Thursday, November 25, 2010


Who would have thought that after finishing a simple weft-faced sample in a first year weaving class, that I would become so addicted to rugs. I find myself invariably turning the corner over of any rug I come across to see if it is hand knotted. In weft-faced rugs, the warp lies hidden in the middle thickness of the rug and is only seen at the fringes. It is covered almost entirely of closely beaten weft. That being said, not all rugs are weft-faced. By far, my favorite technique in carpets is knotted pile. It is not only because they are steeped in such a rich history, but also because they are probably the slowest of all techniques and therefore require a certain type of madness in attempting to create one.

Weaving on a vertical loom.

Nothing like a hand drawn diagram. These ones illustrate two of the most common types of knots used for pile rugs as well as tapestry weave. On the right is a Sehna or Persian knot and the middle a Ghiordes knot. Ghiordes is a town in northern Irak, from which have come rugs knotted in this manner. There are different reasons for using either knot, while the Ghiodes is much more secure and lends itself to long pile rugs, the Persian knot allows for more knots to be tied per square inch, hence a much more complex design can be woven.
Marta Maas-Fjetterstrom
The Silver Rug c. 1923.
I swoon over this rya rug.

Otti Berger

Flatweave carpet c. 1930

Marta Maas-Fjetterstrom
Black Garden c. 1925

Marion Dorn

Pile carpet with a geometric design c. 1930s

Marion Dorn

Lobby of Claridges Hotel London c. 1935

Eileen Gray

Design for Centimeter c. 1926-29


Eileen Gray

Felt mat c. 1928

Ivan Da Silva Bruhns

Carpet c. 1927

The carpets of Ivan Da Silva Bruhns are among the most highly sought French Art Deco Carpets. If I could own any, it would have to be the one below. I especially love how carpets made during this time were usually signed with the name of the designer or workshop with a monogram.

Ivan Da Silva Bruhns

One of a set of three carpets c. 1935

Sonia Delaunay

Carpet c. 1925

Two amazing books if you want to know more. For technique, The Techniques of Rug Weaving by Peter Collingwood. For Modernist Rugs, the book Art Deco and Modernist Carpets by Susan Day is an invaluable resource.


Ana said...

The beauty of them all...!

Jim Clark said...

Thanks for posting this information about rug knotting. I got curious about it when my wife and I retired and began weaving on looms. I have attempted to document my own exploration (so far) but much of my blog entry has to do with the tools I had to develop to do the work.