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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

What is the Light and Dark Side of an Oriental Rug?

A very large rug on the loom; note that weaving is done from bottom to top

In order to understand why there is a light and dark side of an Oriental rug, first you need to learn a little about the parts of a hand knotted rug.
Photo courtesy of rugchick.com

  • The warp threads run lengthwise (or north to south, top to bottom) and make up the fringes of a rug.  
  • The weft threads run across the width of the rug, (or east to west, side to side.)
  • The selvage or edge of the rug is made by wrapping several warp threads at the edge of the rug with yarn to reinforce this part of the rug.
  • The knots which are tied to the warps create the pile or nap of the rug.
Oriental rugs are woven from bottom to top. The weaver ties individual knots to the warp threads (lengthwise threads) and these comprise the pile of the rug. A knot is mostly woven in a downward motion and "opens" down which creates the pile direction. This can vary depending on the loom set up, as sometimes the knots are tied so they open to the left or right. Most rugs have a distinct pile direction that can be felt, as well as seen. If you run your hand on the pile of the rug from fringe to fringe, or diagonally, you will feel that the pile has both a rough and smooth side.

You can usually determine the "dark side" of the rug by standing at the end of the rug and running your hand toward you and the pile will feel smoother. Alternately, the "light side" of a rug will feel rougher when you run your hand on the pile.

The rug's light and dark sides result, in part, from the pile direction, although some Oriental rugs may have more pronounced light and dark sides because of the weaving style and the luster of the fiber.

Pile fibers lay at an angle where they will do one of two things: reflect or absorb light. On the rug's lighter side, light reflects off the fiber's sides, giving the pile a brighter sheen. From the dark side of the rug, your view is the cut tips of the wool which absorb light rather than reflect it, appearing to give the rug a deeper tone.

The photographs below are the same rug under the same lighting.

Light end of an Oriental rug

Dark end of an Oriental rug

Another article you may be interested in:

You can count the knots, although knots don’t count!

Come by our Virginia Beach Rug Store to learn more about Oriental rugs!

Mark Gonsenhauser's Rug and Carpet Superstore 
4153 Virginia Beach Blvd.
Virginia Beach, VA 23452

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Let the floor set a design tone

Ikat Design Area Rug - Siam By Nourison

The area rug can be a room’s focal point, organize furnishings, add warmth and baffle sound.

Botanical rug adds color, becomes a focal pint and adds warmth to your room


Carpet diem! Area rugs are seizing the day when it comes to dialing up personality in a room. And that goes for indoors and outdoors.

From flat weaves to bas relief, which adds sculptural dimension, it’s modern design that especially stands out, in an impressive range of prismatic colors, stylish patterns and tantalizing textures, many of which are obviously informed by fashion. And while some motifs like circles or squares or chevrons may be familiar, even vintage references are re-framed in an unexpected bold palette, scale or placement so that they look fresh.

The area rug long has played a pivotal role in interior design. It can be a focal point, much like a piece of art on the wall. It serves to ground a space, organize furnishings, add warmth and baffle sound.

For some designers, a rug sets the tone for a room, launching its color scheme — even one that’s monochromatic, which is best expressed by nuances with shades and textures.

But placing a rug in a room requires visualization. This is why retailer websites often show how color and pattern look underfoot and totally change the dynamic in a space. New York artist Madeline Weinrib told San Francisco writer Diane Dorrans Saeks that she had to rethink technique when she began to design rugs 12 years ago.

“I trained myself to see from the floor as opposed to the wall and realized that (a rug) had to exist in dialogue with the decor in the room, that it would have furniture placed on it,” says Weinrib, whose textiles and rugs are sold at ABC Carpet and Home and through her new showroom in Manhattan. “In painting, it’s a world of its own. That’s not true for rugs, which are part of the decor and must be functional.”


 Transitional style rug made in Tibet
It’s the distinctive appearance of Tibetan rugs that really jelled in the 1990s and sparked renewed interest in an ancient tradition, especially among those who favor clean design like mid-century modern. The luster of rich wools and dense pile sparked attention, as well as a simplification of patterns that often emphasize geometric elements, such as squares, sometimes punctuated in silk for glossy sheen.

But in recent years, rug design really has exploded. Fashion, interior and lifestyle designers have added cache with collections that have an instant fandom for those who embrace their particular aesthetic. Technology has boosted methodology, allowing the equivalent of performance fabrics as well as digital printing.

Still, as in the past, it’s the materials and weave that enable so much variation. Sheep or goat wool from Iran, Turkey or New Zealand or cotton from India will vary in thickness and pile depending on how the weft threads are woven across the warp or foundation, whether the pile is sheered, tufted or looped. Some wools are more coarse, so the result is more rustic. Wool or cotton flat weaves without pile such

Besides weaves, it’s application of color that lends character. The most coveted antiques are appreciated for their natural dyes, from plants like madder (red), indigo (blue), walnut (brown and gray) and rhubarb (yellow). Today’s fashion-forward hues include deep pinks and raspberries, magenta, tangerine and greens, from kiwi to emerald.

Intentional shading also has added another level of sophistication, with striations that look like worn or wrinkled areas becoming part of the pattern, for example. Another effect called “ombre,” from the French word for “shaded,” features gradations from light to dark, often expressed in a single hue, but the fading effect also can apply to multiple colors. Paint techniques also can be replicated, such as sponged or watercolor prints seen in couture.

