Each rug or carpet that is created at the Kalra’s Cottage Industry, speaks for itself. It tells a tale on it’s own, of the land it comes from, of the people who meticulously weave it, of the home it’s going to… It is inspiration that drives creation, and the final rug has a life in colour, of its own!
And hence we say, take a piece of Heritage, Home !
Indian carpets are well known for the wide variety of colours they are available in. Each colour in a design signifies something, and when blended with material and designs, they have the ability to complete a product. At the beginning of the 20th century, nature was the most important source of dyes and subtle yet attractive colours. Madder, which grows almost everywhere, was the most important colourant of vegetable origin. It’s root provided the whole range of pinks and reds while the green came from the grass and brown originated from the kikar tree. This gave the weaver a specified bracket of colours. But today, all types of natural & artificial dyes are used, leaving the pattern and the final outcome to the weaver’s imagination!
Pattern in a carpet is as much an integral part of the carpet as colouring. The Indian carpet weaver freed carpets from the limitation of space, repeated intricate and infinite patterns in an ordered symmetry and wove abstract symbols into dense ornamentation. The figurative was combined with the geometric and floral with the arabesque. We follow a very specific procedure, drawing his designs and transferring them to graph paper on which each square represents a single knot. Then the paper is divided into varying parts depending on whether the pattern is intended for the centre medallion or for a part of a repeated pattern. These sheets of paper are then passed on to the knitting workshop. The other manner followed by the weavers of Kashmir and Amritsar is the ‘Talim’ which demands time and experience.
A coded colour chart indicates the number of knots to be woven in their respective colours. The master-weaver reads aloud from it and the weavers follow his directions carefully. The colours and number of knots to be woven are indicated by signs. The master-weaver winds the warp around the loom and begins chanting the ‘Talim’ and the knitters chant their reply after carrying out the in-struction.
Weaving the Magic
The loom gives shape to the carpet-weaver’s creative expressions. One of the most commonly used looms in India is the roller-beam loom. The simplest of these looms has two horizontal wooden beams between which the warp threads are stretched, one beam is in front of the weaver, and the other is behind the first. As the knotting proceeds, the carpet is rolled to the back of the loom. The weaver begins by weaving a selvedge and several shoots of weft are passed to form a narrow band to secure the knots at the end of the carpet.
The Indian carpet weaver uses the asymmetrical or Persian knot which is tied with a strand of Yarn around two adjacent warp threads, leaving some threads free at either side for the lateral selvedges. Each knot is separated by a loop that is cut after the next shot of weft. This knot is also called the ‘two-handed knot’ as it can be executed both from right to left and from left to right. The process is more widespread as it is more rapid.
Giving the Final Touch
Washing of a carpet is done to bring sheen and lustre, therefore, it is as important as colouring, designing and weaving. This is the final stage of carpet weaving and hence requires a lot of careful handling. Before washing, the carpet goes through the stage of burning the back of the carpet, rubbing with wired brush and berai to make it even. Washing is done with water mixed with soap, bleaching powder and other natural chemicals.
After washing, the carpet is kept in the sunlight for drying and then it is sent for clipping. The final appearance of a carpet comes after clipping and chemical finishing. The art of clipping reflects on the emboss-like finish in the final carpet. Finishing is a meticulous process which requires skillful craftsmanship and is done piece by piece in all of the KCI hand knotted carpets.