People have been making handmade rugs using an age-old process that has remained virtually unchanged to this day. The process has been passed from one generation to another and used by draftsmen, dyers, and weavers alike. The traditional techniques involved with the process are what define the durability and explicitness of our rugs.
The time-consuming and meticulous process is necessary because of all the detail involved, whether we are making an abstract, modern, floral, or conventional rug. Some people are just as captivated by the production work that goes into making these rugs as they are by looking at the final product.
Great rugs begin with great designs. Whether it is a modernistic and abstract piece or an internationally-inspired Suzani, each rug is hand-grafted onto a large-sized graph paper. After these blueprints have been created, transferring the design by way of ancient Taalim weaving begins. This translation process is fastidious.
The Taalim tells weavers which yarn colors and tying styles should be used for each knot on the rug. Because handmade rugs may have as much as 800 knots/square inch, the transcription process is an important aspect of the overall design.
Every design warrants unique integrations of yarn textures and colors. As such, rug producers spin yarn and dye it in batches that are fairly small. Plant and wool fibers are sanitized, combed, stretched, and meticulously spun right into yarn. Although some of the spinning is performed manually – which creates a rustic look – other types of yarn are spun by machines for the sake of producing a quality that is more delicate and precise.
After the yarn is spun, it can be dyed. Use of dyes that are plant-based (for instance, to get black or brown, oak is used; for blue, indigo is used; for yellow, chamomile and larkspur is used; for red/orange, madder is used), each one of our dyers uses a follow-up process that hasn’t changed for millennia. Vegetable dyes are capable of creating saturated and rich colors. Because of the organic origins they have, vegetable dyes do not contain any synthetic compounds or harsh chemicals. They are also ecologically conscious.
Jewel tones, even neons, and neutral hues are accomplished through dyeing process combinations that are carefully timed. Only natural ingredients are used here.
Weavers work in small groups when converting wool that is freshly dyed into gorgeous woven designs. As a craftsman either sings or reads Taalim codes out loud, at least two weavers will follow through on his or her instructions. Although specific customs differ per village, weaving happens to be an activity that is quite communal. Typically, a whole family is involved. As a result, artisans have the ability to pass their craft down from one generation to another.
The weaving process sometimes gets overlooked, especially at a time when people are heavily dependent on mechanical technology. Hand-knotted rugs measuring in at 8 inches x 10 inches, for instance, could take as long as a year to complete. As far as this industry is concerned, such meticulous detail and quality levels are unparalleled.
Completing the Rug
The Washing Process
After the rug is pulled off a loom, it can be washed thoroughly. By working in motions that are synchronized, teams of washers will clean and brush the rug in order to restore its vibrance and luster.
The Drying Process
Once the rug has been washed completely, it will be hung to dry out in the open air (and in direct sunlight). Rug artisans all over the world have been doing this for millennia. The objective is to achieve the perfect consistency and shading.
The Trimming Process
After the rug has dried, it will be inspected, then trimmed carefully using a pair of shears. This will give the rug a plush texture, enhancing the elegance that handmade rugs are known for having.