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I’m Concerned About The Accuracy of a Rug’s Colors on your Website!

Posted on November 11, 2018 by Susan Brouwer
Probably the very biggest factor affecting the color of a rug is the fact that they are made of fiber, actually three-dimensional fiber, which absorbs and reflects light in many different ways, depending on the lighting. The photos of our rugs were all taken pretty much in a studio setting under photographic lighting that mimics natural light as much as possible. A rug may appear different in color or brightness than it might in your home. We try for accuracy of representation as much as possible.

There are two ways you as the customer might put your mind at ease about color. One is to ask if we can provide another photo, perhaps a photo taken of the rug on a cement floor in the warehouse. Not the most flattering situation or lighting, but it would give you more information! The other way would be to order a smaller rug if you’re thinking of a large piece. We pay shipping to the customer; the customer pays to ship the rug back (within 30 days). That way the shipping expense is reduced if the colors aren’t right for the room. (In some cases we don’t have small sizes: either none are in stock are the rug isn’t made in a small size.)

Please get in touch about any concerns you have and we’ll do whatever we can to provide information, more photos, our personal feedback about any rug we have.

Don't see the perfect rug on our site? Send us a note or give us a call at 877-817-0246 -- we're up to the challenge!

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Traditional Techniques - New Interpretations

Posted on December 18, 2012 by Susan Brouwer
Several of the rug producers we represent paved the way in the world of present-day rug weaving making rugs exactly as they have been for hundreds of years.  Some of them are made to look old but haven't been distressed with chemicals or other methods that compromise the wool. Their production has been centered in Pakistan (and now Afghanistan as well) where rug making had been in the doldrums for at least 20 years: very few rug qualities, hardly any innovation, repetition of the same designs, and no handspun wool or vegetable dyes. There was a huge migration of refugees from Afghanistan to southern Pakistan beginning in the 1980s. These refugees took their sophisticated weaving techniques with them into Pakistan where the infrastructure for rug weaving and business acumen already existed. According to Jack Simantov, one of our suppliers,"I think more than any other country in any other time, these two cultures have come together and complemented each other to the benefit of the rug industry."

The rugs being produced with the best traditional techniques range from traditional to transitional to modern. They all have the character and appeal of rugs made with handspun wool and natural dyes. Don't see the perfect rug on our site? Send us a note or give us a call at 877-817-0246 -- we'd love to help you find it!

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Our Rugs Are Good For Your Health!

Posted on December 17, 2012 by Susan Brouwer

Well, that may be a bit overblown! On the other hand, a good wool rug insulates your home and keeps you warmer in the winter, so you need to use less artificial heat in your home. They also absorb sound, which will help you to be more cozy and relaxed, right?

But the main point I'd like to make here is that quality, handknotted rugs are made entirely of materials found in nature, so they emit no toxic fumes or chemicals, unlike the rugs constructed with glues -- such as "hand" tufted rugs -- or using chemicals, such as in polypropylene rugs or machine-made rugs. 

All of our rugs are constructed of high-quality, untreated wool knotted onto a cotton warp (the threads put on the loom that become the fringe at each end, which is often bound under so it's not visible -- but it's there).

I've had customers who complain of "environmental allergies" who have dramatic reactions to chemicals in their environments. Most of us, however, are not really aware of such allergies. However, we are exposed to so many questionable chemical products every day, and we may have no idea how that really affects our health and long-term wellbeing.

An all-natural, hand knotted rug is more expensive (usually) than one of the cheaper types of rugs, but if we think of buying a wonderful rug as purchasing a piece of art that we'll love forever, that may help with the decision to buy a wool, hand knotted rug that really is good for your health!

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Should I use a "good" rug in my kitchen or bathroom?

Posted on December 09, 2012 by Susan Brouwer
After many years of hearing from customers who have hesitated to put down a handknotted rug in their kitchens or bathrooms -- and from my own personal experience -- I can report wholeheartedly that you will find that a handmade wool rug is the most practical, and beautiful, answer for kitchens and baths.

Practicality: Obviously, the kitchen floors of those of us who actually cook are the recipients of daily spills and droppings, as well as lots of traffic. A high-end wool rug is the most practical choice because of the density of the wool pile and also because of the quality of the wool. Sphaghetti sauce? Wine? Dogs? Take a rag or dishcloth with soapy water, bend down and clean it up. Voila! I have yet to encounter a spill that doesn't come right out with soapy water (which I follow up with clean water if it's a largish spill).

In bathrooms where there is shower water going on to the floor on a daily basis, a gorgeous wool rug is also a highly practical choice. Handmade rugs, like anything, should be allowed to dry in between wettings, so if you step out onto the rug from your shower or bath, we recommend using a bath mat over the rug, then hanging the bath mat up to dry.

