DNA of a Rug

Posted by Roddy Yazdanpour on

Most rug weaving happens in villages - small workshops, farm houses - in agricultural settings. Yarns are dirty to begin with; un-rinsed dye, seeds, burrs, dirt from the floor. Just taken from the loom a newly woven rug is filthy. The backs are fuzzy. The fronts so shaggy you can barely see the design. A producer friend used to say that the rug on the loom had the DNA - materials, dye, design - but that the final result was about the finishing. Like cutting a diamond. Turns out you can weave rugs with the same 'DNA', finish them differently, and end up with completely different looking results.'Finishing' is not just washing. Even what producers call washing, is not just washing. Because the processes used are so integral to the final look of the rug, they are almost always proprietary. Producers don't like to talk about this stuff; there's no gain in discussing their secrets. 'Finish washing' is like making sausage. You don't want the customer to see you doing it. Fire and shearing machines are used to remove excess fiber. Powerful wash chemicals - bleach, caustic soda, strong acids - are used to rinse excess dye, soften color, increase luster. Ask a producer and he'll tell you his rugs were delivered by fairies. "They are naturally shiny because the wool is so good". Work in production for a while and you'll know it isn't so. There is a lot to be learned about rugs - and rug cleaning - by understanding how rugs get made.

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