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Rug Weaving is a centuries old practice of taking strands of material and stretching them over long vertical poles then weaving, knotting or tufting them into a flat one piece fabric. Before the help of machinery, this process was always done by hand. Skilled rug-makers (mainly women) would take a very long time to complete just one piece since it was so labor intensive.
As we became more developed as a society these skills were replaced with technology and machinery and these rugs became mass-produced in factories.
For countries such as India, that are not considered first world, this progress comes with a price.
Although most societies can adapt to these changes, poorer countries have a difficult time. The reason is that in rural areas, these trades are the lifeblood of the community. The loss of demand for hand made rugs is putting a strain on the micro economies. Losing financial independence is not good. We see how that is taking a toll on families' lives in our own country now.
How one company is reviving the dying art of Rug Making while making a positive impact on people’s lives.
Founded in 1978 by NK Chaudhary, Jaipur Rugs' purpose is to create not only beautiful rugs, but also beautiful lives! They do this by training and employing men and women in small communities to make these wonderful handcrafted pieces. The Jaipur System, as it is known, helps provide a sustainable livelihood, which in turn, helps their families and communities. 85% of the people who work in this system are women.
The benefits of the program are that a lot of these women go on to become Weave Designers or Community Leaders. Many have prestigious national awards for their designs.
It can be summed up in NK’s quote: “Let Goodness, Fairness and most importantly – LOVE, prevail in business, profits will inevitably follow.”
Today Jaipur (based just outside of Atlanta, Georgia) has over 40,000 artisans in over 600 villages in India. Not only do they provide an economic benefit to the artisans but they are also partnering with many in the industry to become innovators in the design world. Using new textures, modern color and patterns in their hand crafted rugs creates a product that blends both the old and the new.
Hand crafted rugs can be constructed in 3 ways as per Jaipur Living:
1) Hand Knotted - Individual knots are hand tied on a vertical loom, one row at a time by experienced artisans. These take almost 300 days to make so because of the time, these rugs can be expensive but are considered a one-of-a-kind piece.
2) Hand Tufted - Yarn is hand-punched through a pre-woven fabric with a specialized tufting gun. This is still hand made but with the help of tools, the construction time is shorter and the rugs are less expensive. These rugs offer great value for the quality.
3) Hand Woven - Hand-woven or hand-loomed rugs are made on hand-operated looms where weavers use a rod to shoot the fibers vertically across the length of the rug. This should be the process that comes to mind when you hear the term ‘Hand Woven’ as it may have been featured on TV shows or magazines as the most popular construction type.
For more details, see Jaipur Living’s Rugs 101 page here:
Keep in mind, no matter what type of Jaipur rug – any handcrafted rug requires a skilled artisan and all are beautiful! Not only are Indian rugs in high demand for their great quality, the industry there is recognizing their contributions.
As per Wikipedia:
“The carpet industry in India has been successful in establishing social business models that help underprivileged sections of the society. Notable examples of social entrepreneurship ventures are Jaipur rugs.”
Here at SoftLoft.com we are proud to offer Jaipur Rugs to our customers. The rugs are soft and luxurious and made with Love! Here are some of our favorites from the Genesis collection.
As always, be sure to check out our extensive range of products on our site.