More fun considerations: There's nothing that brings a room alive more than a wonderful rug on the floor. Think about it: a $39 rug from Home Depot, a thin hooked or tufted rug from Crate and Barrel...or a dense, beautiful and interesting rug that has the character and beauty of a wonderful handknotted rug? Even the more generic kitchen or bathroom can come alive with a great handknotted rug on the floor!

I've had people come in to my store just to tell me, "I can't believe it. That rug in my kitchen has been so great. The spills just sit on the surface and it's easy to clean up -- and I get to look at it sparkle in my kitchen every day!"

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Creative Matters and LabelStep

Posted on December 01, 2012 by Susan Brouwer
Creative Matters is a company based in Toronto, Canada, that is comprised of only women, all of whom have a background in textiles, the arts, or related fields. Together they have "created" (designed and produced) world-class Tibetan, very modern, very beautiful and very distinct rugs. These rugs go way beyond their superlative designs: most of them are a blend of Tibetan wool with Chinese silk that are combined in a complex and labor-intensive process that results in a rug that is refined and elegant but also very "organic" in its look and feel. The deceptively simple results are skillfully crafted and beautifully rendered works of art for your floor.

We are so pleased to be able to present these rugs to our customers. Not only does the owner of a Rug For All Reasons relate strongly to an all-woman company (being an independent woman herself!); it is our intention to carry the best rugs being produced, and Creative Matters certainly fills the bill there.

In addition, Creative Matters is a company of people who genuinely feel a sense of responsibility for promoting environmentally friendly production methods as well as concern for the wellbeing of the people who are involved in the hands-on process of making their rugs. Here is a quote from Creative Matters:

"We believe in the ethical treatment of the weavers and artisans who create our beautiful rugs overseas. It was these beliefs that lead us to support Label STEP and we are very proud to announce that we are Label STEPS’ first North American Partner."

LabelSTEP is an organization that’s committed to improving weavers' living conditions, working conditions and ensure fair wages. It also promotes environmentally friendly production methods. Label Step is systematically monitoring the production sites of its licensees and their suppliers, and takes measures to ensure fair conditions.

Label STEP operates at the local level in all major carpet-producing countries - Afghanistan, India, Iran, Kyrgyzstan, Morocco, Nepal, Pakistan and Turkey. A portion of the sale of every rug we have made in Nepal goes to support this organization.

For more about LabelSTEP, also see www.label-step.org

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The Tibet Rug Company

Posted on October 31, 2012 by Susan Brouwer
The Tibet Rug Company is a joint venture between a Salt Lake rug company and a cooperative of Tibetan refugees in Kathmandu, Nepal. Long a production of Tibetan rugs woven in Nepal, the Tibet Rug Company now also produces sturdy, well-made Soumaks woven in India of 100% New Zealand wool on a cotton warp.

The Tibet Rug Company holds a special place in our hearts for several reasons. We love their rugs, which are contemporary while being light-hearted and earthy at the same time. While the quality of the rugs is very high, their designs work well in so many of our more casual homes.

We also are very fond of the people who work for the Tibet Rug Company and who we have known for years. Their spirit and enthusiasm makes them a joy to work with.

In addition to his Tibetan rug project, the owner of Tibet Rug Company, Jim Webber, was instrumental in the founding of a non-profit organization whose principal purpose is to build teaching hospitals for reconstructive surgery in Nepal. 
Caring donors have given more than $400,000 to the Cleft and Burn Center. The mission statement of the organization is as follows: "To deliver quality, deformity-correcting reconstructive surgery to the poorest of the poor of Nepal through a permanent, sustainable healthcare infrastructure." Learn more about the Nepal Cleft and Burn Center -- donations welcome!

The process that results in a handknotted rug is time and labor-intensive. In the case of Tibetan rugs, the raw wool is brought into Nepal from Tibet, where sheep live at high altitudes in extreme conditions that result in some of the finest wool in the world. Rich in lanolin, this wool boasts of very strong fibers. Once in Nepal, the wool is washed and hand spun. Hand spinning is a much more expensive and time-consuming process than machine spinning, but it has two distinct advantages. Hand spinning breaks down fewer fibers of wool, so the end result is a stronger fiber and longer wearing wool. Hand spun wool also has an irregular diameter so it takes up the dyes in an irregular manner, which gives the rug character and a more interesting texture.

After the wool is dyed, the rugs are "knotted" by hand on cotton warps, using looms and techniques that haven't changed since the weaving of Tibetan rugs began several centuries ago. A 4- x 6-foot rug requires approximately 250 hours to complete. The hand knotting process and the superb quality of the wool produce a rug that will last for generations, under normal wear and circumstances.

See our Tibet Rug Company rugs.

