the art of rug making, through an inspiring trip to india with loloi
Published Mar 7, 2016 5:00 AM
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text by SHANI SILVER photos & caption courtesy of LOLOI
One of the reasons we love Loloi’s aesthetic is that there’s a certain element of thoughtfulness to their designs. A consciousness, a sense of purpose in bringing something beautiful into your home. It shouldn’t surprise you then that we were fascinated to learn actually how these rugs are brought to life.
We were lucky enough to get a window into the Loloi rug process, and share it here with you. Follow Loloi’s journey through India, where rugs are still hand crafted by artisans who aren’t simply earning a living, but they’re carrying on a legacy as well. Think looms, not machines, and weavers, not engineers. And don’t be surprised if it inspires exploration of your own.
INSPIRATION Whether it’s a woman draped in a colorful shawl or a bright blue door, the environment in rural India teems with design inspiration.
ARTISANS Artisans in India are technically skilled, passionate, and proud of their craft. As mentioned above, weaving is not just a livelihood but a preservation of a proud legacy. Most artisans come from weaving communities in rural India, where the culture of rug-making is central to their identity and their way of life.
During trips to India, Owner and Head Designer, Amir Loloi, sits for hours with the artisans, sipping tea and trading ideas. Before you can begin designing a rug, you really have to gain an understanding of the construction. What are the possibilities? What are the limitations? How will it take color? We lean on the artisans to inform us of these things.
In other words, they’re not just executing blueprints of designs we provide them. They’re a strong voice in creating them.
YARN PREPARATION Transforming raw wool into freshly dyed yarn is no easy feat. Wool is first received in big bales, still spotted and full of greens from the pasture. It’s up to a skilled spinning specialist to card and hand-spin the wool–a process that transforms the wool into long twisted strands.
These yarns are loosely tied together into bundles called skeins. The skeins are then hung into metal wheels that rotate and repeatedly dip into a a pool of dye.
After the yarn is dyed, row after row is draped with hanging yarn, like shirts on a laundry line. Once they’re dry, they’ll be ready for the loom.
HAND-KNOTTING Hand-knotting rugs is a slow and very meticulous art. As the word “knotting” implies, artisans are literally weaving individual knots one by one. It’s not uncommon, for example, for two weavers two work on the same rug all day and only accomplish a few square inches. Because precision is so important, they refer to a hand drawn map that essentially orchestrates where each design element and color should go. The map is a blueprint of the design our team of artists has created in Dallas.
Hand-knotted rugs have long been considered the cream of the crop and for good reason–the durability, beauty, and quality is second to no other rug construction.
HAND-TUFTING Hand-tufting is a labor-intensive process involving the use of a tufting “gun” that punches the yarn through a canvas backing. Like hand-knotted rugs, the artisan follows a hand drawn map that shows where each design element and color should go.
HAND WEAVING Hand woven rugs are also (obviously) made by hand, but they employ a different technique that influences the texture, quality, and price. The technique involves looping the weft (the fiber that runs left to right) through the warp (the foundational fiber that runs up and down on the loom). As the image reveals, it’s a very meticulous craft.
THE FINAL TOUCHES After a rug comes off the loom, there’s still quite a bit of work to be done. After months of weaving, the result is carefully washed with a mild detergent on both sides using wooden paddles called “pharwas” and then laid to dry under the Indian sun.Once dry, the rugs are brought back inside, where a skilled specialist shears imperfections from the pile with nothing but a pair of scissors to ensure an even, smooth pile. As a final step, a rug is stitched onto four sides of a metal frame to stretch the fiber evenly (when a rug comes off the loom, it’s often jagged on the edges).
Once dry, the rugs are brought back inside, where a skilled specialist shears imperfections from the pile with nothing but a pair of scissors to ensure an even, smooth pile. As a final step, a rug is stitched onto four sides of a metal frame to stretch the fiber evenly (when a rug comes off the loom, it’s often jagged on the edges).
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