The Etsy Blog

The Collectors: Kilim

Etsy.com handmade and vintage goods

rikrak

Bold geometrics. Rich hues. Textured layers. Patterned prints.

These are just a few of the hot trends that come together to create this fabulous handmade and vintage home décor collection.

Who are you?
My name is Alex Keller. I’m an artist living and creating in Tuscon, Arizona. My passion is beauty through fashion, art and design. My addictions are thrifting and antiquing.

What are you collecting?
Kilims and kilim pillows.

When did you start?
I think my adoration of kilims really started with my mom’s love of textiles. Growing up, I had a tapestry hanging in my bedroom. It was for decoration, but also to keep the room a little warmer; I think my mom just took the idea from days of old and went with it. I was also exposed to a lot of Ukrainian textiles — handwoven fabrics and embroidery. I was also in a dance group, Kashtan, and we wore a lot of traditional costumes for performances. My personal collection started with the kilim my mom bought for me in Tubac. I bought another small one, then found a few large rugs, then pillows…. I think the kilim pillows remind me of embroidered Ukrainian pillows because they both have lots of color and pattern. (And they go really well together!)

Where do you keep them?
On the floor, the walls, chairs, a sofa, the bed… And everything else in a large vintage opera trunk.

What’s a crazy/interesting story behind one?
I found one of the rugs at a thrift store, and it was only marked for $12! But the craziest story is about the opera trunk. A friend and I went to this warehouse sale in October 2004, and while driving there we got stuck in traffic in the middle of a parade. I believe it was the Double Ten Parade, which celebrates Chinese Independence. The trunk would not fit into my car, so we had to borrow a friend’s SUV to pick it up a couple of days later. And then we had trouble getting to the opera warehouse because of the Chicago Marathon! So after two trips to the warehouse, and hours and hours in a car, I finally had my trunk.

What piece would you like to add?
I could always get more pillows, and I’m looking for some new runners for our bedroom.

Why do you love them?
I love that they are handmade, that they have such a wonderful history and that they add color, texture and warmth to the surfaces of my home.

Which one is your favourite & why?
The Tree of Life kilim that my mom bought for me when we first moved to Tucson.

What else do you collect?
Another textile I collect is Ukrainian embroidery. I’m first-generation Ukrainian and learned to cross-stitch from my mom. I have a few scraps that I’ve framed, some pieces I made as a child, a few placemats, blouses, a wool jacket, a sheepskin coat, and a beautiful towel from an aunt. My mom has quite a collection of pillows, towels, tablecloths and blouses, too.

Gorgeous! Thanks so much, Alex.

Both of Alex’s Etsy shops explore her love of reclaiming beautiful trends from other eras. Be sure to visit her jewelry recycled boutique, filled with gorgeous goodies, and her vintage finds store, where she rediscovers great treasures!

What do you collect? Please tell us in the comments below. We’d love to hear!

The Collectors Series | Kilim on Etsy

Hi nicies! I’m Kristal Davis (a.k.a. rikrak) and I just love seeing what folks are collecting. I guess I feel it tells us a little bit about what inspires them. The Collectors series, first published on my own little blog, the rikrak studio, is a series of quick questions with a wonderful artist on what they're collecting (apart from their art supplies!)

  • myvintagecrush

    myvintagecrush says:

    Haha, where do you keep them? ..basically everywhere!! These are really beautiful, I see why you collect them cause now I want a whole couch full of these pillows!

    3 years ago

  • Colettesboutique

    Colettesboutique says:

    Wow! these pieces are truly gorgeous! I just want to reach out and feel the texture of those pillows!

    3 years ago

  • TheBloomingThread

    TheBloomingThread says:

    I always love this series..it made me start my own collection of vintage lockets! Thanks for sharing another great collector ♥

    3 years ago

  • funktionslust

    funktionslust says:

    I love how this collection evolved through various events that happened throughout your life, beautiful meaning behind the collection

    3 years ago

  • CandyAppleCrafts

    CandyAppleCrafts says:

    Beautiful! Someday I'd like to incorporate a little bit of kilim in my home, as well. Love it!

    3 years ago

  • beliz82

    beliz82 says:

    Beautiful Kilims Love them too !!!

    3 years ago

  • loveleeflowers

    loveleeflowers says:

    Goodness, I love, love, love your textile choices!

    3 years ago

  • LittleWrenPottery

    LittleWrenPottery says:

    Beautiful, I love the colours and geometric shapes I'd never heard of Kilim before!

    3 years ago

  • VintageEye

    VintageEye says:

    Alex! Your collection is beautiful! I too have a tree of life kilim that I treasure! I came to love kilims & similar textiles during the two years I lived in Turkey in the 1980s. Thanks so much for sharing your collection here!