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Woven Legends and the Rug Renaissance

Posted on October 30, 2012 by Susan Brouwer

Harald Bohmer, who launched a rug renaissance in the 1980s with the introduction of natural dyes to modern rugs, was a German student who studied in Turkey. He fell in love with the country, and his interest in rugs and dyes became a passion. When he learned of a method for analyzing the dyes in fabrics (thin-layer chromatography), he began a methodical investigation into the dyes in Turkish rugs. He learned what natural dyestuffs rugmakers had used 100 years earlier, before the dyer’s art had been lost, and how these artisans had used them.

Dr. Bohmer conceived the notion of teaching Turkish rug weavers the art of dyeing with natural substances. Eventually the School of Fine Arts in Istanbul agreed to sponsor a project with Dr. Bohmer as chief advisor, called DOBAG, an acronym in Turkish meaning Natural Dye Research and Development Project. Weavers in the villages around Ayvacik started weaving natural-dye rugs under Dr. Bohmer's supervision. DOBAG was the start of the Oriental rug renaissance. 

A Turkish Bergama constructed from old wool. Antique kilims are unraveled for their wool.

George Jevremovic and his company, Woven Legends. took that renaissance much further. He was impressed when he first saw DOBAG-inspired rugs from the villages around Ayvacik.  In 1983 he began asking weavers around Ayvacik to make rugs for him, but he quickly realized that the nature of Ayvacik tribal and village life didn't allow him to make larger carpets. He wanted the same kind of charm and naivete in large rugs that one usually finds only in small ones, and he wanted to weave rugs in early tribal or village designs, especially designs from northern Iran. Up to that time, nearly every large rug, old or new, was curvilinear and formal-looking. 

Between 1984 to 1987 George Jevremovic slowly established his Woven Legedns production of natural-dye rugs in Turkey. But the major obstacle was a lack of models for what he was trying to do. Everything had to be worked out. Although handspun wool was still available in Turkey, quantities fell far short of what he needed. He had to seek the advice of experts on natural dyeing. Eventually Woven Legends employed 15,000 people: spinners, weavers, dyers, and others.

Turkish Bidjar (Euphrates line) from Woven Legends. It is based on a mid-19th century Persian Bidjar. 

Woven Legends showed that antique designs could be beautifully rendered in new carpets. These are the first new rugs with true character to be seen in the west in a century. This was due in large part to the fact that weavers were allowed the freedom to improvise enough so that they were able to imbue their rugs with some of their individual spirit.

An Early Turkish Yatak rug from Woven Legends, less finely knotted than Azeris and clipped longer in pile.

Turkish Serapi rug from Woven Legends. It is based on old Persian Serapis from northern Iran.

When George Jevremovic was asked which rugs he considered to be collectible, he replied ’some of the Turkish rugs’. He said he experiences the weavers in China and India as being agreeable, cooperative and skillful. He has a different experience when he asks Turkish weavers to weave rugs from drawings. They too are skillful and would like to please, but there is something -- he calls it "DNA" -- that makes them a little resistant to following someone else’s drawings! **

A Sardis from Woven Legends, based on the ancient Egyptian Mamluk carpets

**Information for this article drawn from Oriental Rugs Today by Emmett Eiland.

See our Turkish Village rugs from Woven Legends.

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The Tibetan Plateau, Yayla & Machik

Posted on October 15, 2012 by Susan Brouwer

Our Tibetan rugs (see Tibetan & Gangchen Tibetan) are woven of lustrous, long-staple sheepswool from the Tibetan Plateau where the sheep are reared in the high-altitude Himalayas. With an average elevation of 14,800 feet, the Tibetan Plateau is sometimes called “the Roof of the World,” and is the world’s highest and largest plateau.  It comprises an area four times the size of France and covers most of Tibet, Qinghai Province in western China, and part of Ladahk.

The Tibetan Plateau is an ecological region of enormous significance both at the local level for Tibetan herders and farmers, and at the national and even global levels for biodiversity conservation. At the highest altitudes, conservation and management of water resources are particularly significant, as around 40 percent of the world’s population is found within the watersheds of the rivers originating on the Tibetan Plateau.

In addition, the Tibetan Plateau ecosystems influence on a large scale atmospheric patterns, such as the Asian monsoon and high-altitude jet streams. The area is also home to many unique habitats and to numerous endangered wildlife species.

Local inhabitants in the region, especially Tibetan herders and farmers (as well as several other ethnic groups), deserve increased attention for reasons of equity in development in the context of rapid globalization – and also because so little is known in the rest of the world about the people and cultures of the Tibetan Plateau region.

We became aware of an organization known as Machik through one of our rug importers, Chris Walter and Yayla Tribal Rugs, who has been a significant supporter through sales of his all natural-dye Tibetan rugs. Machik is a Washington, DC-based non-profit organization whose mission is to strengthen communities on the Tibetan plateau. Their work is organized at a grassroots level around six themes: Education, Conservation and Green Technology, Women's Initiatives, Economic Opportunities, Multimedia and Digital Technology, and Social Entrepreneurship.

