The Dying Art of Handmade Rugs

Handmade rugs are an intricate craft. Many rug owners in the U.S. and elsewhere would be astonished to hear the amount of labor that goes into every thread, stitch and knot. This attention of detail may be part of the reason why fewer people are designing and creating hand-woven rugs from scratch these days.

Case in point: this interesting article in which a handmade rug artist discusses the fading community of talented rugmakers. If you are looking for reasons why fewer people are taking to the loom these days, consider this epic description of the process:

The time depends on the size of the rug or kilim — which is a relatively delicate piece compared to a normal rug that is used for the floor — as well as the images and colours. The most important factor is the number of nodes on each [square] centimetre since the mechanism used in hand-made rugs depends on the number of nodes and the more nodes there are, the [thinner the pile]. The most difficult rugs are those with the most nodes, as the number of nodes per square centimetre starts at nine and goes up to 16, 25 and 36. Depending on the number of nodes, a skillful craftsman might need a whole day to make only one square centimetre, especially since each node makes up an important part of the image.

It’s not unusual for a rug maker to spend six months or a year on a single piece—an extraordinary commitment. For an even clearer picture of the difficulty involved, consider this exchange:

Al-Shorfa: Have you ever made two identical pieces?
Abu Hussein: Never. Each hand-made rug is a unique work of art in its own right.

At Catalina Rug, we take great pride in our commitment to handmade rugs from across Persia and the Orient. To learn more, please start your search here.