Today we dedicate our focus to something that, at first glance, might appear quite simple (albeit beautiful) but in reality is anything but: Our fair-trade, sustainably made rugs crafted by Armadillo & Co. Handmade in India using traditional, centuries-old techniques, the skill, detail work and craftsmanship that is required to create each one is awe-inspiring. So we thought we should share with you a bit more about what makes them so special.
It begins with hands. Hands that have learned the same motions and movements by watching the hands of their ancestors. At Schoolhouse, we always find ourselves ruminating on the importance of human touch. The number of hands that have touched each of our products informs and creates its unique story.
Process-wise, it takes more than 10 pairs of hands to weave and finish each rug. It starts with the dyeing of yarns with recipes that have been perfected over generations. For smaller batches, the only tools are a fire, saucepan and stirring rod for the dye bath. Larger ones used a pole, turned by hand and dipped in and out of the cauldron. Dried by the sun, this process gives the rugs a unique and vibrant texture. Artisans will use hand-powered winders to guide armfuls of wool on to spindles to get them ready for weaving. After the spinning phase it will be carefully wound by hand on to a long wooden spindle where it will continue its journey on to the loom.
Weavers often will work side by side at one loom to create contemporary styles made from traditional weaving techniques. Hand-knoting and weaving imbues a special character in to each and every one. After the weaving stage is finished, the rugs are washed gently with soap and water which allows them to shrink just enough to tighten the weave and makes them extra durable. Each rug is then stitched to a frame and left to dry naturally in the sun. Hand-finishing is the final step. Skilled artisans will check the surface, trimming and stitching any extra threads to make sure each rug is perfected before it is shipped out.
Armadillo & Co. is a company that we're exceedingly proud to partner with because of their quality, practices and ethos. The preservation of age-old skills and traditions and income that is earned is crucial to the communities of these craftsman. The processes that are used to create each rug leave little environmental impact and the materials, hemp and wool are naturally and sustainably sourced. In every sense and act, these rugs are produced to the highest ethical and socially responsible standards. They are also a stunning example of craft artistry and a piece that brings warmth, texture and love in to your home.