Notes From the Field: The Keeper of Rugs

February 11, 2013

By Cheryl Katz

Lowering himself to the ground with the agility of a yogi, Ercan Korkmaz sat cross- legged as he bent from the waist and prepared to repair a small tear in a Tibetan carpet. I held my breath. The carpet was costly–150 knots per square inch–and I worried that the integrity of the weave might be compromised. But my fears were allayed when, with a surgeon’s skill and a monk’s patience, I watched as Korkmaz  executed his craft.

Korkmaz, who is Turkish, was introduced to the craft of rug repair while interning in a small workshop near the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul. It was meant to be summer job, but he remained, learning how to conserve antique carpets as well as other textiles.

When he arrived in Cambridge in 1988, he realized that his was a dying trade, one that he was determined to resuscitate.

When not making “house calls†Korkmaz  works out of a small storefront in Cambridge. The shop is chock-a-block full of yarns of every color, scissors of every size, numerous tools of his trade, and more carpets than one can imagine given the size of his shop, each awaiting his tender loving care.

Photos by Jeffrey Katz

Tools of the trade.
Carpets ready for repair.

A small selection of the numerous yarns and threads that Korkmaz uses.

The shop’s front window.