Friday, August 31, 2007

Road Report - Irwin PA Big Mac Museum & WL Big Mac

I don't know if you remember me from your DCCA days -- you made a trip to the boarding school where I worked at the time, West Nottingham Academy. Anyway, I'm in Western Pennsylvania these days and thought you would like to know about the new Big Mac Museum in Irwin, PA, home of the World's Largest Big Mac. I look forward to seeing your World's Smallest Versoin one of these days!

All best for your travels! VW

Wow! Thanks for sending the pic! What a Whopper - I heard a mention of it on NPR recently, bt hadn't found a good image yet - it'll be sure to be added to the Big List of What's Large Where.

Thanks for the tip, and I'll be sure to keep you posted when the NEW museum is up and ready for an Eastern Tour


MySpace message from a Fan:

External Validation is always appreciated! This from a World's Largest Things MySpace friend:

Thank you! A friend and I are going to go on a road trip in a few years. We already decided we wanted to see the world's largest frying pan & rubber band ball, your site's making it so much easier for us to find other things :)

Peace, love, & rock-n-roll ~ J.

You're Welcome!
-Erika, WLT Inc.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Last Week's Weekly What's Large Where

This is an Email sent out to World's Largest Things members and board members containing last week's Weekly Whats Large Where:
as well as a link to the new blog that houses past WWLW columns... you have to be invited to read).
We're still working on streamlining the Information Dissemination department, and truly appreciate your feedback.  Some members were not seeing the WWLW column when sent as a page via email, so we're figuring out what's best for most folks. 
Please, let us know what you like, what you don't like (Very Important - we can take the criticism!!!), and if you find broken links in some of the new site features.
Thanks again for making this possible, and keep on Living Large!
-Erika, Director World's Largest Things, Inc. (newly redesigned - take a look!)

Upcoming Speaking Engagements

Slide Show Extravaganzas have just been confirmed for the following locations and times:

Sunday October 21st, Glen Elder Kansas, time TBA, at the Methodist Men's (and Women's this year!) Fish Fry

Tuesday October 30, Butler County Community College, El Dorado Kansas, 10:45 - 11:45 a.m.

Talks are available through the Kansas Humanities Council's Speakers Bureau, which make them accessable and affordable for all community groups - book a lecture! They're fast-paced, educational, and will make you laugh out loud while you're learning about roadside culture.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Writing the column

In addition to Weekly What's Large Where going out to Members of World's Largest Things, they also go out to newspapers that serve small communities in the MidWest - often, a paper that serves a town with their own World's Largest Thing. I write the columns a month at a time, and send an electronic form to each contact at the end of the previous month. They take a few days to research and write, so that's what Monday and Tuesday were devoted to, Big Things Wise.

If you know of a small town paper that would like to be included in distribution, PLEASE forward their contact info to World's Largest Things, Inc. We're always looking to expand the pool!

-Erika, Director WLT Inc.

Backyard Visitors

Had another set of backyard visitors, who are Always Welcome! Remember, the Mobile Museum is Alway Open When Parked, and located directly south of the Garden of Eden, Lucas Kansas.

These two were exploring the town, with walking tour map in hand. And, after a good conversation about geothermal heating for large areas and buying school houses as residency programs, they got an insiders' tour of the house, too!

I find the most amazing things while researching the column...

Model of one of the World's Largest Electric Shovels, Big Muskie - dismantled and sold for scrap, making Big Brutus the WL Thing... Another amazingly crazy model builder!

Mike Wellman's Fully functional,Radio controlled, all metal, 1/50th scale...


British Model builder Mike Wellman contacted me a while back about a 1/50th scale Big Muskie he was building. He attached a few pictures,and I was more than impressed. Though fellow modelers have builtother models of Big Muskie, this one was to be a little different... it's going to be FULLY FUNCTIONAL !!!

Mike's choice of building material?, Not wood, Not plastic.. ALL METAL. Though it's not quite finished yet, here are some pictures taken during the project, I think you'll be impressed as well.

Layout of the "Machinery Deck"

As you can see, the model is more than just an exterior shell, complete working machinery will bring this machine to life.


Monday, August 27, 2007

KWCH interview for Wichita TV station

OK, ok, so it was for the Garden of Eden, but anything that helps Lucas helps the World's Largest Things home base... And, the reporter that contacted the Garden was an old friend from last year's focus on the World's Largest Collection of the World's Smallest Versions of the World's Largest Things Traveling Roadside Attraction and Museum.

