Art In Craft
Each product is a labour of love, they all have a story of their own; a story to treasure and keep.
Each rug is created entirely from sheeps’ wool, traditionally camel wool and goat hair (originally hand-spun). Weavers use leaves, roots, bark, flowers, and fruits from their surroundings to dye the yarns used for weaving. I found the reds and brown colours to be most fascinating. These are made from Lac, an insect extract found on local trees such as neem and babul. Varying hues of blues and greens are made from indigo.
Once the wool is dyed and dry, it is ready to weave. The age-old loom is used today. It’s a basic horizontal loom with two rods pegged securely to the ground on opposite sides and can be set up anywhere. The distance between two rods is determined by the size of the rug to be woven. A strong, taut warp is created on the frame, then the weaving can begin.
Traditionally, the warp yarn was created out of milkweed plant (caltrop), which grows in the wild. The bush would be cut, dried, spun into yarn that could withstand the tight warping and heavy beating while weaving. Today, artisans use a 6-ply cotton thread as the warp.
For weaving, alternate threads are lifted by hand to create a shed, through which the woolen weft is inserted and interlaced with the warp to create different patterns. The weft is packed tightly using a wooden beating implement called a hatho.
Kharad technically uses a tapestry-like technique to create patterns from the back. Weavers keep a mirror under the loom to check the designs as they are being woven.
It is fascinating to watch the artisans weave, doing all the complex calculations in their minds without any blueprints with their memory . It is a labour of love and what comes from it are products that each have a story — a story to treasure and keep.