Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Ressurection.

APRIL 2011.

Our gallery KARAVAN has been closed now for 4 months and I should have been beavering away at our new "online store" idea. But instead,I decided some time out was needed to clear my head of 30 years of retailing. Off I went to one of my first and favourite Asian destinations,the Phlippine Islands.

A country of great contrasts and diverse attractions,if you know where look! So days were spent amongst the hustle in Manila,catching up with old friends that,since the early 80's were my source of many wonderful Spanish Colonial antiques and Indigenous Tribal artefacts. I was surprised and excited to discover one Antiquarian friend has been,over many years,assembling an awesome collection of Religeous Icons. These Philippine Santo are now extremely rare in the marketplace.

Time then to escape the high-octane of Manila and head to the more docile Cebu and finally to the Island paradise of Borocay..white sand,turquoise water,coconut palms. The perfect place to recharge before heading home to Brissie.

Back in the real world,Karavans new "online gallery" is now being developed. A collection of fantastic old Tribal Rugs should arrive from Afghanistan,early May and our new Website will be up and running with the facility to purchase online. No big retail- gallery overheads mean lower prices and top value on best quality,personally chosen carpets. Willi.

Friday, October 29, 2010


It happens to all of us from time to time ..tough decisions have to be made!! For us, one of the biggest decisions we've had to make for the last 30 years, is to close our retail Gallery. A very scary predicament we find ourselves in, not knowing quite what the future holds.. but the decision has been made. We close our Gallery doors for the very last time this coming Xmas eve. This ofcourse opens up lots of opportunities.. a great opportunity for our clients to grab a bargain, and an opportunity for us to do things differently in the future. How and what, we're not exactly sure, but we're thinking it's time to get with IT and focus on a web-based business eliminating the massive overheads of a large retail Gallery. This will mean radically refining the type of product we hold, as much of our current inventory is not particularly suited to marketing on the Web. One product we are currently developing is a limited collection of hand-crafted mirror-polished stainless steel furniture. Check out the photos of our first prototypes.. We're hoping to be able to offer this collection for sale early in 2011.

Don't miss your opportunity to purchase a fabulous KARAVAN product at bargain prices from now until our Gallery doors close for the very last time on Xmas Eve..

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Moonlit Minarets and Mosques..

Hope you enjoy some of my favourite pics taken on my little Lumix digital, Lahore 2009.

Cheers, Willie..

The Amazing Journeys to Create a KARAVAN Carpet..

Hi, I'm Willie Conner, founder and co-owner of Karavan for the past 30 years, but a total beginner blogger! As I learn this new way to communicate, I'm hoping to post some great images and worthwhile information about all sorts of people, places and products that interest me and (hopefully) you! Our focus is Asia from as far west as Turkey, heading east all the way to China and Japan and most countries in between.

Last December found me in precarious Pakistan. In between haggling with Afghan carpet merchants, I took time out to inspect our main carpet dyeing workshop in Lahore where the dye-masters are working their alchemy with traditional organic dyestuffs. The dye shop is run by a Tekke Tourkoman family originally from the far north of Afghanistan. To escape the Russian invasion of Afghanistan 30 years ago, they moved as refugees to Pakistan. They now run a most successful carpet-weaving business, the logistics of which are quite astonishing!

The carpets journey starts in the mountains of Afghanistan, the source of lustrous long-staple carpet wool. The shorn fleece is loaded onboard a truck which travels hundreds of kilometres south and over the border into remote, inhospitable and VERY tribal Belouchistan. The wool is distributed to Belouchi women who are skilled in the Art of hand-combing and hand-spinning using a drop spindle ..no high-tech spinning wheels here! This ancient way of preparing and spinning the wool keeps the long fibres intact and achieves the desired texture in the finished carpet. The spun wool then leaves Belouchistan heading north east to Lahore in the Pakistani Punjab. It is delivered to the aforementioned dye-shop where the wool is transformed into magical colours from the deepest reds from madder root and midnight blues from indigo and a whole palette of wonderous hues from organic materials using recipes known only to the dye-masters. The natural dyed yarn now heads back home to Northern Afghanistan where it is distributed to looms in villages that are home to the Tourkoman, a people famous for their weaving skills. But the journey is not yet over! After many weeks and often months on the loom, the finished carpets are collected and transported all the way back south through the notorious Khyber Pass, bypassing Peshawar as it travels through the North West Frontier of Pakistan and back to the same dye shop in Lahore. Now starts the final processes of washing and clipping. Pure spring water is pumped into concrete washing bays and the back-breaking work of hand-washing many carpets day after day is done by young men (much fitter than me). After drying in the sun on the roofs above, the final clipping of the pile by skilled artisans prepares the rug, ready finally to be packed into bales and air-freighted halfway around the world to our Gallery here in Brisbane, Australia. The final buyer mostly has no idea of the amazing journey their new carpet has taken.