Sunday, June 19, 2011

Flatwoven

by Ryan Reitmeyer on June 19, 2011
This summer we are featuring flat weave rugs from different origins, woven with a variety of techniques. Dhurries, because of their pale color, light weight, and unmistakably soft cotton weave, are the quintessential Houston rug. The dhurries that we have assembled are some of the most remarkable in the inventory.
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A classic blue and white stripe dhurrie from the 1930s. The cotton weave in this rug is exceptionally fine, and is probably the reason why this dhurrie has survived in such good condition for so many years. Stripe patterns are the most common among dhurries, perhaps because they were the easiest to weave. (Dhurries are “weft faced pattern weave” rugs, meaning that the weft is used to create the design in the rug; therefore all that a weaver would have to do to make a stripe would be to simply change the weft color.)
 
The lively repeating design in this dhurrie was inspired by the patterns found in mosaic floor tiles from the period, roughly 1910. Notice the complicated border system that frames the field. Tile patterns like the one in this dhurrie are one of the major design classifications for antique dhurries, as identified by Nada Chaldecott in her book Dhurries: History, Technique, Pattern, Identification.
This is probably the most comprehensive book on dhurries available. The illustrations are beautiful, and it is written with a scientific intent for classification that makes understanding the history of dhurries a logical investigation.


In addition to dhurries, we are featuring flat weaves from across cultures, and so this rug was a must have for our current installation. It is a new Persian production, woven in Shiraz from wool, but the design was inspired by Swedish weavings from the early 20th century. (There is an interesting article on Scandinavian rugs of the 20th century in the June 2011 Issue of Elle D├ęcor.) This rug feels like it came right out of a classic Northern European modern interior.


Something completely different: a contemporary Nepalese flat weave rug, woven using very heavy gauge Himalayan wool. The wefts in the rug were Ikat-dyed, giving the pattern a "melted" feeling that flows beautifully across the blue, green and yellow tones. Given that so many Ikat rugs and fabrics on the market struggle to recreate the original Uzbek patterning, it is refreshing to see a weaver do something fresh and beautiful with this ancient dying technique.

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