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Archive for July, 2010

THE REAL STORY BEHIND TURKISH RUGS

July 1st, 2010 No comments

Everyone who comes to Turkey and has seen authentic Turkish rugs covets one, but we had never given much thought to how they were made until recently in the tiny seaside village of Cokertme we encountered a family run business that makes all wool rugs using the same materials, designs and hand process that produced the first such rugs.   After first removing our shoes, we were invited inside to see exactly what that entails.

A family run business under a colorful tent

A family run business under a colorful tent

Local sheep are sheared by farmers (probably related to the rug makers–the farmers, not the sheep) who sell the wool, seen below in its natural state. 

Local sheep are sheared to produce the wool

Local sheep are sheared to produce the wool

Next the wool is tediously combed by hand creating fluffy balls that are gently held on the end of a wooden spindle from which tiny strands are deftly hand spun into yarn that is then rolled into a skein. 

Hand twisting the yarn

Hand twisting the yarn

Once the yarn is spun, it is dyed using natural dyes from indigenous plants. 

Yarn is hand dyed with natural dyes from flowers and herbs

Yarn is hand dyed with natural dyes from flowers and herbs

No two rugs are identical even though the patterns may be duplicated since the dye lots for the yarn vary. 

Patterns are taken from old rugs

Patterns are taken from old rugs

The rugs are woven into patterns duplicated from old rug designs that have been around for hundreds of years, and passed down in similar manner.  The day we were there no weaving was being done since they were waiting for a batch of  yarn to finish the dyeing process. 

Rugs on looms waiting for more yarn

Rugs on looms waiting for more yarn

We received a brief introduction to quality rug construction from a young woman, very fluent in English, who warned that a truly “all wool” rug should include wool “warp” (lengthwise yarn) and “weft” (crosswise yarn) as well as “pile” (vertical yarn woven through).  So those hand woven “orientals” on Destiny which clearly have cotton warp and weft don’t qualify—somehow we already knew it.

A sample of the finished product--this rug was 3,500 TL or about 1,700 euros

A sample of the finished product--this rug was 3,500 TL or about 1,700 euros

The finished product is based on hundreds of hours of loving labor, and well worth the price being asked, which while not inexpensive was by US standards a bargain.

We didn’t leave with a rug that day, but then we haven’t left Turkey either.  There is definitely a rug in our future, but finding it will be half the fun. . .our rug education has begun!

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