Intrinsic Value | Monologue


It’s a check, plain and simple; or is it… …simple? With its delightful colouration, this interpretation of a classic motif brings together myriad cultures, techniques, and materials into beautiful form. Called ‘Shomick’ by Odegard Carpets (@odegardcarpets on Instagram) when the firm first introduced their version of the design to Western eyes, the checkerboard is a motif well known not only within Tibetan weaving communities from which the design was then ‘adapted,’ but also the world over; in short, it’s ubiquitous.

‘Shomick’ was made in 100 knot Tibetan weave in Nepal of Himalayan Highland Sheep’s Wool, whereas in this iteration made under the auspices of Odegard by my former firm of ‘red spruce,’ the design is replicated utilising traditional North American rug hooking techniques. Felted wool fabric made from North American wool on a linen foundation; the hand and handle are dreamlike and unparalleled in the world of rugs and carpets. Of course, the design – such that it is – being so commonplace has certain drawbacks. Namely that owing to its pervasive and universal nature anyone can make a check/checkerboard regardless of colouration (colour is not governed by copyright), with perhaps the only real difference being cultures, techniques, and materials.

It’s as though the physical item, the extant objet de métier has more intrinsic value than simply the design itself. Imagine that for once; valuing the craftsperson instead of, or more appropriately, on par with the designer. Both are required but we as consumers oft ignore the reality that craftspeople make. What do you make? I’m still sorting that out for myself… .