(There’s nothing wrong with a dog wearing a fez. Artwork by Nanette)
Pets with Fez Weaving Studio is located in Highland Park, 5123 1/2 York Boulevard, and run by artist and master weavers Nanette and Babajan. In the same location for over fifteen years, the backend of the shop is the weaving studio, and the other end is a storefront for a large assortment of vintage pottery, housewares, and jewelry. Much like the art of couture, the art of weaving is quickly fading from our society. Babajan is the only public person in the U.S. that teaches 15th-16th Century techniques of weaving tapestries, blankets, and Persian rugs. (A look inside after the jump.)
(The signage shows how quirky these folks are)
Babajan is first generation and learned the craft from his father, weaving his first rug at age six. Nanette met Babajan when he had his first studio ”Mission West Weavers” in South Pasadena over twenty years ago. The weaving process starts with a ball of wool. Spinning is taking the ball of wool, and turning it into yarn. Once the yarn is spun, the threads are rolled up, put on a loom, weaving the fibers knot by knot into a rug, blanket, or shawl. The yarns used are primarily natural fibers like wool, cotton, linen, and silk.
Many of Babajan’s students learn weaving first, then move on to make their own designs like tribal, colonial, or navajo. When I first got to the shop to take photos, there were two students working in the back. When they finished, one joined Babajan for a loud game of chess. Nannette tells me that some of their students keep renewing their classes over and over.
Open Tuesday thru Sunday, Pets with Fez is an eclectic, cozy shop to visit and browse. Everywhere you look there are colors, ceramic, and artwork. As a child I spent many hours behind the counter at the storefront my grandmother ran for over forty years. This shop invokes those memories, proving that no matter how far we come with technology, we still seek the comfort in doing some things the old way.