Simply Sensational Soumak! One of the more specialised and labour intensive of the many Kilim weaving techniques. Soumak weaving is generally carried out in East and South Anatolia, the Caucasus and in some parts of Iran and Afghanistan. Used to make everything from small bags, camel and donkey saddle bags, salt bags, animal covers, rugs, bedding and furnishing as well as simply decorative wall hangings, Soumak weavings, renowned for detailed imagery and very fine patterns, are nearly 3 dimensional as the decoration sits atop the basic warp and weft of the rug. Unlike most Kilims which can have designs woven in blocks, Soumak Kilims are constructed like knotted-pile rugs, one row at a time, selvedge to selvedge. This technique, known as warp wrapping, introduces a third coloured yarn thread (weft) which is wrapped around four warp threads before being drawn back under two warps. Once a whole row is “wrapped”, a second weft thread is passed over and under the warps and beaten downwards to secure the wrapping threads. The result is a stunningly detailed and colourful design with appealing texture. Stronger than most flat-weave kilims, Soumak weavings are not reversible due to the loose weft threads protruding on the reverse side and which may intentionally left uncut for several inches, possibly to improve insulation, acoustics and adhesion to surfaces. When we look at a small salt bag woven Soumak style by a wife for her husband to use on his travels, we can only wonder at how much love and skill went into transforming a purely functional article into a work of art!