I have recently had the pleasure of sitting in on a seminar covering the process of weaving wool carpets. With so many clients desiring area rugs as the temperature dips, I thought what better time than this. We examined both new and antique textiles from all over the world in order to understand Egyptian versus Pakistani pattern motifs, among others, the difference between chemical bath and plant dyes, materials, stabilization methods, and knot types.
Not only did I expand on my earlier education from undergrad Textiles I & II, but I made global connections through history and tradition that somehow, at the time, I had not fully understood.
I find Tibetan rugs particularly beautiful; their unique dye patina and softness are unexcelled. Here’s a snippet of history.
When the Chinese invaded Tibet in 1950, the locals were forced to flee into neighboring countries for protection. Similar to the Afghan refugees now living and weaving in Pakistan and Iran, and as such, the largest present exporter of rugs. In 1970, the Swiss Development Corporation and Red Cross empowered the dislocated of Tibet to establish a cottage industry doing what they knew – rugs. Tseten Tsatultsang, owner of Ziga Rugs, was a child growing up among looms, and has carried the weaving tradition forward into the 21st century, but kept the ancient methods alive.
As many of you may know, I use eco-friendly, small industry companies whenever possible, which means often educating my clients on the processes that go into the creation of their furnishings, finishes, window and floor coverings. Knowing the sources and methods of these works brings the maker and consumer closer together and makes for a much more satisfying creative experience.