There is so much to love about the Tibetan people and their culture. Since their culture is a very spiritual one, they are a people with big, helpful hearts. When you meet Tibetans, they go out of their way to help you and do everything in their power to make your visit a comfortable one. They bring you, the visitor, gifts. And they make you feel like family. When Mao and the communist government of China invaded Tibet, many Tibetans fled to Nepal. Because of this and the Chinese restrictions on the Tibetans, the rugs we refer to as Tibetan are actually woven in Nepal. They have not lost the feel or reflection of their amazing culture, though. Tibetan rugs have a unique look. A lot of the credit for this goes to the Tibetan sheep. Their wool is among the best in the world. Extreme cold and other environmental factors have led to genetic improvements in the wool, making it denser and longer than other sheep wool. These attributes give Tibetan rugs a greatly improved performance and a genuinely gorgeous finish.
Tibetan wool is hand spun. This is an art form unto itself. When wool is hand spun, there are variations in thickness. The tighter the spin, the thinner the strand of yarn. These irregularities are very desirable; the yarn accepts dye in differing densities, thus giving the yarn the variations in color that give it depth and character. At this point in the process, modern technology comes into play. Designs are done on CAD/CAM machines, which allow designs and colors to be changed quickly. This is the only part of the process that has been modernized. The actual loom drawings, from which the weavers work, are all still painted by hand. Each square on the grid is one knot. Dye masters are revered in Tibetan culture. Their expertise insures the accuracy of dying, which in turn insures the consistency of color needed. Tibetan weaving is totally unique from other Oriental weaving styles. The knots are wrapped around a rod before being sheared. The weft goes over the top of the knots, which are then pounded into place, which holds the rug together. These steps are repeated over and over until the rug is completed.
Once the rug is completed, it is washed. This is where the finish is honed. Washing produces the shine and velvet-like finish we love to see and touch. For us, the advantage of weaving in Nepal is the ability to design and make one rug at a time. We can change any color or size for a customer’s needs. Each Tibetan rug that is made for one of our customers is truly unique, a rug made just for them and no one else. Normal weaving time is 3 – 4 months, with no extra cost for any of the customization. Made using the same materials and techniques used for centuries, this is truly a green product.