“Great things in business are never done by one person. A team of people does them.”
Steve Jobs’ words perfectly describe the essence of Vimla Rugs’ journey to success, the glimpse of which we got during our visit to their factory in Banskho. The team was spread in every nook and corner, focused on the work at hand. Wait, you do remember our visit to the place from where Sutra Designs acquired rugs for our new office, right?
IWB recently shifted to their new base #IWBungalow, and since our Interior Designer, Vikram Singh, has a deep interest in traditional art and artisans, most interior elements of Sutra Designs’ project sites speak of them. And rugs and carpets being one of the prime domains, he has Vimla International in collaboration, a Rajasthan-based company that manufactures hand-knotted carpets and rugs,
So when Vikram coordinated for us a trip to their factory, he particularly told us to get a peek of all the interesting stages of rug making.
Quick Recap: A December winter morning and you get to go for a drive to the city outskirts for work. And it couldn’t get better, as we set out on a sun-filled ride towards Amber Road for Banskho Village. An hour-and-a-half later, we reached the location of Vimla Rugs’ factory and at the entrance waited Mr. Dinesh Jain, co-owner and the younger of the two founder brothers, for our welcome.
While Mr. Dinesh and his daughter, Harshita, who is currently learning the factory goings-on as a fresh textile design graduate showed us around, we sought an in-depth understanding of the various processes, and also interacted with their artisans. You ought to read our conversations with Kesar Amma and Santara Devi!
But before we begin narrating to you the different steps, let us explain to you the process in a nutshell, based on what Mr. Dinesh told us. “The first step after having received the basic thread (loom) is to wash it in chemical water that softens it. We get different thread looms, there come cotton, silk, jute, and woolen looms. Next step is to soak them in normal water, to get the chemical off it, followed by dyeing and drying. Once dried, it is sent for spinning, and thereafter to the loom stands for its final weaving into a rug. And the last steps are trimming and finishing, washing, and finally sun-drying.
Carding and Cleaning of the Loom
Foremost the loom is opened and separated so that each fiber is set in a straight, or parallel position. Effective carding ensures that no fiber is intermingled with another. And if the cleaning is fine, it allows better flow of fiber when spinning starts and gives looms of desired thickness.
Once cleaned, the looms are put in a large tank filled with chemical dissolved water. It is to make the loom soft, and then again it is washed in another tank with clean water, and thereafter sent for colouring/dyeing. The dyes are extracted from natural herbal plants like indigo and turmeric, or may even use chemical or vegetable dyes, depending upon the clients’ demand.
Vimla International makes use of the traditional dyeing methods, wherein a small quantity of loom is dyed in different types of vessels, and the task is done manually. They have skilled craftsmen who perform the task of testing and mixing dyes to match to colour of designs exactly. The dyed loom is then hung in sun, and once dried, it proceeds to the spinning wheels.
The dyed loom is then spun on a reel using a threading machine that is installed with rollers. And the next step is hand spinning of those looms into yarns using ‘Charkha’ that is operated by hands. The thickness of a yarn depends upon the demand of the client, popped Harshita’s voice from behind.
The procedure of weaving is called ‘tana bana’, which is carried out on three different kinds of stands, Mr. Dinesh showed to us. There is ‘khada loom’, for which the warp (bana) is woven on a vertical stand of iron that is made two vertical poles, fixed by a horizontal base for loom rigidity. And slightly different are the two other stands called ‘khadda loom’ and ‘patta loom’. The fineness that can be achieved from patta loom makes it stand out, because of which it is mostly used for silk and cotton looms, as opposed to khada loom which is most used for woolen yarns,added Harshita.
Trimming and Finishing
Once the weaving process is completed the rug is taken off the loom stand and sent for trimming. During which the unnecessary threads are removed and knots that appear at the back of the carpet are touched for smoothing.
Washing and Drying
After trimming the rug undergoes a strenuous washing procedure with water and soap until they come out clean, and the thoroughly washed carpet is then dried in the sunlight. Once completely dry, the rug is again checked, followed by a final finishing touch before it is sent to the godown.
And with that, the extended tour of Vimla Rugs’ factory comes to an end. We hope you enjoyed this colourful experience that we weaved for you. Oh and if you seek more such hidden treasures to adorn your home interiors with, take our word, Interior Designer Vikram Singh is the right person to guide!