Celaleddin Vardarsuyu is an innovator, a true master of the art of contemporary carpetry. Whether you know of him by name, reputation, or have no knowledge of the man himself, for those who follow the trends of handmade rugs and carpets it is without doubt you know of his work and the subsequent derivative work his has inspired. In fact so pervasive is his influence – realized or otherwise – that even the casual observer of the broad decorative area rug market has likely seen at least some variant of his now iconic, oft imitated, patchwork style carpet. Vardarsuyu is also a passionate strongly opinionated thinker, a trait for which this author has nothing but the utmost of praise and respect.
Although the inagural Istanbul Carpet Week took place almost six (6) months ago the impact and importance of the event has not dwindled with time. In fact, only now in a state of relative calm, removed from the incessant urgency and demands of instantaneous satisfaction imposed upon the media landscape of today can I truthfully and thoughtfully convey the importance of not only this event, but of more events like this in the future. In short, I believe this blend of educational conference, gala celebration, business to business meetings, and cultural and information exchange – something the antique carpet community has long encouraged to various degrees – is key to the long term survivability of our industry.
I knew of Hadi Maktabi of Hadi Maktabi Rare Carpets and Antiques long before I met him, though I am not certain how it came to be. Perhaps it was his reputation as someone genuinely and eminently qualified to lecture (in the schooled manner, not the scolding) on the topic of antique Persian carpets, or perhaps it was his embrace of all things modern when it comes to social media, promotion, and brand awareness. Maybe it was the juxtaposition in this forced dichotomy of a man who on one hand promotes himself via Instagram and the like, yet eschews most modern carpet production; I cannot help but wonder his process of deciding what modern things to accept and what to reject. Maybe it is his near zealous obsession with quality and the rare or his love of video games and pop-culture. Regardless of how, it is the latter which brings us to be talking about and with him today.