Kim Hynes and a photographer interviewed Erika for a couple of hours at the Garden, as it is one of the 24 finalists in the race for the Eight Wonders of Kansas. Nice chat, even if the afternoon temperatures did reach in the high 90s... Lesson of the day? Be nice to the press, as they'll come back. Be honest about what you're talking about, and have some fun with it! The Garden of Eden episode will air Sept. 8th, not sure what time, and re-run the following Friday on KWCH Wichita Ch. 12 news.

Road Report - Baily Colorado Hot Dog Stand

This Just In from a WLT Member:

Erika, attached are several snapshots of the Coney Island at Bailey Colorado. These were taken this summer on a Sunday Afternoon. The Reopening was July 4. On weekends the place is mobbed, and we didn't actually wait for food as the estimated wait was over an hour.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Tips from Fans - Cheese Moose!

I was just sent this site, featuring a few World's Largest Things...

Let's see, if Elmo is 6'1" and Greg is 6'2", then the Cheese Moose must be about 14-15 feet tall! The Cheese Moose lives in Black River Falls on the grounds of the Arrowhead Lodge

Roadside Update - Kokopelli Gone

kokopelli-Camp Verde, AZ

From:a worlds largest things fan
Sent:Sunday, August 26, 2007 1:43 PM
Subject: kokopelli-Camp Verde, AZ

as a residence of the verde valley, i wish to inform you that the kokopelli is gone along with the gift shop. it has been replaced by a starbucks, quiznos and cold creamery. this all happened two years ago.

Sincerely yours,

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Working on new Press Pages

Tech update - next on the list is making a more interesting, user-friendly, shameless self promotion version of the existing Press page. With the great feedback on the new home page, I'm building in the same sort of "Click Here" Easter Eggs...

Based on old poster design, a little bit of car culture, and limited pallette... Will post a prototype for your critical eyes later today - first, there's some blog and myspace and flickr and web maintenance on the schedule...

-RW, trial-by-fire web designer and tech dork

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Working on the big plan...

Spent the afternoon discussing the best financial software to use - upon the recommendation of a tech friend, I think we're going with QuickBooks Pro... But, open to suggestions, accompanied by rationale!

One other recommendation was PeachTree, but the QuickBooks people claim that PeachTree isn't as flexible when it comes to keeping track of mobile units, micro-managing mileage and per diems and on-the-road aspects that are going to be critical once the NEW Mobile Museum is on the road. Another advantage of QuickBooks, according to my tech insider, is that there's a plug-in called AyaNova, which is designed for the service industry, keeping in-the-field techs in communication and on track.

The PeachTree advocate says the major advantage is the management of projects - i.e., specific campaigns to accomplish a particular goal within the greater structure of the organization.

So far, still researching - have ordered more pertinant info from both sources. Your input is welcome if you know something that does all of this!

Thank you,
Erika, World's Largest Things, Inc.

Mobile Museum visitors

Two backyard visitors today, who actually stopped one of the other, smaller Art Cars downtown to make sure it was OK to poke around... And yes, it is...

Always Open when Parked, the Mobile Museum is a Featured Attraction in Lucas now... Just south of the Garden of Eden.

Also, another membership in the mail - Thanks, Roadside Enthusiasts!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Road Report - Chicken and Chair

From Roving Reporter #1 -

Chicken, Marietta Georgia, Magnificent! Still serves as a sign for KFC. Very humerous secondary photo on his Flickr page

Big Chair, Anniston Alabama, Great! but ran into some more officials questioning why he was driving around with four bottles of propane. Released once the official was assured by HQ that it's not illegal. I'm sure he'll update the story on his official Flickr page...

Big Guitar, Gone! It WAS build in Bunkie Louisianna, by a sign company, but no longer in town. Moved off to Mississippi, one of the locals reported. So, I need to do some World's Largest Things List updates... While there, another big chair sighting, but not a huge one...

Monday, August 20, 2007

Member Packets...

... in the mail! One more renewal, and another New Member! Thanks for your support, everyone...

And, yet another on-the-road report from Paul, calling after he passed a giant peanut in Ashburn Georgia. Yes, it's the largest, and plotted out a path that would take him to a gian chair, hog, the Marietta chicken and the World's Largest Working Cuckoo Clock (except that they're closed on Mondays).

Can't wait until he's back at his own home base to share all his finds!

Until then, we're still pluggin away here in beautiful Lucas Kansas, home to great ideas and the know-how to make them into reality.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Good feedback...

