Hi, I'm Max Önder.
The proud owner and founder of Karavan: Treasures from Turkey. My journey in the U.S. started in 1989 in New York, when I was brought from Turkey as an expert in vegetable dyes and antique rugs by George (founder of Woven Legends) and Prof. Henry Glassie, (then the head of the American Folklore Society).
I first established Karavan in Columbus, Ohio while attending Ohio State University. In 1997, I relocated the store to walking distance from the charming historic downtown Annapolis (Maryland). Over more than two decades of operation, Karavan established itself as the go-to source of high quality Turkish goods in the DMV area (D.C., Maryland, Virginia). Most recently, Karavan moved to sunny Sarasota, FL in 2018. If you’re ever in town, please come by and say hello at 28 S Blvd of the Presidents.
I always love to talk about my products, so please reach out to me with any questions. I look forward to meeting you.
About Our Rugs / Carpets
After successfully helping to grow George’s carpet business, I decided to pursue my own passion for rugs. I wanted to specialize in one of a kind antique village, tribal, and dowry rugs, as well as, newly produced rugs made in traditional styles with hand-spun wool and natural dyes, while attending college. As economies develop and urbanization takes hold in Turkey and the greater Middle East, handmade production for this caliber of carpets has become a rarity. Our unique collection includes some of the last pieces of beautiful and practical, ancient art.
All of the rugs you can find on our site are hand-knotted in the traditional form, which includes wool on wool or wool on an organic pre-washed cotton base.
These styles of carpet weaving make the rugs incredibly durable and the vegetable dyes prevent color bleeding. The wool in our rugs is not bleached and has been washed multiple-times during their production. Some of the much older antique rugs may have some repairs on the edges and fringes may have been restored.
About Our Production
These rugs were woven vertically by pulling the knots down. As a result, if one looks against the pile (the direction the rug was knotted) it looks darker, however, from the opposite direction the rug looks lighter. This effect can be more or less pronounced depending on the lighting.
The specialized knotting technique used to produce these rugs requires gentler hands and therefore are typically woven by women. This is a great source of income and helps create gender equality in pay to Turkish villagers. Importantly, children’s hands are not utilized in the production of these rugs, child labor is strictly forbidden in Turkey.
Larger antique rugs were mostly commissioned by local dignitaries or Europe’s affluent class. As such, the materials used in these rugs are of the highest quality.
Many of our newer rugs were directly commissioned by me in the mountainous villages of Adiyaman and Malatya. In this way, I was able to have direct oversight on the production process, materials, designs, and fair compensation for the workers involved.
For those of you who may have allergies to carpets, it is important to know that none of our rugs contain wool that is bleached. The chemicals used in bleaching wool are what cause a majority of carpet related allergies.
Remember that each rug has history and meaning behind each symbol, color, and design and I am happy to share my knowledge of them.