Below we answer some frequently asked questions and provide some insight into the finer details of what it takes to bring one of these pieces together.
No one rug is the same as another
Despite what you know or may have heard, no authentic handmade rug (such as the rugs in West End Co.) is exactly the same as another. Each rug is actually individually handwoven by artisans and craftsmen, making each design unique and entirely different from one another. Craftsmen use a variety of symbols and hallmarks to imbue individual meaning into each weave (such as stars for spirituality and good luck and camels/trees for wealth, endurance and prosperity) ensuring no single design is ever the same.
Durability: will the rug last?
So something handmade must be delicate and easily ruined, right? While your logic might tell you this, it’s also untrue where these rugs are involved. While it’s true that silk rugs are less durable, woolen weaves are so tough that many Oriental mothers are often heard telling their children to go and play on the rug as it is often the only thing in the house that can handle the excitable energy of a young child and come out unscathed! This is due primarily to the tightness and skill in the weave. As all authentic rugs are handmade, the quality and precision going into each individual rug is second to none and allows for a much more robust weave. One small rug of 3’ x 5’ can take many months to complete and some bigger ones taking several years!
Telling the difference between handmade and machine made rugs
With technology and competition in the worldwide rug market increasing everyday, it’s no surprise that the cautious consumer might be skeptical on approach when on the lookout for an authentic rug. While handwoven and machine made designs can often come very close, there are a few key differences that distinguish an imposter from the real deal. One only needs to look at the back of the carpet to see. A machine weave will leave a distinct warp and weft grid that appears completely different from the subtle variations and slightly wavy nature of handwoven rugs. In addition the tightness of the weave is a hallmark of the authentic design and will always have a tag indicating the country of origin. In some rare cases, a master weaver will ‘sign’ their rug which will be incorporated into the design on the upper edge of the carpet!
Rugs of all variations continue to be growing staples in the homes of families worldwide, especially because of their timelessness and characteristic artisanship. Like many other aspects of Asian and Middle Eastern Culture, they exhibit a mysterious, undeniable quality of richness and wonder that captures the mind and ensnares the senses.