If you have ever been to Iran, you might have had the pleasure of walking through a bazaar (covered market). Most likely you have also seen the carpet sellers section, where carpets are on display in various shapes and sizes, each design outdoing the one placed next to it.
Recently I had to the pleasure to talk to Mr. Pourabdoli ,whose whole family is in the business of creating art carpets. Mr. Pourabdoli explained that they are able to recreate all sorts of images like - private portraits, orientalist paintings, 19th European oil paintings, landscapes & animal paintings, historical places ( such as Persepolis or Takhte Jamshid), some city views ( such as Venice views from Canaletto paintings), Sculpture photos and etc.
I had seen some of these art carpets in the past and being a portrait artist have stood in awe, wondering how some weavers were able to recreate such beautiful skin tones, using nothing but fibers. Of course I had to find out how it is done.
First a good reference photo is obtained, which is then scanned into a computer. A special software renders the image in pixelated form. Each pixel is then matched to the died fibers on hand. Then the real tricky part begins - Each pixel is representative of one tie in the carpet, which means the weaver not only has to have tons of fibers on hand, but has to have ultimate patience and great skill to work accurately and fast. Silk carpets render the smoothest surface and have a lovely sheen to them, which makes them an ideal surface for this type of work. The value of such a carpet is also dependent on the number of ties that a carpet has. The more ties the more expensive it gets.