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Gorgeous and glitchy carpets! We speak to the Azerbaijani artist behind them

We’ve been in awe of Faig Ahmed’s gorgeously glitchy rugs since we first spotted them back in 2013. Pushing the boundaries of his craft, Ahmed works tirelessly to create rugs that are unique yet traditional, putting him in high demand all across the globe.

Come February, Faig Ahmed will be presenting his work in an exhibit titled ‘Points of perception’ in Rome’s MACRO museum. The exhibition will feature a number of works and installations by Faig, including his incredible carpets.

We spoke to Faig about his work, and asked what we can expect from him in the coming months.

Can you tell us how you got into the art of making carpets?

‘As a child, I decided to entertain myself by rearranging the motifs found in the carpet on the floor at home. I cut out selected symbols from the carpet and moved them into new positions. At the time, my creativity was not entirely appreciated by my family members. But an interest in the potential of traditional carpets to carry new stories has stayed with me’.

All your carpets are unique. Where do you come up with these ideas?

‘My work is the result of research. I am lucky that I was born in Azerbaijan, as making carpets has been a part of Azerbaijani culture since time immemorial. This gives me a great opportunity to experiment with the carpet makers, to create something in a very traditional manner, coincidently expanding and changing this tradition.

‘What influences and inspires me the most are all kinds of travel. By saying travel I mean either physically travelling to other countries where I can find and explore traditions and cults spread on this certain territory, or travelling in my subconsciousness, with different practices and meditations’.

Can you walk us through the creative process of each carpet? How long does each one take from start to end?

‘All my carpets are handmade products, so usually it takes about two months to weave a carpet that is 1.50cm X 200cm, and much more time for bigger carpets. In our workshop we use only natural materials, including natural dyes.

‘The process starts in the studio where I create sketches using 3DMax, AutoCAD, Photoshop etc. programs. After that we transfer these sketches on engineering paper, point by point. And then we send drawings to the carpet weavers.

‘So I can say that there is no big difference between making a traditional Azerbaijani carpet and mine, as we are following the weaving process which has not changed for five hundred years’.

What do you hope people take away from looking at your carpets?

‘I am doing endless research, and the art is the result. My message to people is simple: destroy the boundaries to understand that you are still within the borders – this is a sense of freedom’.

Are you surprised by how popular your work is?

‘Not actually. It’s just a kind of achievement at this stage. There are still a lot of boundaries to be expanded’.

What are you working on next?

‘Every day I am working on myself. My conscious is the most interesting and the affordable tool and material.

‘Also, I am shooting a film at the moment. The main idea is to show society as a coded mechanism that changes according to the laws already existing in this society. The film will involve about 500 people of different genders and ages and of course carpets.

‘You can also find the detailed information about my new projects on my website and Facebook page‘.

Faig Ahmed carpets
Faig Ahmed carpets
Faig Ahmed carpets
Faig Ahmed carpets
Faig Ahmed carpets
Faig Ahmed carpets
Faig Ahmed carpets
Faig Ahmed carpets

About the author

Rachel Oakley is an Aussie writer based in NYC with an obsession for the creepy, cool and quirky side of life. Some of her main passions include philosophy, art, travel, and sarcasm.

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