.. from new site launch. The home page is functioning nicely, and the secondary pages have been cleaned up a bit - still a bunch of work to do, and may just get a bit creative with the press pages, but not tonight. Spent the day creating and installing little rollover buttons for the navigation buttons on secondary pages, updated sites, and sent out this week's Weekly What's Large Where to members.

Caio! - rw

Saturday, August 18, 2007

NEW home page launched!

Finally - Windex has become Index, so all the world can see the NEW IMPROVED World's Largest Things home page! Here's some screen shots for ya' - now, to clean up the rest of the site, which has grown like a fungus over the last 5 years...


Road Report - Giant Flaming Orange

OK, so the Orange wasn't on fire, but the car was... Just got another update from the WLT Roving Reporter Numero Uno from Kissimmee Florida, home of Orange World. Impressive orange, they bought oranges, and had a nice talk with the salespeople.

And, as is wont to happen when the reporter drives an Art Car with active flames, some county police showed up to check things out, too... Paul says he'll post more on his Flickr page once he returns to Texas, but for now just know all is OK, and Oranges are Good for Continued Health!

Big Orange Photo

for Members of WLT, Inc.

Members of World's Largest Things get the column "Weekly What's Large Where" delivered to their virtual in-box. Now, columns will be archived and peruse-able for members, too - email WLT Inc. for inclusion: info at worldslargesetthings dot com.

Not a member? That's easy to fix: Become a Member of World's Largest Things, and help preserve Roadside Vernacular Architecture!

-Erika, WLT Inc.

Non-Mobile Museum visitors

Even though the Old Mobile Museum has had it's last appearance away from the home base, it's still open to visitors to the Grassroots Art Capital of Kansas, Lucas, world headquarters of World's Largest Things, Incorporated. There were 5 backyard visitors this morning, who got the full tour of the Mobile Museum, other two art cars, and sneak peak at the inner workings of WLT Inc....

And, upon checking messages, we missed a call from Roving Reporter:Florida division Paul McRae, who evidently has run into some trouble at Orange World in Kissimmee Florida - will check in on progress soon.

-Erika, WLT Inc.

ah HA!!!

Whoop! figured out some of the coding, new home page progressing nicely - it'll be in the original spirit of the bus, with a nod to circus poster design and interactivity - i.e., kitsch and info, all in one!

sneak peak: on the dot windex page

-a very tired rachel

Historic Hope Arkansas

World's Largest Watermelon airmail stamp - found in a collection of Philatelic Articles from lingens dot com

Friday, August 17, 2007

Google Earth: W.L. Tire, Michigan



...for those of you who enjoy watching someone flail around in HTML, I'm experiementing on a renamed version of the home page of WLThings - try modifying the explorer line to point to the 'windex.htm' page after you go to the main page to see the latest stabs (and bloody mess!) from this morning...

-Rachel, web flailer

Historic Odessa Jackrabbit

WL Jackrabbit is a favorite tourist attraction in Odessa. The rabbit was the subject of great controversy in the jackrabbit roping of 1932. This big fella if North of City Hall in Odessa - from the Permian Historical Society Archival Collection

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Back to Biz...

Yay - projects moving into the 'Done' pile!

First order of the day was to comlete the banking procedures started earlier and delayed due to technical glitches - officially off and running with a good deposit from member dues and donations to the Greenbacks for Gerstenslager fund.

Second order, re-schedule of a Humanities Council lecture in October at Butler Community College - now October 30th, 10:45 a.m.

And, received another call from the roving reporter and Big Things appreciator, Paul - he was skipping the Weeki Wachi Springs (too touristy now...) but was talked into and verbally guided to a gas station shaped like a dinosaur in Spring Hill Florida - I got to hear a play-by-play of his arrival, with follow-up status report afterwards and directions to the next Big Thing.

Next order of business, Lucas Area Chamber of Commerce meeting...

-Erika, WLT Inc.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

WL Roll of Duct Tape

Weighing in at 650 pounds and measuring 10,384 yards (or 5.9 miles!) long, the NEW & IMPROVED World's Largest Roll of Duct Tape was created in Hickory, North Carolina, for Henkel Consumer Adhesives in 2005. It is 3.78 inches wide and is 64 inches in diameter

Road Report - Boll Weevil and Dotham Hog

... from Paul McRae. He was disappointed in the World's Largest Boll Weevil in Enterprise, Alabama, as it wasn't quite as large as he expected. He suggested creating a caveat icon in the list of What's Large Where, indicating a site that may not be as gargantuan as you may be led to believe from the title of World's Largest...

