I cannot describe the joy I feel, seeing my design come to life, as a rug! I have seen in my mind for about 15 years, to date. I have a love for fabrics and weaving, although I began my artist journey as a 2D fine artist, dealing with mixed media materials.
This past December I visited Katmandu, Nepal, where I met my rugmaker at Ujwal Carpets. It was such a natural fit, and we spent the day together visiting the many rug factories that are involved in making a custom, hand-knotted rug.
First, we visited the factory where the cleaning, washing, drying, and trimming takes place. Next, we went to where the wool is dyed. I met the “Color Doctor”, as he is called in Nepali and in English. He had hundreds of books, which contained hundreds of single thread, color dyes. I asked the software engineer from Ujwal, “What if something happens and they are destroyed?” He smiled and said, “We have it all on hard drive”. They know their stuff and have grown up in the rug making industry in Nepal.
Lastly, we visited the weaving factory where the weavers were all working on numerous rugs at a time. They were working as teams and some solo.
This piece, “At the Edge of the World”, is currently being made by a married couple. They must be patient, because there are a lot of details in this piece. It is a mixed media piece on thick paper, with graphite pencil, charcoal, ink, paint, and much carving in to the paper. Not an easy task for a rug maker!
To sum it up, my trip to Nepal was full of joy, surprises, learning, and lots of love. I felt as if I had been there before and was returning to visit old friends.
As we strive to become a functional and peaceful “Global Village”, I find it extremely important to preserve the heritage and artisanship of the people indigenous to each country. That also means fair trade, fair market, and profit for all involved. We give, and we gain. We listen and learn, we begin to understand.
It’s deeper for me as an artist. It’s not about the bottom line, mass produced, turn around profit and sales. It is about preserving the integrity of each piece, each artisan, and each collector who appreciates the value of the craftsmanship that goes into the work.
From Nepal they say,