This Ramadan, wow guests with these easy-to-make Kilim lanterns!
Kilims are rugs woven by nomadic people all over the Islamic world; the kilims of North Africa, Persia and Anatolia are especially popular here in the West. Typically, women are weavers of kilims and the knowledge of the craft is passed down from mother to daughter.
Symbols found on Anatolian kilims are famously known for their folkloric meaning. On the lanterns, I’ve drawn “yildiz”, or “stars.” They look different from your average stars because of the technicalities of the weaving process. You’ll notice despite their box-y shape however, that the stars are 8-pointed. In a previous post, I mentioned how the 8 pointed star was regarded in the medieval Islamic world as a symbol of the 8 angels that flank Allah’s throne. The Anatolian people frequently made use of the 8 pointed star in their weaving as a symbol to express happiness. And what better month to express happiness than Ramadan!
To make these lanterns, use markers to draw kilim motifs on white paper lanterns found in Chinatown (mine are from B&J Trading in Toronto.) For a clean finish, avoid washable dollar store quality markers for this project and opt for professional grade markers sold in sets of 12, or individually, in art supply stores like DeSerres. That way your lanterns won’t show marker streaks.
I’ve used ShinHanart “Touch” markers in the colours, Natural Oak, Yellow Ochre, Orange, Azalea Purple and Cerulean Blue.
That’s all there is to it! Simply hang at your next backyard soiree for a burst of colour, pattern and festive cheer!
Photo: Joseph Voci
Info on kilims read in “Kilim: The complete guide: history, pattern, technique, identification” by Alastair Hull and Jose Luczyc-Wyhowska.