Bespoke rugs aren't a new concept, custom-made rugs have been commissioned for over five hundred years, albeit for the palaces and castles of kings and noblemen. One of the goals of iwantarug.com is to make custom-made rugs available to virtually everyone, not just the rich and famous.
We wanted to achieve something our competitors don’t appear to attempt, traditional designed bespoke rugs that you can resize and colour online. However, producing a hand tufted bespoke traditional rug can have its difficulties, as most traditional rug designs are a mish-mash of really complex woven motifs. These are difficult to replicate using high-speed hand-tufting guns. Hand weaving the rugs with the complexity of design and the extended time to weave, just make the job too expensive.
Nothing is insurmountable for those who try, we took a look back through history at some ancient and nomadic designs to try and emulate our ancestors. We tend to think of stripes and tartans as modern, yet the Kelts were wearing tartan some three thousand years ago and Joseph in the Old Testament, sported his coat of many colours, which we assume was striped. So, while these design styles are without any doubt traditional, we don’t see them as so, we really wanted designs with a little more Persian styling.
Traditional rug designs as we recognise them reached their popularity back in Persia (Iran) under the Safavid Dynasty (1502-1736) which is relatively recent. However, rug production in various forms has been around since the 5th century BC. Nomadic tribes appear to have been the main weavers of these rugs as they served a practical purpose of protection from the cold ground. Weaving also meant they didn’t use the hides of the precious livestock.
The Silk Road was a passageway for many nomadic tribes and also the main artery to the east and China to obtain the silk to weave fine clothing and furnishings. Silk was particularly fashionable with the uber-rich in furnishings like rugs because it is very fine and has a natural sheen. This meant any rug produced in silk would have millions of knots making the detail of the design ultra-high definition.
The high cost of silk meant most rugs were produced using wool that was sourced locally. Because wool was bulkier than silk, it took fewer knots to cover the surface, producing the rug faster also reduced costs. Today with all our technology we have exactly the same problems, it goes without saying, you still have to be worth a bob or two to afford a genuine silk hand-knotted rug.
While rug production dates back as far as the 5th century BC and flourished in Persia, Turkey and Eastern Asia. In Europe, it seems that rug production was only prevalent in Moorish occupied regions of Spain. It was only in the 13th century when Marco Polo claimed that carpet production was thriving in Central Asia, Turkey and Persia that Europe jumped on the band waggon.
So, rug weaving really came to Europe with a bang some 400 years ago when the rug factory Savonnerie in Paris, France, started making their own style of design. Based on traditional Persian classics combined with French florals and bold cornice designs that reflected the ornate ceilings of the French chateaus. At iwantarug.com we want to emulate the creativity of the French renaissance designers, but in a very different way.
Our bespoke traditional designs are probably more what the Americans call ‘Transitional’, that’s a traditional design with a modern twist. Fortunately, traditional rugs have countless manifestations, our influences mainly originate from nomadic tribes. It seemed fairly obvious that because nomadic rugs were more functional and weavers have fewer resources at hand, their rug patterns would be simpler and more clunky in design. To some degree this is true, the stars on a nomadic rug are easier to replicate in hand tufting than the complex centre motif, trailing foliage and ornate corners of a Nain (city) rug. But what really makes a nomadic rug stand out is the warm distinctive colours which give it the ability to sit comfortably with either traditional or modern decor.
We also needed some variation, something with a traditional elegance that could be easily replicated on a hand-tufted rug. The inspiration came while watching the Netflix television series, ‘Marco Polo’, and in particular, the rugs that covered the floors, walls and doors of the Mongolian yurts.
After some research, we discovered that these rugs were a non-woven felt rug made by wetting and compressing wool. The nature of the production meant the medallion designs were bold with a simplistic sophistication.
We’ve also added some Navajo style and Turkish Kilim type designs along with typical Chinese patterns and there’s a collection of borders and motifs to allow you to design your own. We believe our designs have the ambience of a classic rug and would sit comfortably in most traditional surroundings.
Visit our website iwantarug.com to see just what you can create with our online design software.