Is a Hand-tufted Rug for Me?

Tufted Rug Construction

© The Carpet and Rug Institute

Hand-tufted rugs are a new phenomenon, as compared to the hand-knotted carpets and dhurries we are more accustomed to seeing. A hand-tufted carpet is woven by inserting and pulling back strands of wool into a mesh canvas that is stretched on a frame – think wool tapestry in needlework class! The weaving is done using a manually operated tufting gun. When the ‘tufting’ is complete, the rug is washed and cut (if it is a cut-pile rug) and a woven canvas backing applied to the back with latex glue to hold the tufts in place (i.e. no knotting).

Tufted rugs are gaining in popularity. They require much less skill from the weaver (typically one week of training is sufficient) and so are easier, faster and, importantly therefore, cheaper to make. The cost can be 2-4 times lower than the equivalent hand-knotted rug and this has fuelled a frenzy of supply and demand.

Weaver Using Tufting Gun

Weaver Using Tufting Gun

Due to the sheer volume of designs and colours available at affordable prices, home owners can change their carpet to suit the décor more frequently and first-time home owners can afford a hand-made rug sooner than they would have in the past.

So how does one decide whether to buy hand-tufted or hand-knotted? As with all rugs, the visuals, i.e. colour and design, need to appeal to you – you will probably see the rug every day so must at least ‘like’ it, and preferably ‘love’ it!

Jaipur Rugs Tufting Centre in Mirzapur

Jaipur Rugs Tufting Centre

A hand-tufted rug has a lifespan of 5-10 years which is typically much shorter than a well-constructed hand-knotted rug, and they tend to be ‘less-exclusive’. Regular vacuuming is required and they can be professionally cleaned, but unlike hand-knotted carpets they should not be washed, as the glue tends to break-down when wet.

We have managed to get our hands on a large selection of tufted rugs for our current Jaipur Rugs exhibition and sale. These are in a 5′ x 8′, typical living room size, in florals, geometric and abstract designs. The ones with the raised pattern are of special interest as they are visually rich and very soft to the touch, typically in a mix of wool and viscose. Prices range between ₹12,500 to ₹14,500/- inclusive of VAT.

Do come and have a look, or browse our tufted carpets online – you won’t be disappointed!

Happy shopping!

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Jaipur Rugs: A Remarkable Social Enterprise

NK Chaudhary

NK Chaudhary

The Jaipur Rugs story began in 1978 in a village called Churu in rural Rajasthan. After graduating from college, Mr Nand Kishore Chaudhary decided not to work with his father in his shoe business and instead took a loan of Rs.5,000/- to set up two looms in his backyard. He worked shoulder to shoulder with nine artisans, selling to exporters in Jaipur. From this humble beginning, JAIPUR has grown to over 40,000 artisans across 600 villages selling its branded high quality rugs in over 35 countries.

When you meet Mr Chaudhary you are immediately struck by his humbleness. Even more so when you begin to understand his remarkable vision and ability to implement it. Carpet weaving is an old craft in India and carpets have been exported for centuries. For all of that time weaving has been male centric and somewhat exploitative in nature. For Jaipur to adopt a social enterprise model that trains weavers and provides them with material, good design, mentoring and quality control systems with dedicated teams creating the market linkages is radical thinking. Best put by Mr Chaudhary himself, “Do not go where the path leads, go where there is no path and leave a trail.”

Nisha Learning Carpet Weaving

Nisha Learning Carpet Weaving

I read about Jaipur Rugs and was so taken by the passion and business model that I showed up at their office without so much as a business card! That was almost three years ago. I love the experimental nature of their designs. But most of all I love that they strive to provide good quality rugs at reasonable prices without squeezing the weaver. Instead they focus on cutting out middlemen, encouraging women to weave from their homes, push their own experienced weavers to take supervisory roles, and have created a hub and spoke model that allows mentoring, quality control and zero wastage.

At just over Rs.100 Crores ($16m), the company is growing rapidly and is making in roads into new markets such as South Africa, Russia, China and yes Turkey!

And I am not the only one taken with the model. The company is a case study in CK Prahalad’s book “The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid” and is the recipient of many awards including “Carpet Design Award – Domotex 2012”, “TOI – Social Impact Award 2012”, “Karmaveer Puraskaar 2012”, “Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award 2010”.

While we always carry a small selection of their rugs in Bangalore, the exhibition cum sale currently on (until 21 December) showcases the full variety of work they do and has something for everyone.

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Win a Carpet!

Tibetan Style Carpet - Deep Rust

Tibetan Style Carpet – Deep Rust

Buy anything at Arastan between now and the end of our fantastic Jaipur Rugs sale and you could win this wonderful carpet! Hand-knotted in Tibetan style with New Zealand wool and art silk accents for a particularly luscious feel, it is a convenient 3’6” x 5’6” that will fit in any home.

Any purchase either online at www.arastan.com or in our Nandi Durga Road, Bangalore store from now until 21 December 2013 will get you an entry into the draw for this carpet. Buy again during the promotional period and you will get one more card entered into the pool, so you have many chances to win. We will contact the winner before Christmas to give them the good news!

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    Arastan was an online store that curated rare and handpicked treasures from exotic bazaars along the ancient silk route. Unfortunately we ceased trading in early 2014.

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