Another appealing genre is one that features vintage pieces of traditional Oriental rugs stitched together in a patchwork design, then “overdyed,” usually in rich jewel tones. What’s cool is that the original patterns peek through.

One Turkish-based rug wholesaler, Knotisse, celebrates green by rescuing old kelims from the 1920s to the 1980s, unraveling them piece by piece, then reweaving the yarn in very modern designs and colors. Owner Burak Aydogan calls it “upcycling.”


Over-dyed Patchwork Kilim Area Rug - Re-purposing perfected!

Santa Fe, N.M.-based manufacturer Foreign Accents recycles denim from blue jeans, silk saris and men’s ties, bits of sweaters and even bicycle inner tubes for its Deja New collection.

“The very idea of repurposing is compelling,” says Brian Rojanasumaphong, sales manager and buyer at Chicago retailer Oscar Isberian Rugs. “We live in a time where we’re cognizant of the impact we have on the environment. Anything we can do to reuse and repurpose resonates. When you reference the past there’s an almost spiritual connection.”

And romance. Some manufacturers are recreating vintage with new pieces washed and treated to look worn. The idea is analogous to roughed-up or stonewashed jeans, to instantly age them for a desirable patina.

No surprise then that there’s plenty of inspiration from women’s fashions, from hot colors to patterns.

“We love fashion,” says Chris Chapin, co-founder of the Concord, N.H.-based Company C. “So we often keep an eye on the latest in couture. We don’t recommend designing one’s entire home based on the latest fashion trends, but it is fun to sprinkle into our seasonal colors and designs fabulous influences from the runway.”

Large-scale florals and leafy designs echo the popularity of motifs from nature. Animal prints are especially fetching in fun combos such as azalea and green cheetah (from Company C), or a blue green jaguar from Suzanne Kasler for Safavieh. There are plenty of global and ethnic influences: supersized scrolls and paisleys, fretwork and Greek keys, lattice and Moroccan tile motifs.

But there’s also a practical plus for rugs.

“Rugs add so much to a room’s design,” says Chapin. “One of my favorite (things to do) is to stretch out on our rug after a run. Bare floors would not be as comfortable!”

Source: http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/07/21/v-fullstory/2904059/let-the-floor-set-a-design-tone.html

Mark Gonsenhauser's Rug and Carpet Superstore 
4153 Virginia Beach Blvd.
Virginia Beach, VA 23452

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Trends for Area Rugs for 2012 and Beyond

Mark at Domotex in Germany - the Largest International Rug and Design show

This past January my daughter Lauren, whom we call Lolly, accompanied me to Germany to attend Domotex, the largest International rug and design show. The theme of Domotex 2012 was “Customized Living” and that is really what home d├ęcor is all about.

“The design options are endless - silk or wool, traditional patterns or futuristic modern design, vibrant colours or subtle hues, modern carpets woven to customer specifications or carpets and carpet tiles arrayed in different colour combinations and shapes. It is easier than ever to achieve an individual, stylish effect.” (Quote from Domotex website)

We very much agree with that statement and at Mark Gonsenhauser’s we strive to bring you the latest designs in rugs and carpets, as well as the ability to customize and create what will fit your needs and desires.

We saw some amazing innovations in rug and carpet designs. Below I showcase three new trends that we liked and have brought to our store in 2012.

1- Silk Sari Rugs. Beautiful hand made 100 % silk rugs made from leftover production fabric and recycled silk sari's. No two rugs are alike! 

Beautiful and Bright Hand made 100 % Silk Rug 
made from recycled Silk Sari's

100% Silk Rug made from recycled Silk Sari's

2- Another innovative idea in rugs for 2012 is Over Dyed Rugs. Some of the rugs are vintage or recycled pieces of rugs sewn together. The process involves neutralizing the colors of the original rug, while still maintaining the pattern and design of the rug.  The rugs are then re-dyed with a solid color producing a unique effect.

Over dyed Rugs at Domotex 

3- Ikat Hand Loomed Rugs. Ikat is a style of weaving where a dyeing technique is used to create a pattern. Ikat employs a resist dyeing process similar to tie-dye on either the warp or weft fibers. The fibers are then woven to create a pattern or design.

Ikat Rugs at Domotex

Ikat Rug - Hot trend in rugs for 2012 and beyond! 

After Domotex we traveled to India to buy rugs. This was a very productive trip because David and Lolly learned about the rug buying process as well as the rug making process.

At the Taj Mahal
A rug maker hand serge's the side of a rug
My children passionately offered their opinions on the rugs I purchased and gave me the perspective from their generation. Lolly was even inspired to design her own line of flat weave Dhurrie's exclusive to our store fittingly called “The Lolly Pop Collection.”

Lolly and the "Lolly Pop" Dhurrie collection

"Lolly Pop" Dhurrie Rugs

We also made a visit to the Siddharth Gonsenhauser School where we toured the new second floor they built since my visit last year.

Mark with the kids at the Gonsenhauser sponsored school in Siddharth India

It was an amazing trip and I am excited about bringing to you all the beautiful rugs that I bought for the store! Come in and see us soon!

"I Got Your Rug!"

Mark Gonsenhauser's Rug and Carpet Superstore 
4153 Virginia Beach Blvd.
Virginia Beach, VA 23452