Resilient and Luxurious Tufenkian Artisan Carpets
Tufenkian Tibetan wool is sourced from sheep raised in the Himalayan Mountains. The altitude of the Himalayan Mountains creates a stronger and longer wool to protect the sheep from the cold winter climate. This wool carries much more lanolin creating a more resilient, luxurious and stain resistant material that is unavailable using low land sheep. Once these sheep have been hand sheared, the wool is then washed in local rivers and creeks. The natural browns, blacks, and whites are separated and placed into burlap sacks. Once the weather permits, the wool is transported on the back of yaks to the Tufenkian compound in Kathmandu.
James Tufenkian created this compound with one thing in mind, quality. The quality of life for his weavers and their families, as well as the quality of each hand-knotted artisan carpet. James Tufenkian built an expansive medical center to ensure the health and safety of the compound workers and their families. Not long after, he built a Montessori school for the children giving them the opportunity for a brighter future.
“From the profits of the business, we aim to leave the world better than we found it” – James Tufenkian
Creating the Yarn
Once the wool has reached the compound, it begins the traditional and historical process of carding, spinning and dying. The wool is placed between two metal tools, brushed and gently hand combed until the fibers are roughly aligned in an ancient process called carding. After the carding is completed, the wool is hand spun using mahogany spinning wheels creating yarn. The yarn is divided into small lots and placed into copper vats to be hand dyed using Swiss Metal Complex Dye. This dye is known for its depth and color consistency which creates a richer look. Once the yarn has been dyed, it is placed in the sun to dry.
Tufenkian Artisan Carpets are hand woven using a Sennah Loop, otherwise known as a double knotting system. Using wooden looms, the weavers follow a pattern creating a beautiful design one knot at a time. Once the pattern is complete, the rug is removed from the loom and hand sheared to create an even surface. Once the even surface has been achieved, the workers use smaller shears between the colors to enhance the clarity of the design. The final step in completing each carpet is washing. Every carpet is washed using an environmentally friendly cleaning method at a Nepalese facility or Europe’s premier washing facility.