Yuva Blog

A Brief history of Mary Kelly Kilims

A chance meeting with a friendly rug dealer whilst on a family holiday in Turkey 25 years ago, was the start of Mary Kelly Kilims.

Bitten by the rug-bug almost instantly, it was the flat-woven Kilims with their history, patterns & colour that first attracted my attention. (Kilim weaving in fact, predates the knotted-pile rug by many years.) At the time we were based in England but returned to NZ some months later, bringing home with us our initial stock which my husband Michael had purchased on a week- long ‘immersion’ visit to Konya in Central Turkey. As it turned out, he had a very good eye for quality and has continued to be a valuable critic all these years.

And so it was that in October 1995, Mary Kelly Kilims launched from the rumpus room of our home in Auckland. What started out as a very small hobby has blossomed into the vibrant & modern business it is today.

Most years since I have travelled to Turkey; Ankara, Konya & Istanbul being my regular destinations. I love the hunt to the bottom of dusty piles to find that truly beautiful, but oh so elusive special piece! …. which is what makes collecting kilims a truly unique experience.

Over the years I have collected and sold all sorts of other products, from old olive oil pots to pashminas, antique copper to furniture. The Grand Bazaar in Istanbul became my happy place early on, so much to see, so many items to buy amongst all the hustle and bustle.

But the time has come for me to say Farewell and Thank you, and to hand over the reins of MKK to my daughter-in-law Harriet. Twenty-five years has disappeared in a flash; a reflection of the satisfaction and fun I have had meeting so many interesting people and helping you all to choose beautiful rugs and other items for your homes. Along the way I have made many life-long friends, both here in NZ and in Turkey.

Harriet is young, capable and well qualified to embrace the future with both its opportunities & challenges. She already has a very good knowledge of kilims and the wider rug world, although as they say about rugs, the more you know the more you realize there is to know……so I will be sticking around for a while yet to maintain a ‘watching brief’ and whenever she needs it, to give her a helping hand & some expert advice!

Thank you once again, for your friendship and support over the years. It has been a great pleasure, always.