Posts Tagged ‘carpets’

Cleopatra’s Carpets – Shakespeare Explained.

Monday, July 6th, 2009

The barge she sat on, like a burnished throne Burned on the water. The poop was beaten gold.
Purple the sails, and so perfumed that the winds were lovesick with them.
Cleopatra’s silken bed would have been laid over a large rug or carpet. The ancient Egyptians made rugs out of the materials to hand – in their case, papyrus. They dyed it in bright colours – yellows, reds and blues – and wove floor and wall coverings from it. The word ‘papyrus’ has given us ‘paper’, so would this qualify the Egyptian rugs on the walls as the first ‘wallpaper’?

Carpet & Rug manufacture in Aleppo, Syria

Monday, May 18th, 2009

Getting a carpet made just for yourself is part of a long tradition that is still carried out on a fairly small scale.
A few miles down the road from here, in a small Kurdish town called Affrin, there are women doing just that. In a small factory unit, a few women sit at looms and patiently knot coloured wool by hand onto a backing. Each worker has the design they’re working on placed where he/she can refer to it easily, and the design is worked line by line until the carpet is finished. The designs are traditional ones, Turkish or Persian, and a large carpet can take more than a month of pushing pieces of coloured wool through the back, returning them to the front and knotting them off. It takes a very patient worker to concentrate for that long, though they find time to chat or to sing along with the radio. What they would make of modern patterns I cannot imagine, they are so used to their ancient designs that it would be difficult to get them to try!

Rug Designer uses a different technique to give customers exactly what they want. Instead of the drudgery of pushing the wool through by hand, and the constant referring to the picture of the pattern, the picture is printed on the backing, and the wool is knotted in using a hand machine that does the same job, but easier. Instead of putting in the wool line by line and constantly changing the colours in her hand, the Rug Designer carpet maker fills in each colour on the rug, rather like the Painting By Numbers set you had as a child. The difference is that she never gets the colours mixed up, or goes over the lines, as you used to do!

The new method has produced a new type of worker. They expect to finish a rug in days rather than weeks, and have a much brisker, more professional attitude to work. If the customer wants traditional, they’ll do that. However if another customer has ordered something completely different, they enjoys the contrast.