But, he was pleased to call back at the World's Largest Hog in Dotham Alabama.

Gave over-the-phone tips for other possibilities in the state and further along the route - he'll be reporting in!


Hays KS TV spots

20 seconds to sum up World's Largest Things, Inc., for upcoming Lucas spots on regional television - Luckily, I talk fast, so I believe it went something like this:

This is the World's Largest Collection of the World's Smallest Versions of the World's Largest Things Traveling Roadside Attraction and Museum, here at the home base of World's Largest Things in Lucas Kansas. I travel the country seeking out Roadside Vernacular Architecture known as World's Largest Things, make a small replica of it, and add it to the collection... I then take the traveling roadside collection to other communities on the road...

...or it was something close to that. Four takes, each one different, trying to hit the 20 second mark. We'll see when it start airing in the Fall!

And, since it's early in the morning, it's only 80 degrees out right now, so there was only a slight sweat sheen by the time we wrapped up at 10 a.m...


Addendum: Rachel informs me that it's 85 degrees, and 10:15 a.m....

Web Development

...reading html by example (ok as tool, will help in designing new site) and some publishing tips from Adobe Creative Suite tools, scouring the net for an adaptable template that will update World's Largest Things dot com and still say what we need it to say, graphically speaking. not having much luck - time to design on my own!

-RW, web weaver

Oh, and re-addressed MySpace, Flickr, and this site, too, while interconnecting the whole big intricate web world presence.


... in the expanding Web World, did some social networking for WLT. Lots of comments on MySpace to Art Car friends, roadside enthusiasts, and crazy art connections. It's nice to know that the people on the Friends lists are actually KNOWNS... Neat!


Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Rural Renewal

Heard from two board members today - one with links to more online resources and grantwriting workshops, the other with a Super Secret Business Plan development method - sorry, it's proprietary... So, we're in the middle of lotsa infrastructure and long-term planning!

Still waiting on banking snag to un-snag so we can complete the accounting setup, but you just can't rush the printer repairman...

Have two calls in to Arts agencies regarding grant opportunities for Non-Profit organizations - the bit of information that continually goes around is ASK! Ask about the previous successful applications - Ask about budget - Ask about recommendations in creating a successful program - Ask for help! It saves both of you time in the long run by cutting down on wasted energy in preparing a poor proposal.

And, got to promote Lucas as a "Great Town to Live In" to an awed tourist, even going as far as calling the local realtor to show her affordable housing in the Grassroots Art Capital of Kansas... There's a certain special look that comes over one's face when the realization hits - "I can buy a house here outright, have no mortgage or rent, be connected to the world, and pursue that entrepreneurial dream in the Capital of Quirky!"

On a related note, anyone want to buy a church? Nice vaulted ceiling, utilities, two blocks off of downtown, includes nice lawn area, affordable! Great space for practicing artists, sculptors, singers, collectors of large things, or shop/business/artist residency space...

-EN, WLT, Inc.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Back to business

There's always more than a couple item of business to attend to when you're out of the home office for 6 days...

First, half-way through setting up local banking for WLT, Inc - even the professionals have computer glitches, though, so after an hour and a half of poking things that weren't going to work, we'll try again tomorrow...

Returning calls about appearances, but the old Mobile Museum is no longer road worthy - sorry to disappoint potential venues, but keep an eye out for the NEW IMPROVED World's Largest Things Museum in 2009!

Speaking of which, another member renewal from Washington state will help us make the goal...

AND heard from two advisory board members today...

Josh, maker of Big Things in Minnesota, is working with the Olivia Chamber of Commerce making some character Ears of Corn for photo opps, which will stand beside the existing Ear of Corn. The Chamber wanted to know if there's really IS the World's Largest, so looked up the current iconic records:

Rochester Minnesota, watertower painted like ear of corn, 60' tall (corn), standing 151' tall atop its structure.

Olivia MN, need to get some accurate measurements - reports vary from 12' tall (Minnesota Marvels book) to 35' tall (Local Housing Policy: The Small-Town Myth and
Economic Development USDA article), but it's a 'true' W.L. Thing in that it's a sculptural element rather than an applied design

Shelby IA, 76' corn stalk incorporating Ag elements, in a sort of wire-frame.

Coon Rapids IA, 10' rotating Ear of Corn, with plans for a 50' version (not likely - old plans...)

