Eclectic Images at Shirdak

Photographs of India by Thomas Cole

Saturday August 3rd until September 28th 2013

Shirdak is happy to present Eclectic Images by Thomas Cole. It’s a unique series of photographs taken in India.

Eclectic Images by Thomas Cole
During August and September 2013 at Shirdak Amsterdam

Photography has been something in which I’ve always had an interest. Now, after many years, I have chosen to pursue my passion for this art form. With a renewal of my travels overseas, and the acquisition of a professional SLR camera, I want to share some of the best images that have appeared before my eyes and was fortunate enough to have captured (Thomas Cole).

photo exhibition by Thomas Cole
photo exhibition at Shirdak

photograph on the right; Quiet Surprise

Taken in South India, in Karnataka State. When I spotted this girl walking through a park, I knew I wanted to capture her image, but did not quite know how to do so. I found myself walking on a parallel path to hers but about one step ahead, turned on my camera and got it ready, then suddenly dropped to one knee and aimed it at her. She spotted me out of the corner of her eye, whipped around to look at me, and this is the image I shot. Both of us were equally surprised – me with the result and her by me.

The tribal textile and rug dealers are a rare specimen. Most of them are intuitive and intellectual at the same time. Selecting, searching for the one item never found, they are more observers than people people. They ask themselves questions: what is it, where is it from, is it old, what does it mean, is it worth something? These observers with a good eye for details are interested in the story behind what they see. Most of them are travelers. From there it’s a small step to photography or writing.

Thomas Cole is a private antiques textiles and rugs dealer for the last 20 years. I met him in his private gallery in San Rafael (California). Although I am not an antique rug dealer, I am crazy about textiles and the collection was beautiful. I was having a great time looking at all items and listening to the stories.

Cole specializes in tribal weavings and textiles mostly from Asia and Central Asia. He has lived much of his life in Asia, including Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Pakistan, India, Nepal, Tibet, and Thailand. He wrote two books on antique Tibetan rugs, Dream Weavers and Patterns of Life, as well as numerous articles for Hali, the London-based magazine on antique oriental rugs and textiles.

During this exhibition we show some beautiful traditional textiles from India.


New Spring collection Shirdak rugs

Spring collection shirdak
Beautiful blues from the mountains of Kyrgyzstan

A couple of days before leaving to the Selvedge Fair in London, our new Spring collection of Shirdak rugs arrived.  I had a quick look in the boxes but only now I had time to describe them and place them on our redesigned shop online.

the new Shirdak felt carpets of 2012
The new collection of Shirdak rugs gives you a real spring feeling

Together with the workshops, we tried designs in new colour combinations. The results  are a welcome addition to our collection. The fresh orange and off-white colours give you a real Spring feeling.

The Scythian design rugs in pink turquoise looks modern and make a perfect combination with metal and industrial furniture.

funky colour combination in shirdak rug
Scythian design in funky colour combination

This time, we also produced the traditional carpet in multicolour as the Kyrgyz and I always love. These big shirdak are of an exquisite quality of felt.

traditional shirdak rugs in multi colour
New collection of traditional shirdak rugs in multicolour combination

A small collection of farmer rugs also arrived. These rugs are made by the locals in small villages, felting, dying sewing their own sheep wool. All unique adorable items.

It’s great that already a few were sold.

Chests and cupboards filled with textiles, delicious !


tribal textiles and rugs
a cabinet filled with piles of tribal textiles and rugs, collect them at Shirdak

When I was a little child I always loved to sniff in the linen closet and play with the nicely and neatly arranged stacks of white linen. In the wardrobe the world to me seems soft and freshly organized.

Read more Chests and cupboards filled with textiles, delicious !

Never a dull moment at Shirdak in 2011

mayer-peace -collection
Exhibition 2011 Christine Mayer and the tribal textiles day May 19th 2011

Looking back on an exciting Shirdak year full of success and surprises.

In 2011 we started with the exhibition of the Christine Mayer Peace collection. With a beautiful article in the magazine Selvedge we were happy to have this new brand in our shop. Read more Never a dull moment at Shirdak in 2011