Sari Silk – The Ultimate Recycled Rugs

Sari Silk — The Ultimate Recycled Rugs
upcyclesariSome call it recycling; others think the process deserves a name with a more positive connotation. Thus, the term upcycling was born. Upcycling means taking something that would otherwise be thrown away — in this case, fabric — and making it into an even better product. In upcycling, the old parts do not equal the new whole.
Sari Silk rugs are an upcycling success story. Made from the silk that once graced the saris destined to be worn by Indian women, these rugs have become some of the most colorful, most imaginative, and most sought-after pieces on the market today. A sari is a four-to-nine-yard length of cloth, often silk, that women wrap around themselves as their garment.
sari5Upcycling Saris
The saris upcycled into rugs are typically composed of handspun silk. Since the rugs’ popularity has skyrocketed, women’s cooperatives in India have developed a cottage industry to create the vibrant silk thread that’s then used to hand-knot the fabulous rugs.
The women unravel unused saris by hand, fortify the extracted silk with cotton, wool, or other fibers, and then weave the threads into unique patterns that end up looking like pieces of art — which they are. The breathtaking creations, made entirely of this fortified sari silk, are saturated with colors and are so soft that you may find yourself wanting to leave the sofa to snuggle on the floor.
One-of-a-Kind Masterpieces
No two Sari Silk rugs are alike because of the variety of the source saris collected by the Indian women. Once the fabric has been hand-knotted into rugs, they become the one-of-a-kind masterpieces you can find at Rug & Home.
These hand-crafted works of art contain inconsistencies in their patterns and variations in their colors — elements that heighten their beauty instead of detracting from it. You will experience an infinite variety of sari1color in your Sari Silk rugs.
Caring for Your Treasures
These natural rugs are durable and will hold up for decades if you take care of them properly. Don’t place your Sari Silk rug in a place that receives heavy traffic, but do lay them on top of a quality rug pad, such as those sold at Rug & Home. You may also want to keep it out of direct sunlight.
Put your colorful work of art where it will be seen rather than trampled, such as by a corner sitting area, underneath a table or baby grand piano, or in your bedroom. Some owners love their rugs too much to walk on them, preferring instead to hang them on the wall.
Sari Silk rugs require gentle vacuuming with suction only, although you can have them hand-washed by a professional cleaner as needed.
It’s worth the little extra time and the effort it takes to care for a Sari Silk rug because they will last longer. In the end, you won’t think of them as upcycled or even recycled … you’ll just love and respect the beauty of your one-of-a-kind rug.

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Art and Practicality Converge in Gabbeh Rugs

Gabbeh (pronounced “gah-BAY”) is the Farsi word for natural or raw. In this case, it describes the coarse materials used to create early tribal rugs in Persia. The Gabbeh weaving tradition dates back as far as 3500 BC. Those first Gabbeh rugs were made by nomadic women to protect tender feet and to decorate bare homes. While they were practical, they also inspired. The artisans who wove those ancient rugs infused their designs with symbols that displayed their spirit, artistic talents, and love for family. In time, certain symbols evolved to impart love, prosperity, and good fortune to their families.

Modern families can grace their homes with those same sentiments with a beautifully hand-knotted Gabbeh rug from either India or Iran. Since both hand-weavers and modern manufacturers incorporate the emblematic characters found in early Gabbeh rugs, you can find the symbols on all-wool hand-tufted rugs and even in the synthetics used in machine-made rugs.

Each character woven in a Gabbeh rug has its own unique meaning. Some of the most common symbols found on today’s Gabbeh rugs include:

  • The Cypress Tree stands for life after death.
  • The Lion boasts of honor and victory.
  • A Camel is a common symbol for wealth and happiness.
  • Peacocks are holy birds that symbolize the spiritual nature of man.
  • The Dog serves as man’s protector, saving him from his own misdeeds and harm from others.
  • The Cock represents the devil; it’s woven into rugs to protect the owner from outside evil.
  • A Comb suggests cleanliness and brings wishes of health to the family.
  • The Hourglass reminds the family that time passes for everyone.
  • A strip of Clouds sends happiness to the family.
  • A Pomegranate is the ancient symbol of abundant wealth.
  • The Tree of Life, one of the most common symbols, expresses the belief in eternal life.

The characters are woven as small geometric shapes, caricatures of the symbols they portray. On some rugs, they are lined up in no particular sequence, bringing a wealth of wishes to the bearer. Other rugs focus on a primary wish, such as the popular Lion Gabbeh rug that contains one or two bigger lions surrounded by smaller lions in a horizontal pattern, ideal for a family of warriors. Gabbeh symbols may be also woven into a larger pattern made of a floral motif. In these rugs, you may have to look closely to see the artistic symbols imbedded in the overall pattern.

No matter which kind of Gabbeh rug you purchase, the original thoughts and heart-felt symbols can bring an aura of love and good intentions to your home. You may recognize the symbols and be able to interpret their meanings, but even if you can’t, a Gabbeh rug has an uncanny way of snuggling up to your heart and making you feel good somehow. Perhaps it’s the ghosts of the tribal Persian women who loved and cared for their families, or perhaps it’s the actual resonance of the symbols themselves.