In the creation of a Tibetan-Nepalese rug, the means at which each step is accomplished now has some level of machine assistance. However, it is common for manual methods such as hand-carding or hand-spinning to still be employed.
The primary material used in the construction of a Tibetan-Nepalese rug is wool sourced from highland sheep, who roam the Tibetan plateau at elevations of 10,000 feet above sea level. The sheep’s high-lanolin coats are noted for their long, thick locks which create the plush lustrous look for which our rugs have long been renowned.
The Phoenix Weave (“PW” for short) is a patented process encompassing all phases of construction which was developed by Tamarian in 2014. Using unique spinning, dyeing, and weaving methods, the PW process creates a textural rug that exudes luxurious comfort. The Phoenix weave has become our bestselling quality and is perfect for versatile placement anywhere in the home.
The following is a general explanation of how our Tibetan-Nepalese rugs are made.
Rug production takes place in neighborhoods around the Boudhanath Stupa, a revered cultural and holy site for Tibetans and Nepalese alike, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Although many designs evolve from patterns, paintings, drawings and photos, artists digitally convert designs to a digital format, using software to find the ideal blend of detail and efficiency for the weaver. The final graph is printed at full scale on a digital plotter, and a team member paints the cartoon, which informs the weaver where to switch which yarns.
Wool is separated by hand, singling out the lightest natural staple, which is best to receive the dye. The darker wool is set aside for deep browns and black colors. The wool is then carded, which removes impurities and straightens and lengthens the fibers by passing them through varied carding implements made of metal pins. Think of it as brushing out tangled hair.
The fibers are drawn and twisted together to create the yarn through various stages of refinement until the required quality and thickness are met.
Dye experts use age-old pot dyeing techniques to enhance the material’s natural boldness and luster, while preserving colorfastness. For ideal color saturation and consistency, wool bundles, also known as hanks or skeins are submerged and simmered with Swiss-manufactured Optilan dyes.
After skeins are dyed and dried, the wool is carefully wound into balls the size of a large grapefruit, which allows for easy handling by the weavers.
The rug is woven on an upright loom. Following along the full-scale graph, the weaver ties each Tibetan Senneh knot around two warp threads and then loops the yarn around a metal rod. When an entire row of knots is completed, the loops are cut from the rod, exposing the rug’s pile. When weaving is complete and secured with twining, the rug is cut from the loom.
The rug is washed several times with plain water, light soap, and bleach; and then sun dried to bring out the desired hues and tones, while retaining the wool’s natural lanolin sheen. Stretched and sized, the rug is nudged into its final measurements and shape.
The rug is bound by wrapping yarn around the warp on the side edges. Typically, the fringe ends of the rug are bound and disappear. This is a frequent practice in contemporary rug weaving. The surface of the rug is then sheared and trimmed meticulously by hand with scissors. Shearing levels the surface to the desired consistency, and trimming brings out the details of the motifs. The rug is now ready to be packaged for shipping.