    3 years ago

  • riskybeads

    riskybeads says:

    gorgeous and great post! thanks!

    3 years ago

  • SimpleJoysPaperie

    SimpleJoysPaperie says:

    Alex ! it's wonderful to see you featured here! I love your collection! :)

    3 years ago

  • cartoncompany

    cartoncompany says:

    Alex's shop is one of my absolute favs! I love this peek into her collection.

    3 years ago

  • pinksnakejewelry

    pinksnakejewelry says:

    Beautiful Collection!!!

    3 years ago

  • busterandboo

    busterandboo says:

    hi Alex!! What a gorgeous collection!!! :)

    3 years ago

  • OhMyAmpersand

    OhMyAmpersand says:

    Yay Alex! Lovely collection :)

    3 years ago

  • maimy

    maimy says:

    I have a beautiful kilim that my fiancé snagged for cheap on an internet auction. The colours and pattern are stunning, I can totally understand how they could become an addictive collection :)

    3 years ago

  • BeatificBijoux

    BeatificBijoux says:

    Lovely collection! I love the rich colors and patterns, and the texture of the weaves.

    3 years ago

  • busterandboo

    busterandboo says:

    Oh! And what do I collect?? Kachina Dolls - hand carved wooden native american dolls Also - all things miniature - many from Etsy - but started this collection when I was just a kid. :)

    3 years ago

  • AlpineGypsy

    AlpineGypsy says:

    Oooh, vintage textiles!!! And I never knew they were called Kilim, thank you~ All gorgeous. This is definitely my taste, and I think you just introduced yet another thing to me to obsess over, hehe..... Is there anything more fascinating than trying to imagine all the love and care that went into a handmade piece like an embroidered blouse, or a handmade carpet? I just *love* the energy these things have. Great interview. ♥ Heidi ♥

    3 years ago

  • maggiesraggedyinn

    maggiesraggedyinn says:

    Warm and rich collection... wonderful!

    3 years ago

  • VeraVague

    VeraVague says:

    covet

    3 years ago

  • frighten

    frighten says:

    Beautiful collection, Alex! I love those rich colors and patterns.

    3 years ago

  • MegansMenagerie

    MegansMenagerie says:

    Beautiful collection!!!!

    3 years ago

  • grandmamarievintage

    grandmamarievintage says:

    Such wonderful beautiful textiles. Really, amazing talent!

    3 years ago

  • anotherghostquilts
  • needlepointpassion

    needlepointpassion says:

    Which one is the Tree of Life? AlpineGypsy says it all! I have 2 kilims now! how is kilim pronounced? long or short i? Anne

    3 years ago

  • scandivintage

    scandivintage says:

    Great pieces and wonderful ways of displaying them. I just love the warmth they give a home. Thanks for sharing.

    3 years ago

  • LivingVintage

    LivingVintage says:

    Gorgeous!

    3 years ago

  • RustBeltThreads

    RustBeltThreads says:

    Alex is awesome! So happy to see this featured!

    3 years ago

  • Iammie

    Iammie says:

    Beautiful collection.

    3 years ago

  • HoneyThistle

    HoneyThistle says:

    These rich hues and geometric shapes always make my heart sing. What a great collection!

    3 years ago

  • RossLab

    RossLab says:

    So colorful!

    3 years ago

  • jammerjewelry

    jammerjewelry says:

    Wonderful collections thanks for sharing

    3 years ago

  • derinmavi

    derinmavi says:

    Kilim patterns are symbols of love, life, death, fertility, earth, nature, immortality, family.. and so on. They are also expressions of words and emotions that can not be expressed. Here's a bonus for you: A Turkish folk song called "Kilim". It says "I weaved love to kilim." http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7AeAtfhdztQ

    3 years ago

  • accentonvintage

    accentonvintage says:

    Beautiful collection! Your passion is catching!

    3 years ago

  • TheFancyLamb

    TheFancyLamb says:

    How cool! Love the interview, Alex!

    3 years ago

  • QueenofCuffs

    QueenofCuffs says:

    Fantastic collection - so warm - what a cosy home you have. Love textiles - and totally understand the passion. Love your shops - especially the jewelry - woman after my own heart !

    3 years ago

  • alexkeller

    alexkeller says:

    thanks so much for all of your wonderful comments :) and the Tree of Life kilim is the 3rd photo (not counting the photo of kristal) - it's hanging on the wall from a very long curtain rod!

    3 years ago

  • Lolavintage

    Lolavintage says:

    YAY! Thank you so much for the post! how cozy and beautiful!

