Barbara Koenen
Making a War Rug
2003
The first war rug I made in public was this one, at Navy Pier for Art Chicago. I was placed in a hallway overlooking the water, on a garish carpet. I set up a black carpet underneath, and roped off the area with "CAUTION" tape. Then I set to work, methodically placing turmeric, cinnamon, poppyseeds and many other spices into outlines I had drawn out before.

This rug is based on one I purchased on Ebay. Compositionally, it uses 4 Kalashnikov rifles to frame a plethora of fighting vehicles and weaponry, ranging from tanks to helicopters to landmines and anti-aircraft vehicles. Tanks circle the main area, and the weavers occasionally spelled it out quite obviously.

I lay the spices out by hand, and use a few small tools to help with straight lines and detail work. These include a flat calligraphy nib and a small palette knife that I've modified as a little spoon.
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