Anna Levi: Tell us more about your around-the-world journey to becoming a carpet designer.
Jan Kath: I grew up on the carpet. My grandfather and my father were carpet dealers. They travelled to markets all over the world to bring the most beautiful rugs to Germany. I am very familiar with the old craft and classic patterns and have always enjoyed the wonderful international community of „Ruggies”.
But actually, I didn’t want to follow in my parent’s footsteps. I wanted to travel and after school I packed my backpack and toured India, organising concerts and parties at that time. It was more by chance that I ended up in Nepal after about a year. There, in the middle of Kathmandu, I met a friend of my father’s on the street who offered me a job. For me, it was initially a chance to stay in Asia longer. So I accepted the offer. Then one thing led to another. First I took over the quality control, then the company was offered to me for sale and I started making my own designs. Since then, carpets have been my media and my way of expressing myself creatively.
AL: How is your design process born and how does it unravel to create these unique designs?
JK: The machine is always on. Everything can be transformed. I work as a collector and sponge of images and ideas. Sometimes things move fast, very fast, but sometimes I keep going for years until a new collection, a new idea is born. In my work, many things happen in parallel, although everything stands on its own. After more than 30 years being of activity, I have the immersion that the ring is slowly but surely closing and the holistic character of all these apparently diverse appearing collections and concepts becomes more and more visible.
AL: Which one of your collections was your biggest challenge and which one did you find your greatest achievement?
JK: The world of Erased Heritage.
AL: How would you describe yourself in three words?
JK: Long-term, deep, focused… and complicated.
AL: What latest favourite book you have read?
JK: “The Highly Sensitive Person” by Elaine N. Aron
AL: What is happiness for you?
JK: Sitting in a quiet shady spot in our garden in Chiang Mai, petting our cat while watching the plants grow.