Home > Turkmen Rugs >Review jurg rageth's New Perspectives Turkmen Book
Tue, Apr 12th, 2016 06:06:04 AM
Topic: Review jurg rageth's New Perspectives Turkmen Book

After having spent some time with rageth's fifteen plus years in the making publication we must say we are not overly impressed.

There are just too many aspects we see as mistakes and flaws for us to claim otherwise.

So in keeping with RK's practice of documenting and proving our statements with fact and proof we will back up our opinion in the forthcoming installments of our extensive planned review.

For now this first one will concentrate on the visual and technical factors of the book’s production. But our over-riding complaint is this book tries to do too much, and in doing so fails to achieve the level of worth some people are already claiming it will have for Turkmen rug studies.

According to its credits rageth not only wrote the book, he produced and designed it as well.

Had he hired expert professionals, or been more adept himself, RK believes the overall production and usefulness of this book could have been greatly improved.

RK knows a considerable amount about book printing, both pre- and post-press production, including design, layout, color separation, color correcting, and binding.

We were hands-on in the production of our “Image Idol Symbol: Ancient Anatolian Kelim” book, as well our “Kelim Soumak Carpet and Cloth: Classic Weavings of the Caucasus” and “Cult Kelim” publications.

So we have the knowledge and expertise to judge the rageth Turkmen book.

The largest visual and practical drawback is its landscape format that forced picturing all the main carpets, which are far more than half of the weavings in the color picture section plus the cover as well, horizontally rather than vertically.

This creates a major problem for readers, as well as those who will only look at the pictures.

Who wants to keep turning a heavy book, each volume weighs about 6.5 lbs, around and around each time one wants to view an image properly?

For sure we can tell you RK doesn't.

Then rageth’s decision to make the pictures of the chuval, torba, and other smaller weavings as large as possible on each page destroys the essential mystique good Turkmen weavings are able to project.

This might not be noticed by most viewers on first glance but as one returns again and again these mal-proportioned, ungainly, too large images make many of these pieces look far less interesting than they actually are.

We are talking about the balance between the image, the surrounding page border and page size. Something an unskilled designer, like jurg rageth, failed miserably to properly comprehend.

Instead of making each image as large as the page could possibly hold, far better would have been to correctly proportion each image to the page size.

Also, some of the photos have a partial black background that was then placed on a white page, while most have an all white background.

This, like the unbalanced overly large photos, is visually disconcerting, something no well trained professional designer, or even someone with proper aesthetic judgment, would have allowed to happen.

The landscape format, twice as wide as high, is not really suited to picture Turkmen main carpets, and since an overwhelming percentage of the color plates are main carpets it does seem to be a poor choice.

Again put this, too, down to rageth's lack of design skill and lack of training.

Far better would have been to produce the book in the same size but instead of making the book in the landscape format turning it 90 degrees to create a book that was twice as high as it was wide.

This would have made the book easier to handle, far easier to read and of course to allow the presentation of all the Turkmen main carpets vertically, as they should be seen, and not horizontally.

Undoubtedly another reason amateur designer rageth chose the landscape format was to present all the charts and tables this book contains.

Frankly RK doubts many readers will ever reference them, so choosing this ungainly format to present them was another error.

And besides a good book designer would have been able to present those same charts and tables in the higher than long format we suggest should have been used.

Plus incorporating all the information in those tables within relevant parts of the text would surely have been equally as good a choice, if not far better. In fact, RK believes it would have been superior, allowing readers to forgo shuffling back and forth between the two volumes, as well and within each one.

Again we see this a poor design choice to present the information rageth the author has loaded into the 800 plus pages.

We have already noticed, even after reading only less than 100 pages of his text, there are some recurring instances where he repeats himself saying the same thing twice, or using the same figure illustration, adding to an already far to large text.

And although we have read more than enough of the text, not until we read far more we will comment on the book’s content.

We should also mention the color printing is adequate, but surely not exemplary. Actually, it looks far better in good sunlight than it does in any type of indoor lighting.

This is both a plus and a minus, as people will read the book indoors and therefore view pictures that are definitely compromised by indoor lighting.

For those of you who already have the book, take the volume with the color plates outside in good indirect sunlight and you will see how much better the printing will appear.

