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Sofreh; Handwoven, natural dyed wool rug; 40″x 40″

I recently had an opportunity to work with traditional artisans in Iran, to create a series of unique, contemporary Persian rugs. 

The resulting project, entitled Sofreh, is a medley of traditional craft with a twist of contemporary flavor. I’m a great admirer of Persian rugs and carpets, yet knowing full well that I could not ever compete with the traditional patterns and designs. Nonetheless, I have always been wondering what design I might be able to contribute, or what approach might reflect the spirit of our times. These pieces are made in the region of Yasooj, which is well known for its flat weave rugs. 

Sofreh, a Persian word meaning “spread”, has an important role in Iranian culture. Specifically, it has come to mean a cloth or a rug, simple or grand, that is usually spread on the floor, or on a table, on which meals are served. Consequently the sofreh also references home, as it represents a place where the family is gathered. A sofreh must also be respected and has its particular customs: for instance, one shouldn’t walk on a sofreh or jump over it.

This project, reflects my Iranian/American bi-cultural context, and explores the idea of unity between the two cultures. I chose the form of the sofreh as blank canvas, primarily because of its iconic associations with sitting and sharing a meal together. It has also been my intention with these pieces to create a seamless mesh of the two traditions, and to express notions of peace, harmony and tranquility.