Tibetan Rugs in Nepal

GWC’s rugs are made from the hand-processed wool of New Zealand and woven using the Tibetan knot. Their creation relies on a mixture of Tibetan and Nepali expertise, and on Western design.

The custom design process

Anyone who comes into GWC can look through hundreds of designs that have already been turned into rugs. However, if you don’t find the exact color, pattern, size or shape you have in mind, the custom design service makes it easy to adapt existing designs or to start from scratch and create something entirely new and one-off.

It sometimes makes sense to get a sample woven to check the colors, design and yarn you are planning to use. This is typically 1′- 2′ (30-60cm) square and will add some time to the overall production but will enable you to be sure before weaving begins that every element of the finished piece will be right. Many different effects and textures are possible.

It takes around four months from the time you place an order to when the finished rug arrives.

The raw materials

New Zealand Wool has extraordinary natural properties. It is springy, resilient and even flame-resistant – it smolders’ rather than burns. It binds into yarn that can be spun, takes dye well, has impressive insulating qualities and is flexible and hard wearing. It is also hypoallergenic, resists static electricity and is warm, comforting and soft to touch.

Many of the rugs made by GWC contain silk –Bamboo/ Banana/ Viscose, the combination leads to a super-soft texture which designers adore. Silk is immensely durable and will resist physical wear, while its gorgeous luster catches the light and its contrasting texture can be used to highlight a design. Silk is also very attractive to bare feet and deliciously tactile.

Today, linen is popular for its brilliant whiteness. Other fibres employed by GWC include luminous Mohair, tactile Cashmere and Pashmina, Abaca (a type of banana-leaf fibre), Hemp & Jute. Rugs composed of these other materials tend to be made plain rather than patterned, so that the focus is on their interesting textures.

Choosing colors

Choosing a perfect palette

If someone wants to match a hue from a piece of fabric, a Pantone reference, a paint swatch, a picture or a scrap of wallpaper, GWC does it with the selection of 2000 colors- both in Silk & wool yarns. A CAD is made on the selection of the design and colors for approvals.


Vertical looms

GWC rugs are woven on traditional vertical looms, the technique is knotting. In Tibet, the loom used to be all wood, with no glue or nails, and propped against a wall; today, with plentiful metal, looms stand upright rather than leaning. The height of the loom depends on the length of the rug being woven, though particularly long rugs can be looped over as they are fashioned, meaning that there is no limit to the length of a rug.

A number of looms for making standard-size rugs are set up in the workshops, their width from 3′ (0.92m) to 10′ (3.05m). It becomes more challenging to make a loom as width increases, and special ones are constructed for particularly broad rugs. By contrast samples are made on tiny looms.

The Tibetan knot

Tibetan rugs employ a unique knot. Each looped knot is half of both the previous and the next one; a line can continue for as long as desired and the yarn is only cut when the color changes or the whole line is complete. The weaver passes the yarn around the warps and knots it around a metal rod that rests in front of the loom and then repeats the process. This is a fast way of weaving – twice as quick as a Persian knot but just as strong. It’s also totally traditional; if you examine rugs several hundred years old you will find that they were made in exactly the same fashion.

Loop pile

For a loop pile, the rod is pulled out and the yarn left uncut when the line of knots is complete – thus a series of loops is achieved. There’s also a no-rod loop, or flat loop; the yarn is tied directly round the warp – without a rod – and the result is a flatter surface with an interesting texture.


Achieving perfection

Once a Rug is washed and dried, it is laid flat and the surface is treated with a variety of special implements in order to poke, tease, and smooth any slight irregularities. The ends are stopped with a few lines of kilim (essentially running stitches) to ensure that they will never unravel, while the sides of the rug – the last warp – are wrapped with extra yarn in the same color (a selvedge).

The entire surface is trimmed depending on the design to achieve the required pile depth. Designs that call for a variation in pile depth are more complicated; different sections must be sheared to different levels for a more three-dimensional effect. Careful contouring – rather like beveling on mirrors on a minute scale – is done where two colors meet, to emphasize the delineation.

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