Art Underfoot - Rugs
Words by Natasha Were.
Quite when skilled artisans in Iran, India, Afghanistan and Turkey first began to weave fine threads into beautiful floor coverings is not known, but the rugs produced in these eastern lands have been traded around the world for centuries.
Woven on upright looms, with every knot meticulously tied by hand – a good quality rug has between 100 and 400 knots per square inch and it takes months, if not years, to complete a rug. The final product though, is a work of art in its own right.
Of course, one can purchase a mass-produced rug for a fraction of the cost of a genuine oriental rug, but the cheap-and-cheerful synthetic versions are simply no match in terms of quality, durability or environmental sensitivity. Hand woven rugs are made from 100% silk or wool, coloured with natural, nontoxic dyes, are easily washable and incredibly hard-wearing.
Oriental rugs are inherently traditional in pattern and colour, but do these age-old designs have a place in contemporary Caribbean homes?
“People often think that a modern home requires a modern rug,” Diana Quin of Rugs Oriental observes. “But traditional pieces can look equally at home in a contemporary house or office.”
Cold floors may not be an issue in a tropical climate, but a rug still lends an additional layer of warmth and texture to a room and is gently soundproofing by absorbing the echoing of hard heels on stone floors.
In minimalist, modern interiors a traditional rug can bring colour and pattern into what might otherwise be a bland, featureless space. Choose bright, bold kilims to inject life and verve into a space - or go the other way and look for the muted tones of an antique rug, to add a soft air of faded grandeur.
Whether it’s the starting point of the design or something chosen later to fit into it, by matching the colours of a rug to the pillows,
drapes and accessories, a well-chosen rug really ties a room together.
If you thought owning a quality oriental rug meant bringing those traditional, highly stylised, elaborate motifs into your clean, uncluttered home, think again.
“The amount of innovation in the rug industry these days is phenomenal,” says Andrew Ledger of Rugs Oriental. “People think ‘traditional’ means old-fashioned but new techniques, colours, materials and finishes are breathing new life into ancient patterns
Taking it a step further, innovative software developments are now making it possible for rug makers to create new designs, according to individual wishes. The customised carpet then, could exhibit all the qualities of a traditional hand woven rug, whilst telling an entirely personal story.
With their timeless appeal and unparalleled quality, hand woven rugs are perhaps the one accessory no home should go without. Beyond lasting a lifetime, a quality rug will become an heirloom, a prized family keepsake to be handed down through the generations.
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