He also passed along some good ideas for dimensional design apps for the New Mobile Museum... Wheels are a'turnin'!

AND, heard from Brian Butko, author of the newest book focusing on Roadside Attractions, called "Roadside Attractions" (Huh! Whodaguessedit!), just out from Stackpole Books.

Got my copy in the mail last week, and there's a full color half page about the bus on Pg. 22, Lucas Kansas section pgs. 55-56. Thanks, Brian!

Now, time to address some of the other fires, and create a Member Packet for the latest renewal...

-Erika, Director, World's Largest Things, Inc.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Cop writes a ticket for giant sausage

From a WLT Member:

Wienermobile ticketed

Tribune photo by Kevin Pang, August 9, 2007

A Chicago police officer tickets the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile in the 400 block of North Michigan Avenue.

A massive hot dog clogged Chicago's main artery Thursday morning.

In a rare occurrence of an encased-meat vehicle committing a traffic violation, Chicago police ticketed the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile for illegal parking on the Magnificent Mile.

The incident began at 10:57 a.m. in the 400 block of North Michigan Avenue. At least two members of the Wienermobile entourage left the vehicle in the six-lane street with its emergency blinkers on. The vehicle is registered to Kraft Foods under the Wisconsin license plate "WEENR."

A police officer approached the Chevrolet with the 27-foot fiberglass sausage and removable bun roof. The officer radioed for a tow truck.

Matt Smith of the city's Streets and Sanitation Department said the city would have been ready to handle the job.

"We have access to tow trucks that could have handled a Polish sausage, not just a hot dog," Smith said.

The officer wrote the ticket and affixed it to the wiener's footlong side mirror. Ed Walsh, a spokesman for the city Department of Revenue, said parking in a "Parking/Standing Prohibited Anytime" zone is a $50 violation.

About 15 minutes later, as curious passersby snapped pictures with their camera phones, the driver and passenger of the vehicle returned before tow trucks could arrive. "The situation was resolved without the use of ketchup, which in Chicago is a big thing," Smith said.

The entourage got a grilling from the officer.

"You can't just park here," the officer said.

One of the passengers, who declined to be identified, said they were visiting a Wienermobile alumnus who worked nearby, but were unaware that one could not park a giant sausage in the middle of the city's busiest thoroughfare.

Sydney Lindner, a spokeswoman for Kraft Foods, said the Wienermobile is on a nationwide tour promoting a contest to sing the Oscar Mayer jingle in an upcoming commercial.

She said "regardless of the reason" the driver had for parking there, the company neither condones nor relishes such actions.

"It's against company policy to park in undesignated area even if you're driving a company vehicle that's shaped like a giant hot dog," Lindner said. "We appreciate the police doing their job and we regret any inconvenience this may have caused."

The hot dog was last seen driving north on Michigan Avenue.

Tribune staff reporter Jason Meisner contributed.

Other Links for World's Largest Things, Inc.





Saturday, August 11, 2007

Australian Gallery of World's Largest Things

Whoop! Or, is there another Aussie term for 'whoop'?

Friends, Family and Big Things :: Backyard
We've all heard of the Big Banana or the Big Pineapple. But what about some of the more obscure Big Things Australia has to offer, like the Big Winch, the Big Mower or the Big Wool Bales?

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Minutes of Director's Meeting, Aug. 7 2007

Minutes of World's Largest Things, Inc., Board Meeting, August 7, 2007, 8 p.m.

Meeting was called to order by Erika Nelson, President

Minutes of previous meeting read and approved unanimously

Directors report read and approved unanimously

Treasurers report read and approved unanimously

Committee reports:

Membership committee – good response from renewal notices to WLT members with July newsletter. Five renewals, five new members. Need to send reminder notice to non-renewing members, work on better return list for second newsletter scheduled for fall.

Fundraising committee – Initial push starting – need to establish goals and timeframe for fundraising activities. Brainstorming fundraising events as it relates to Gerstenslager Mobile Museum development. Need to research Foundation Center resources with Advisory Board member.

Gerstenslager committee – work has started! Once action plan approved, and funds acquired, can start body work. Meanwhile, design concepts need to be produced for approval. Establishing booking procedures and rider for performance contracts, looking at protocols for vehicle ownership by a non-profit.

Old Business:

Advisory Board – all have been contacted and have said 'Yes'. Potential for moving onto actual board to be reviewed for 2008.

