FROM LOOM TO ROOM

Alex Rees (Rugs of Petworth owner) in Bhadohi India.

Alex Rees (Rugs of Petworth owner) in Bhadohi India.

AN ANCIENT, ARTISAN CRAFT THAT STILL EXISTS & INSPIRES

Every rug & carpet in the showroom is entirely handcrafted and individually selected by us at source across Asia. Each of these beautiful, handmade 'modern classics 'is personally selected by Alex who regularly travels to Asia to meet the dealers and skilled artisans who often spend years on designing, weaving and meticulously hand finishing a single piece. 

 

 

How are rugs made?

The art of rug weaving has survived for centuries across the Asian weaving belt even though it's harder and harder to source traditional and pure rug craft making due to new modern techniques, designs, and synthetic materials. What was once an honourable occupation seems to be slowly being forgotten by younger generations. Our commitment towards traditional rug making and true craftsmanship is not meant just to provide high quality products to our customers, but also to help preserve this ancient craft that still inspires today. 

 
 

WOOL PREPARATION

The most common raw material used for handmade carpet production is sheep's wool.  Herds from cold, remote areas, often at high altitudes often yield the highest quality yarns.  Discerning carpet producers seek out the most suitable wool required for a particular style of carpet.

Wool preparation begins with the sheering of the fleece, sorting by hand, washing at high temperature, carding, spinning and dying. Producers must decide whether to hand or mill spin the wool, each giving a different final finish in the carpet. Hand spun wool, taking the dye less evenly due to it's bobblyed twisted nature, gives a beautiful and consistent mottled effect when woven, although is more expensive to produce.

WEAVING

There are two main types of rug weaving methods:

Hand knotted - pile carpets.  Here, each knot is individually tied to the underlying warp threads, before being cut by hand with a curved knife.  This results in a knot at the base and a tuft of wool which forms the pile.  Hand knotting is a highly skilful and extremely lengthy process -- a 12' x 9' carpet can take 12 months to produce.

Hand woven - kilims or flat weaves.  The flat woven carpet is still a manual, hand craft, only as the weave is largely continuous within each block of colour, the process typically takes weeks rather than months  The designs are usually more limited is scope, and they take a much more rustic, charming appearance.

WASHING

The carpet, once cut from the loom is in a pretty raw state, with a long pile, fuzzy design and usually full of dust and in need of a wash!  The first wash is to clean the yarn thoroughly, often adding a conditioner to prepare the yarn for the finishing steps to follow.

Completely soaked wet, the carpet has water driven through it by several wooden paddles simultaneously and this can be repeated many times before drying.

The carpet can be washed and dried several more times in between finishing steps, depending on the final desired appearance, with a finishing manager taking decisions individually on each carpet.   

FINISHING

Finishing processes are lengthy and completely manual and include:

•Clipping the pile
•Straightening the rows of knots (by sliding them row by row down the warp threads)
•Sharpening the clarity, by lifting mixed yarn using a long blade
•Stretching
•Tying off fringes
•Binding the selvedges
•Burning lose fibre from the back

SOURCING & SELECTING

Our carpet buyer, Alex Rees, selects each rug and carpet for the showroom in the country of origin, making strong relationships with ethical producers and suppliers who place craftsmanship at the heart of their outlook.

Carpets are selected one by one, cherry picking the best examples of pieces available as excellent examples of their type.  

Alex buys in Turkey, Iran, Pakistan (including Afghan produce) and India.

DELIGHTING

Our outlook is in two directions - to the looms on which these carpets and created, and to the rooms in which they will delight their new owners.

To this end we are able to advise on how best to furnish with rugs and carpets, from measuring up to style and colour advice.

There are many ways to use rugs to enhance your home, the best piece of advice we give is - furnish from the floor up  Start by choosing a carpet you love that is a suitable size, from their you'll find it much easier to create the room you want by sourcing fabrics, paint colours, accents etc.  A handmade carpet is a mood board for the whole room.