Five years ago I wrote about a quilt that was made of clothing labels. It had taken me ten years to track it down, but I finally was put in touch with the owner, Chris Kluge. Chris’s great grandfather started a label weaving company, Artistic Weaving, which was at one time the world’s largest manufacturers of woven labels. Using the word “artistic” as part of the company’s name was totally appropriate, as the labels are little works of art. You can read the story of Artistic Weaving in my post from five years ago.
Several days ago I got an email from Seref Ozen, a dealer of antique textiles who lives in Istanbul, Turkey. He was in possession of a similar quilt, and had found my old blog post in looking for information. Instead of clothing labels, this one was made of woven Christmas greetings. Many were signed by Albert Kluge, or stated that they were from the Artistic Weaving Company.
I really could not tell Seref anything else about his quilt, but I was intrigued. How did such an obviously American item end up in his possession in Turkey? What was the meaning of the woven greetings?
My first step was to contact Chris Kluge. He confirmed what I suspected, that the company made their own woven Christmas greetings. His great uncle Albert Kluge sent them to his customers and friends, and after Chris’s father inherited the business he continued the tradition until the business was sold in the late 1990s.
Chris also said that it was possible that these were designed by a Mr. Smith, who was a label artist at Artistic. He “may well have created the colored sketch which was then ‘translated’ into jacquard punch cards for weaving the pictures.”
So how did this quilt end up in Istanbul? Believe it or not, it came from Afghanistan. From Seref: “The piece was found by an Afghan picker in Afghanistan and an Uzbek picker” brought it to his attention. He bought it.
There is really no way to know with certainty how this quilt ended up in Afghanistan, but Seref has a theory. “I have no idea but I think, people are sending lots of aid boxes to Afghanistan because every now and then I find things that don’t make sense in Afghanistan. I even got a YoYo quilt years ago.”
My guess is that these woven greetings were made in the 1920s through the 1940s. The amount of detail is simply amazing. If these don’t make you long for the days of wonderful woven labels, nothing will.
The entire quilt is quite large.
Gearing up for WWII?