Oriental Rug Seminar with Ten Thousand Villages

The specifics involved in making each and every rug are part of a tradition unique to each artisan. There are however common steps involved in the overall process. Typically, a master designer draws the design of the rug onto sketch paper, which creates a special rug language known as the 'Talam'. This can take weeks and each colour gets a symbol that indicates the number of knots. The design, which is inspired by nature, architecture, or the artisan's heritage is then painted with watercolours. The rug is knotted while on the loom in the artisans's home. An expert knotter can knot up to 40 knots per minute. There are some rugs that have over 900 knots per square inch! Once the rugs are complete, they are transferred for cleaning and finishing, which involves numerous steps and takes another several weeks!

Friday's event at Dix Mille Villages

Friday's event at Dix Mille Villages

The evening was so informative, I had no idea so much went into making these rugs! Did you know a large 9x12 rug with several colours will take a family over one year to complete?! Artisans are guaranteed a fair wage to ensure they can support their family, send their children to school, and have a safe place to live. This fair wage also allows the artisan creative freedom (they make all the creative and technical decisions) - speed is never a factor in making these rugs, as the artisans are paid per knot. Bunyaad rugs have a higher knot count because of the finer wool that is used, allowing for smaller and tighter knots, thus resulting in a higher quality rug! Due to the high quality of dyes (Over 40% of the rugs are made with natural dyes made from tree bark, roots, vegetable skins, dried flowers, nutshells, and even dried bugs!) the rugs don't fade over time and any spills can easily be cleaned. One of the store's employees noted that she spilled red wine on one of the oriental rugs and only cleaned it MONTHS later!

Below are some of the amazing rugs that are available in the store. Every Fall Dix Mille Villages (located in Pointe-Claire Village) has a special rug event where you can find tons of rugs in the store! This year's event is ending on October 30th.

The rug below was so unique with it's shape and the colour was stunning!

This pink and purple oriental rug would be perfect a girl's room!

Up close the colours were amazing!

There were tons of runners available as well in an array of colours.

The rug below was so unique! The black and royal blue looked great with all the other colours.

Another bold rug with virtually every colour

Close up details of a primarily green 3 x 5 rug.

Loved the colours in this one!

Another bold option.....

There were so many to choose from! Did you know that one of the final steps in making these rugs involves burning the bottom?! The lanolin (which is something in the wool) prevents the rug from being damaged.

The rug below was my favourite. It was a 3 x 5 rug with primarily neutral colours and a hint of soft pink and charcoal black. 

The ends are even finished differently depending on the technique of the artisan.

Overall, this was a really great event that explored the entire rug making process for artisans in Pakistan. If you wish to learn more, check out Ten Thousand Villages's website here or visit the Pointe Claire store in Montreal's West Island before October 30th!