While we can sympathize with rageth choosing to go this route for correcting the color plate printing, or maybe it was just an accident due to his lack of experience, far better would have been to color correct and balanced the printing to look as good as possible in indoor, non-natural light.

After all who reads a book like this outside?

Again, a poor choice made by amateur designer and color print project manager mr rageth.

Then there is the issue of the quality of the binding.

Excellent book binding is an expensive and tricky part of the book making operation, and most printers scrimp on it to save money.

An experienced book designer and project manager knows how to insist on getting his money's worth, and proper binding, while an inexperienced one ends up with inferior binding and books that will fall apart with use.

This will definitely be the case here as each volumes 400 plus pages, pages that are a heavy 150 gram weight, have been bound with techniques that are totally unsuitable for their weight.

Below is a photograph RK took of the binding of our new unhandled volume I.

We have added a black and a yellow arrow, and one yellow slash, to point out the flimsy, unreinforced connection between the block of the book’s pages and the front and back covers.

This thin piece of paper will soon tear and break as these books are used and the covers will then become separated from the block of sewn pages it formerly held in place.

Watch and see how these books will break away from their covers after substantial use, which will be magnified by forcing readers to constantly turn the books around to view the main carpets vertically, as well to shuffle back and forth to try and relate the information in the tables and charts with the photos and text portions to which they refer.

More to come, stay tuned…

Author: Giulio.
Tue, Apr 12th, 2016 06:06:04 AM

Jack,quick answer to your question.

It was good to get historical background as first together with pictures showing the the related original manufactures.

Then I found very interesting descriptions of weaving features,technique,materials,dyestuff and designs.

Typologies of different kind of weavings from ensi to kapunuk to all others are well explained with nice comparisons and supporting pictures.

Especially have appreciated the description and design composition of Salor hangings.I can't really judge if all contents are correct or partially correct or non correct,this I leave to you.....

Then the more complicated job was to go to each single piece review where I needed the two books in parallel and had to quit my confortable couch place to a table with chair in order to watch at both volumes at the same time.

Sometimes it was a repetition of what already described in the generals but it was also a memory refresh creating a better understanding at the end.

So,all in all,positive and appreciated.

All the best,Giulio.

Author: Giulio
Mon, Apr 11th, 2016 01:02:30 AM

RK Replies:

Hey there Giulio, and thanks for your comments.

Can you please tell us, and all the readers who have looked in on this thread, what you found interesting or enlightening from reading the Salor section?

RK is very interested in your perspective.


Dear Jack,have got the same feeling as yours by handling the two books together over the last two weekends. Nevertheless the content is very interesting(have just finished the Salor review,no more yet) and quality of the pictures is more than satisfactory. I must say such a monumental job on Turkmen weavings is worth of a great appreciation and I want to congratulate with the author. The cost of the books is totally deserved.Giulio.

Author: jc
Sun, Apr 10th, 2016 05:40:03 AM

Before we get into dissecting rageth’s text we felt it pertinent to mention how difficult it is to read this book.

It is impossibile to read one volume at a time, both volumes must be simultaneously consulted to keep the flow of information credible and any truly interested reader must switch back and forth between them. Doing so we can assure is an arduous, almost muscle aching, affair.

Adding to this is the necessity to continuoiusly turn the color plate volume around and around to see the main carpets (we already mentioned they make up a vast majority of the color plates) vertically, the accustomed way to view them and then back again to see the tecnical and other information on the facing page.

The sheer weight, 6.5 pounds, of each volume makes this a strenuous undertaking, not to mention the need to have enough space on a large table or desk to place the volumes.

RK is no stranger to large format publications, as each volume of our “Image Idol Symbol: Ancient Anatolian Kelim" book was significantly larger than rageth’s.

However, we designed it so the plate volume had no text, save the size of each plate, with the text volume containing all the rest.

Plus the extreme large size of the plate volume and the very small number of color plate, only nine, made the need to its flip pages far far less frequent than rageth’s120 color plates.

It also allowed the reader to position our plate volume nearby and then to place the text voume in a convenient place for reading.

This is impossibile for reading rageth’s book with text for each color plate in both of the two volumes.

Quite honestly as we spend more and more time with it we are less and less pleased with the physical strain trying to read it entails.

more to come, stay tuned…

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