    3 years ago

  • gardenmis

    gardenmis says:

    So awesome to see you here!! Gorgeous textiles + lovely interview! Congrats Alex :)

    3 years ago

  • Earmark

    Earmark says:

    This is so bizarre... I have actually been on the hunt for a Kilim rug for my home for the past month or so! Lovely fabrics! Great article!

    3 years ago

  • VictoriaWest

    VictoriaWest says:

    Wow! those pictures are amazing -the pillow in the 2nd photo is absolutely gorgeous- and the related items are also great!

    3 years ago

  • Parachute425

    Parachute425 says:

    Beautiful. Very colorful. I collect dust bunnies.

    3 years ago

  • sewlola

    sewlola says:

    The textiles are gorgeous! I am sure they bring happiness to your home. :)

    3 years ago

  • ecceprints

    ecceprints says:

    Gorgeous colors and texture! I love the patterned prints and how nice that you get to enjoy/use your collection on a daily basis!!

    3 years ago

  • MandyBesek

    MandyBesek says:

    Gorgeous collection!

    3 years ago

  • kayratastaki

    kayratastaki says:

    Beautiful collection!

    3 years ago

  • FranceGallery

    FranceGallery says:

    Lovely textile patterns and colors!

    3 years ago

  • MishaGirl

    MishaGirl says:

    I adore kilims and have several decorating my place. You have a fabulous collection!

    3 years ago

  • bitanem

    bitanem says:

    Very beautiful collection!! How nice...!

    3 years ago

  • OnlyOriginalsByAJ

    OnlyOriginalsByAJ says:

    Amazing work! Thanks for sharing!

    3 years ago

  • ecokaren

    ecokaren says:

    Love your feature! And the collection! Congrats Alex!! :)

    3 years ago

  • AnneMarie1025

    AnneMarie1025 says:

    I love your design patterns and the vivacity of the colors you use!

    3 years ago

  • RosepathCollection

    RosepathCollection says:

    I too love the colors and patterns. I come from a Ukrainian family as well here in Canada. Alot of rich culture I love!

    3 years ago

  • birribe

    birribe says:

    Marvellous patterns and colors, I really love it

    3 years ago

  • happyhound

    happyhound says:

    Hi Alex, Love your collection!!

    3 years ago

  • bstudio

    bstudio says:

    They have a beautifully cozy look to them! What a gorgeous collectable!

    3 years ago

  • forrestinavintage

    forrestinavintage says:

    Alex is one of my faves--congrats on the article, friend, and the lovely collection.

    3 years ago

  • MerCurios

    MerCurios says:

    What a great article. Alex you are amazing - Kudos!! xo

    3 years ago

  • semsamelkic

    semsamelkic says:

    I have 3 Bosnian Kilim for sell, if someone is interested you can contact me on semsa_melkic@hotmail.com. They are handmade, and 100 % woll, never used, unique .

    3 years ago

  • melongings

    melongings says:

    Fantastic interview! I had no idea Alex had such a wonderful collection of Kilims. I'm totally jealous! They are so rich and beautiful!

    3 years ago

  • PrincesaAnastasia

    PrincesaAnastasia says:

    What beautifull things you got!!!! I'll tell you very short story of the Ucrainian kilim which has run around the world. The story began in the beginning of WWII when my uncle was deported from Poland (presently Ucraine) to Kazachstan. She took her favourite kilim with her. Kilim went through Iran, India, Australia and since a few years is in Poland again.

    3 years ago

  • carolynfrench1

    Carolyn from SWFLOORQUILTS says:

    Thanks! for sharing your beautiful collection. I lived in Tucson for many years (my family is still there) and visit there often. I can visualize these appealing fabrics adorning and enlivening the walls and furnishings of a southwestern home. Viewing your collection brought back fond warm memories....

    2 years ago

  • spain455

    Ukrainianrushnyk from UNTraditions says:

    Дуже гарні речі. Яскраві палітри. Успіхів вам та творчого натхнення!

    1 year ago

  • productsstyle
  • nyctrendsoutlet

    TurkHai from TurkHai says:

    Great taste. When you get a chance check out our kilims as well. I guess this is an endless interest to own old handmade art pieces. We also make Kilim Shoes from the old kilims. great colorful and unique pieces.

    225 days ago

  • juliaallan35

    juliaallan35 says:

    Thanks for sharing! I came accross a very interesting website with more info on this product: http://www.archiexpo.com/architecture-design-manufacturer/kilim-8899.html

    193 days ago

  • akyarhulya

    hazım özpehlivan from KilimRugStore says:

    It is more than a passion. It is a lifestyle to deal with kilims. I have been dealing with vintage rugs and kilims all my life and now, thanks to etsy, I have an opportunity to share the pictures and make them a part of other people's life. You can find my collection on etsy under the name of PergamonArt

    181 days ago