 -- You can help strengthen communities on the Tibetan plateau by making an online donation to Machik (www.machik.org). Or send a check payable to "Machik,” 1609 Connecticut Ave NW, Suite 400,
Washington, DC 20009, USA


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Tribal Rugs of Today

Posted on October 08, 2012 by Susan Brouwer

The art and craft of the tribal knotted pile carpet probably began among the pastoral nomads or herding people of central Asia who moved their sheep or goats between winter quarters and summer pasture. Their livelihoods were centered around their animals, and the items they made from their wool were absolutely essential to their lives: the walls of their tents, ropes, bags and containers of all sorts, rugs for the floor, clothing, and a variety of household items. The weaving of these things was also a medium for artistic expression and they lent so much color and beauty to the everyday lives of these nomadic people. 

The first tribal piled rugs or carpets may have imitated the texture and insulating properties of animal pelts. The oldest complete carpet was found in the frozen tomb of a nomadic chieftain at Pazyryk in southern Siberia. It has been dated to the 5th century B.C. and can be seen in the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg.

Many of the nomadic people have settled down over the centuries, and the longer they've been settled, the more diluted by other influences the 
designs have become. This has also been because of the migrations of peoples due to political upheavals all over the world.

Handmade Persian Gabbeh Runner

The term "tribal" used with rugs refers mainly to weavings made for personal use within a community. As nomadic peoples settled down, rug weaving became more of a cottage industry and rugs started to be produced as a means of livelihood. As the weavers have become subject to selling pressures, market demand has become such an influence that it has overridden communal tradition. 

These "tribal" pieces that we present here in our online store are really in the tribal style: the gabbehs, Balouch soumaks, Qashgai designs, all based on the weaving techniques and designs of the nomadic people of Iran but most probably made in village workshops and cottage weaving industries. With a few exceptions, some of the spontaneity of the antique Persian tribal pieces has surely been lost -- but those exceptions are out there still!

Lori Gabbeh Persian Fine Weave Carpet

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The Story of the Tribal Rugs of Iran

Posted on October 07, 2012 by Susan Brouwer

The supply of these rugs is very limited and what you see on this site from Iran you won't see again because of the embargo on Persian rugs.  We've chosen to feature these Balouch Soumak and Gabbeh-type rugs, even though they're unique and can't be duplicated in the much more profitable "programmed" rugs, because we feel they lend a special interest and beauty to our store.

Unlike cottage weavers, workshop weavers, or city weavers, the tribal weavers achieve expressive power in their rugs through the use of color, space and proportion. The best examples are very appealing and very creative as they are one-of-a-kind works of art.  Unlike the other more refined types of rugs, they are woven without a graph -- each piece is a creation of the weavers imagination. Many of the tribal rugs, such as the Gabbehs or Kashkuli rugs, are also woven on more primitive looms than the more refined types of carpets.  Often these looms were designed to be rolled up and unrolled when the nomadic herders arrived at new grazing grounds.

Some of these rugs, such as the older gabbehs, are reminiscent of animal pelts -- thick and shaggy. Some historians believe pelts were the inspiration for these primitive types of rugs.

Persian Handmade Rug

Green Persian Handmade Runner Rug

The Rugs we show here are modeled after gabbeh designs, including the Balouch soumak rugs. (The rugs previously known as Balouch soumaks are much more muted.) These are interpretations of gabbeh designs done with vegetal dyes in knotted pile combined with a fine soumak weave. When they're done well, these modern-day versions of the gabbehs and Balouch soumaks have great appeal to western rug buyers because of their spontaneity and charm as well as value as pieces of wonderful art.

***A caveat from A Rug For All Reasons: The photographs of these rugs don't represent these rugs as well as they could. While we aren't happy to have photographs that don't show a rug to its best advantage, our devotion to these rugs surpasses those considerations. We feel that you'll understand how special they are, even with the limitations of the photos. 

Persian Tribal Handmade Carpet

When the old Gabbehs became rare, Gholamreza Zollanvari started to work together with the Gashgai Nomads to produce new ones. By this time, the natural dyes had disappeared along with the use of handspun wool. Zollanvari started producing the Gabbeh with handspun wool, vegetable dyes and in european sizes. That is why, still today, Gholamreza is called “the father of the modern Gabbeh.” They have found tremendous popularity in Europe and the Americas. Unfortunately, because of the embargo on Persian rugs in the United States, these are the last of this type of tribal rug from Iran that we may see for sale here -- ever.

View our Persian Tribal collection

The following books give you a good overview of the history of the patterns, the carpets and the nomads:

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