Newsletter – 350 produced and sent, last week of July, first week of August. Also, Non-Profit and imprint permit applied for and received from US Post Office, reducing rates.

New Business:

Resolution for Banking Procedures – Reviewed proposal for establishing banking relationship with bank local to WLThing Headquarters. Minimum funds acquired through memberships and donations from July newsletter, resolution adopted unanimously, Resolution signed by acting secretary.

Gerstenslager Action Plan - Reviewed initial budget breakdown for achievability, need to acquire blueprints with real and true measurements for initial design work and soliciting material quotes from potential design partners. Unanimous approval of budget with stipulation of review at each meeting until project completed. Titling, ownership, and resolution for purchase addressed at next meeting of Board of Directors.

Goals – Board Packet reviewed and edited – need further revision before approval. Agreed to have revised rough available for Board Members and Advisory Board by Sept. 15 2007.

Other business:

Brainstorming – Marketing possibilities and community partnerships for Mobile Museum development – established list of possible trade-offs for underserved communities, for inclusion on Mobile Museum exterior graphic development. Establish a value for publicity in recent articles and publications (as listed in External Validation list) as proof of performance.

Brainstorming session for website – development of sister site not conducive to browser experience. Need to update index to reflect new status, with quick clean links to everything. Creation of online blog to supplement web presence of WLR, Inc. , increasing corporate transparancy and sort of 'diary' of activities that may otherwise be forgotten in the long term.

External Validation – Brian and Sarah Butko's new book "Roadside Attractions" just sent from publisher – have a ½ page inclusion with two color pics, as well as in-text citation in the Lucas Kansas section. Also, two upcoming inverviews, one for commercial promotion, one for travel and tourism, both for regional TV spots. Upcoming US and BBC release of ArtLand:USA program featuring interview with World's Largest Things, Season Two, Episode 4, premeiring Thurs. Oct. 25 on GalleryHD (dish network).

Meeting adjourned 10:30 p.m. with unanimous vote. Members present: Don Robertson, Anne Rohan, Erika Nelson

Minutes transcribed and posted 8-12-07, Rachel Wilson


Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Motivation, anyone?

World's Largest Things happen through partnerships and a lot of community involvement - the most recent Big Thing produced in Lucas is the World's Largest Souvenir Travel Plate, created with the help of the City of Lucas crew, landowner J. Jean Mettlen, a National Endowment for the Arts "Challenge America" grant through the Lucas Arts and Humanities Council, and World's Largest Things, Incorporated.

It was produced between September and November of 2006, with progress posted on Flickr daily. Today, we got a call from one of the LAHC board members with the official license tag for the big plate, as it borders a state road, meaning that we applied for a permit before building. The tag needed to be attached to the plate, with a fine for a lost tag. Simple enough, but the letter was dated February! Evidently, the tag had been waiting for an official decision on how, exactly, to attach it to the plate. So, after 6 months, I took my stepladder, a tube of industrial adhesive, and glued it on to an amazingly appropriately proportioned support strut. Total labor time: 7 minutes.


Wednesday, August 1, 2007

World's Largest Carpet Woven for Worshippers

from National Geographic News:

August 1, 2007—By any measure, it's a marvel—as a work of art, as an article of devotion, as a testament to the richness of hand-made craftwork. But who's going to take it outside and beat it?

Authorities in Iran unveiled what they described as the world's largest hand-woven rug yesterday at Tehran's open-air prayer grounds.

At 60,546 square feet (5,625 square meters), the carpet is the size of a soccer field and was woven by 1,200 weavers in three villages over the course of a year and a half.

The mammoth floor covering is destined for a monumental new mosque under construction in the United Arab Emirates. Emirati officials commissioned Iran's state-owned rug manufacturer to create the piece for the central prayer hall of the giant Sheikh Zayed mosque, slated to open this fall in the capital city of Abu Zaby (Abu Dhabi).

Weavers in Iran's northwestern Khorasan Province used 38 tons of wool and cotton from Iran and New Zealand to fashion the colorful covering, tying a staggering 2.2 billion knots in the process.

Half of the commission, estimated at 5.8 million U.S. dollars, will go to the villagers. But authorities hope that in addition to the income, the huge rug will bring renewed publicity to Iran's flagging carpet-weaving industry.

Long known for its delicate and ornate Persian rugs, Iran has recently been losing market share to cheaper Asian manufacturers, according to industry reports.

—Blake de Pastino

Photograph by Morteza Nikoubazl/Reuters