, textures and forms seemed like a remarkably fresh way to merge painting and sculpture. Wow. Major in that.

At the moment, the New York galleries showcasing felt include David Zwirner, at 525 West 19th Street, where Adel Abdessemed has used expanses of beautiful white felt to stretch three small airplanes into extended snakelike bodies. I also recommend two new sculptures by Ronnie Fisher on view in “Old Dogs, New Tricks,” at K.S. Art at 72 Walker Street in TriBeCa, along with impressive sculptures by John Newman and paintings by Hermine Ford. Mr. Fisher, who is best known for making aggressively utilitarian fountains and lamps from found, mostly metal objects, seems to have been shaken to his roots by some kind of SpongeBob SquarePants epiphany. His new sculptures are soft stuffed forms sewn from felt and other hardy fabrics like vinyl imitation leather; they achieve an unlikely stasis between the sexual and the toylike, not to mention abstraction and representation.

Then there is “Bold as Love,” a show of the work of the young artist Adam Parker Smith that can be seen around the clock at Broadway Windows, a display-only curatorial space in the windows of a New York University building at Broadway and East 10th Street in Greenwich Village. Inspired by Goya (and the Chapman brothers), Mr. Smith is showing three dozen life-size severed heads, mounted on spikes, and more comedic than gory because they are made entirely of felt. The heads echo too closely the work of Tom Friedman and Ryan Johnson, but they are vivacious and various and make good use of felt’s colors, mutability and hem-free edges. In a way, their main subject is the wonder of the material itself.

“Fashioning Felt” continues through Sept. 7 at the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, 2 East 91st Street; (212) 849-8400, cooperhewitt.org.