Travelling to India for work was an educational experience. India is a place I want to visit again and again. The people, the food, the textiles, the architecture, the scenery, and the chaos. The architecture of the Taj Mahal is timeless and so beautiful. the colourful street scenes are busy and diverse.
The main focus of my trips was carpet. The carpet factories I visited were a few hours north of New Delhi. The climate is perfect for working with natural wool and silk in most months except monsoon season. The factories have large rooms assigned for dying, weaving, tufting, gluing, trimming, carving and packing.
Yarn colours are chosen from a pom box pictured below. The yarns are then dyed to match the specific colour.
The yarns are then hand tufted using a tufting gun into hand drawn patterns on large cotton backing sheets which are on stretchers. After tufting is complete the rugs have a backing glued on and then dry outside. Then the rug goes into final finishing and gets trimmed or carved according to the design. Carving and trimming is done with large scissors by hand.
Traditional carpets are usually symmetrical. Extremely intricate patterns can be achieved and almost any colour can be custom dyed. I love the neutral palette of this rug, creating a juxtaposition of a traditional pattern in a contemporary colour palette.
Carpet and rugs are an important component to interior design. Wall to wall carpet or area rugs have different functions in different environments. They can help with acoustics, makes space feel warmer, softer, add texture, colour and help to bring together all the finishes in the space for a cohesive design. They can be used for way finding or define an area in a room. Luxury rugs and carpets typically tend to be thick and dense. Natural materials such as silk or wool are typical for luxury.
Commercial and office carpet tends to be either broadloom or carpet tile and is thin and durable. Carpet produced for commercial use is typically made from one of six pile fibers: nylon, polypropylene (olefin), acrylic, polyester, wool, or cotton. These carpets are manufactured mainly in the US, China, and Europe. Custom carpets produced for the luxury residential and commercial market tend to be made in India, Nepal, China, Iran, Turkey, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Morocco, and Europe.
Types of carpet Woven:Woven rugs are produced on a loom. Woven rugs can be either plush or berber or combination called cut and loop pile. Woven carpets are usually the most expensive due to the long and slow process of manufacturing them. These are typically manufactured in India, Pakistan and Arabia.
Needle felt: Needle felts are produced by felting individual synthetic fibers using barbed and forked needles forming an extremely durable carpet. These carpets are normally found in commercial settings such as hotels and restaurants where there is frequent traffic.Needlefelt is available in different qualities, for example 750 g/m2 fibre weight, 600 g/m2 and 500 g/m2. Needle felt carpets reduce ambient noise, making it ideal for use in places which require a tranquil atmosphere and a minimum of noise distraction, such as offices.
Knotted:Knotted carpet is produced by setting up a loom with warp threads on the frame of the loom before weaving begins. A number of weavers may work together on the same carpet. A row of knots is completed and cut. The number of knots determine the quality of the carpet, the more dense, the more precious the carpet or rug. Both vertical and horizontal looms have been used in the production of European and oriental carpets. There are several styles of knotting, but the two main types of knot are the symmetrical (also called Turkish or Ghiordes) and asymmetrical (also called Persian or Senna). Today knotted carpet production takes place in: Lahore and Peshawar (Pakistan), Kashmir (India / Pakistan), Mirzapur, Bhadohi (India),Tabriz (Iran), Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Turkey, Northern Africa, Nepal, Spain, Turkmenistan, and Tibet.
Flatweave: Created by interlocking warp (vertical) and weft (horizontal) threads. Oriental flatwoven carpet include kilims, soumak, plain weave, and tapestry weave. Types of European flatwoven carpets include Venetian, Dutch, damask,haircloth, and ingrain (aka double cloth, two-ply, triple cloth, or three-ply).
Hooked Rug: Handmade by pulling strips of cloth (wool or cotton) through meshsuch as burlap.
The Beni Ourain style of Moroccan rug has seen a rise in popularity recently but this style of rug was first made popular by Frank Lloyd Wright and Alvar Aalto as early as the 1930's. Alvar Aalto's Mairea house & Frank Lloyd Wright's Falling Water are examples of this. These rugs complment modern and contemporary interiors because of their simplicity and primitive patterns.
Alvar Aaltos Villa Mairea (*2)
The carpets were originally produced by the Beni Ourain Berber people near Taza, Morocco.The tribal patterns are mostly geometric symbols with some organic shapes. The Beni Ouarain rugs may date back as far as the tribes history in the region which is up to one thousand years ago. Traditionally, the rugs were used for warm beds and bedding. The patterns on the rugs depict life in the region with symbols for farming, protection, nature, birth, fertility, tools, and animals. Some believe the rugs themselves are protection against evil spirits.
The majority of this style of rugs are typically made from un-dyed, natural wool, in a white or beige colour with tribal designs in darker brown and black hues using natural dyes, with a pile height of 2-7cm. Below are examples of the typical Beni Ourain rugs found today.
As seen in the charts below, symbols on the rugs depict barley, spiders, frogs, snake and fish skeletons, seeds, metal workers, birds and much more.
Check out my pinterest page for more symbols and images.