Orley Shabahang Launches New "Dream" Rug Collection
Rugs can add so much dimension and depth to a space--without having to undergo a drastic change.
Designer Orley Shabahang recently launched yet another way to add style to your home with her new Dream collection. Inspired by Dreamtime maps and drawings of the Aborigines in the Pacific, the collection of rugs, which took two years from its inception is truly unparalleled. Read on to learn more about the process, which involved using ancient Persian carpet making techniques, all done by hand.
Sheep: The carpets are woven with wool from the premiere sheep- producing area of Iran, the Ghashghai region. Only the finest, freshly shorn wool from the neck back of these select sheep is harvested for use in their carpets. The best wool is very long-stranded and has exceptionally high lanolin content (the natural oil that protects the wool from the elements and ultimately repels dirt and foreign matter). This wool has a natural sheen that enhances color and enriches over time.
Wool: Hand-spun wool, although very labor-intensive and far more expensive than machine prepared materials, is used in the highest quality carpets. This is due to the fact that the human touch gives the wool a twist, which textures the yarn with an uneven diameter. This uneven diameter absorbs color differently, leading to striation of color called “abrash”. A sort of abrash also results from having used the wool of several different sheep, which may make the color of the carpet change in tone from one end of the carpet to the other. This asymmetrical product ultimately produces a carpet pile that is more interesting and aesthetically pleasing to the eye. Additionally, the hand spinning adds strength to the yarn itself.
Dyeing: The first step in dyeing yarn involves boiling the wool in large pots containing the skins of walnuts and zaj (a mineral salt). Clay pots are preferred to commercial vats. The resulting natural chemical reaction cleans the wool and activates the molecules to accept future dyes without destroying the lanolin. The best dyes are taken from flowers, leaves, roots, and other naturally occurring substances found in the Iranian countryside. Again, as in the wool, the geographic area from which the dye materials are gathered and their quality will have a direct impact upon the visual appearance of the carpet and its colors.
Weaving: The quality of the weaving process contributes not only to a carpet’s beauty but also its durability. Orley Shabahang’s commissioned carpets are woven to very particular specifications, including the choice of weave best suited to a given carpet design. A high knot count is not relevant to the artistic quality of a Persian carpet. Instead, attention is given to an optimal blend of materials and weaving technique. While this new style could pose difficulties, their weavers possess such extraordinary weaving capabilities that they were able to very seamlessly take on these designs and create truly special pieces. Additionally, to capture the spirit of the original pieces that inspired the collection, a number of dyes were developed specifically for this series.
Bahram was intrigued by the idea of using an ancient Persian art form (carpet making) to tell the story of another culture's ancient art form. Additionally, to capture the spirit of the original pieces that inspired the collection, a number of dyes were developed specifically for this series.