A friend recently shared exotic pictures with us about her holiday in Turkey – visiting souks and bazaars, just the perfect way to spend those warm, sunny summer days. I was fascinated by the Grand Bazaar, the Spice Bazaar and the one near a blue mosque called the Arasta Bazaar! She loves to take photographs of every moment, every meal and every thing she buys, which is rather handy! The exotic spices, baklava, fine silk and pashmina scarves were great buys (and of course, great photography) but what really caught my eye was the gorgeous kilim and kilim bags! I have always been drawn towards geometric designs, and more often than not, even the florals are geometric! Apparently, the collection of Kilim bags at Djem in Arasta Bazaar is one of the best there is, as per my friend and I believe her…The picture below pretty much confirms it too!
So what exactly is a kilim? Kilim is a word of Turkish origin and is typically referred to a flat tapestry-woven carpets or rugs. They are produced by tightly interweaving the warp and weft strands of the weave to produce a flat surface with no pile. Produced by one of several flat-weaving techniques that have closely related heritage, they are made in the geographical area that includes parts of Turkey (Anatolia and Thrace), North Africa, the Balkans, the Caucasus, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Central Asia and China. Closer home, you can find kilim rugs made of cotton, jute and wool in the Jaipur – Agra belt. If the rugs are made here, can the bags be far behind? Of course not!
My first tryst with Kilim bags was 3 years ago when I was assisting a friend to source them from India for her online venture. I felt an instant connect with them – tough, sturdy, bright yet subtle colours with a touch of leather and a distinct bohemian vibe. What’s not to like? Well, I also figured that the brightly hued bags use synthetic colours and are not really kilim whereas the original kilim bags use vegetable dyes! Another way to distinguish an authentic kilim is by its two-sided design – exactly the same on both sides. Look at the bag on the inside to check this. Also, surely look for small holes where the colors change during weaving. Very interesting tips indeed!
Now that you are intrigued enough and equipped with knowledge to identify the real thing, let me take you on a hunt for that perfect kilim bag to add to your collection. As I mentioned above, there are a few kilim bag manufacturers in the Jaipur-Agra belt, but my top 3 names are Richa Designs, Art Image and Natural Fibres. While Richa Designs is available at a host of offline and online shops like Jaypore, Amazon, Tadpole store, Flipkart and Tulsionline, you can buy bags from Natural Fibres from their online shop. Without further ado, here are the designs I think are totally brilliant:
Carrying a kilim bag with a bohemian dress with a peasant neck (wonder what this it! find out too) and some tribal jewellery! That is what was running in my ‘Kilimed out’ brain right now!! So functional and stylish, and so very pretty….
Well, some say I am getting a tad carried away but really, this is my time to indulge, to become one with the beautiful world of fine crafts and let my thoughts take wings and soar….
I wouldn’t sign off before just one more shopping tip – checkout the Kilim collection at Baroque bags. The duffel bags are the perfect weekend travel companions! So, when are you getting your kilim bag?
Cover image: via