The firms of Karnor Carpet Manufactory and Zëko Design proudly announce a novel and unique design event which celebrates the longstanding traditions of craft, creativity, and collaboration within the handknotted rug and carpet trade. For a fortnight this autumn, the firms will co-host a group of forward thinking design professionals who aspire to a more elevated understanding of Tibetan carpet making. Through daily seminars, hands-on instruction, and an immersion into the orchestration of carpet making itself, participants will gain unprecedented access to information to better inform their creative work both during the studio and beyond. The inaugural Open Studio will occur at the Karnor Carpets Manufactory in the cosmopolitan metropolis of Kathmandu, Nepal from October 29 to November 10, 2023.
The studio is the brainchild of Urgyen Wangchuk of Zëko and Tsering Nekyab of Karnor who jointly developed the concept after discussing the state of the handknotted rug and carpet trade with the Brand Ambassador of the Nepal Carpet Manufacturers and Exporters Association, Michael Christie, The Ruggist, who will likewise serve as liaison during the Open Studio.
‘Our families have been in the carpet business for over thirty years, making carpets for some of the most widely known brands in the West.’ says Wangchuk. ‘As the market has matured, so too have the circumstances evolved in Nepal and also in the West. This drastically changed reality demands new approaches, and our goal with this first of its kind open studio is to foster a novel, intimate re-embrace of Tibetan carpet making; one suited to the needs of today’s creative vanguard.’ Open Studio answers the questions of ‘Where do we go from here?’ and ‘What more is possible?’
Experts from Zëko - Tibetan for ‘beauty crafted’ - will work in tandem with creatives in a shared studio space in which creatives will have the opportunity to engage directly - in real time - with weavers as they craft the very work of those designers. This distinctive opportunity to further understand the vibrant nature of Tibetan carpet making while working in situ with Karnor’s expert technicians and craftspeople, presents novice and seasoned designers alike a rare look into the so-called mystique of handknotted carpet making.
‘Carpets have dimension, texture, and, when done exceptionally well, soul. I’m very excited to be involved at the genesis of a new paradigm of expressiveness in which designer, consumer, and maker proper, are more closely associated.’ says Christie, who has himself experienced and learned the craft of handweaving rugs, and now works to empower those who craft rugs by hand.
In addition to two weeks of studio work, participants will be able to immerse themselves in the rich culture and history of Kathmandu, Nepal. Located at the crossroads of historic trading routes, the dynamic multi-cultural city is home to countless temples, flavourful cuisine, seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and a plethora of long fabled adventures waiting to be experienced. For those who seek new perspectives and inspiration, Kathmandu is home to countless opportunities.
About Zëko Design
Zeko - ‘Beauty Crafted’ in Tibetan - is a boutique handmade himalayan craft and decor firm. With Zekö, Urgyen Wangchuk, the founder, aims to bring forth the finest work in craft and decor that is both refined and responsible.
About Karnor Carpet Manufactory
Karnor Carpet Manufactory has been crafting world-class carpets since 1991 with each now made in the firm’s 17,000sqft dedicated facility located on the eastern edge of the Kathmandu Valley. Guided by a mission to flawlessly translate artistic vision into a fully realized carpet of notable texture, color, and finesse, Karnor takes pride in its use of authentic materials and techniques and a commitment to its skilled team. Espousing only the highest standards in company policies and fair trade practices, Karnor is a member of LabelSTEP, helping ensure a jovial balance of life and work because happier people result in better performance.