Today’s post is a continuation from yesterday’s guest post from Sam Presnell of The Rug Gallery where Sam talks about his first trip to India. Today, he shares some of his knowledge about how rugs are made.
After 37 years I thought it was finally time to share and help you understand some things that I know and take for granted. I have also included a video that gives you the visual to go along with the short version of the processes.
I love this business it has kept me interested for all these years. I hope I can help you understand what goes into making a rug and understand what a hand woven oriental rug is all about.
Weaving is a cottage industry done at home or in villages. Vegetable dyed, handspun, hand woven oriental rugs take many steps, but usually starts with the wool. After shearing, the wool is washed and dried then sent to be separated in order to remove debris from the fiber. Next, the wool is hand carded which straightens the fibers which allows it to be handspun. Hand spinning causes the yarn to be inconsistent, allowing it to be tighter and looser, which produces an evenness when dyed that we call a brash, giving more depth to the design. Vegetable and natural materials were the original methods used in dyeing . They can painstakingly remove the colors from any material. Vegetable dying is usually done in small batches which produces constant change from lot to lot. That is why vegetable dyed rugs look slightly different in every rug woven. Synthetic dyes are commonly used so we can be more consistent from dye lot to dye lot and certain colors can only be achieved this way. After dying, the wool is weighed for each color used in the rug. This allows for a quality control check. When the rug is finished it is weighed again to insure all the wool was put into the rug. Rugs are woven from graphs called Nak-Shar. Each grid depicts the placement of a knot. Stringing the looms is laborious and literally thousands of stings are aligned to produce the quality of the rug. These strings are what form the fringe at the ends.
Hand knotting involves the tying of two basics knots: one called Persian or Senneh which is shown here. The other is Turkish called Ghorides.
Washing produces the shine and velvet touch we all enjoy. Drying , then blocking allows the rug to lay flat and straight. A final shear, then finishing the warps to fringes. After fringing , a final inspection, then wrapping for shipping. A 9 by 12 rug can take anywhere from 7 months to 2 years from start to finish.
Thanks again, Sam for sharing your knowledge and your experience with us! – Shannon