ARTISAN APPROACH

A NEW TRADITION

A HANDMADE CARPET IS THE EPITOME OF LUXURY

Rug weaving has a long and illustrious history having been practised around the world for centuries. Using time-honoured knotting techniques, unchanged for generations, rugs continue to comfort and delight humankind. Rugs are tactile, transportable, long lasting, exquisite works of art, offering the perfect solution to bring joy and your own unique personalised style to living rooms, workspaces, hospitality venues and homes. 

Using natural materials and supporting artisanal craft, the design possibilities are infinite. Every knot can be imagined as a pixel in your design. Let your imagination roam free. Get in touch with Dena Lawrence to discover how to bring your dream carpet to life.

Read more about the history of carpet weaving in Kashmir.

THE WEAVERS OF KASHMIR

Kashmir had more than 100,000 carpet weavers before the onset of armed insurgency in the 1990s. Three-quarters of the carpet weavers switched to street vending or driving auto rickshaws to survive through some of the darkest days Kashmir’s longstanding carpet industry.

Dena Lawrence was moved by the plight of these skilled artisans and pledges, and through the Firesun Collection was able to provide valuable work for the weavers of Srinaga, and to offer better working conditions and higher wages than those widely available. Every carpet woven to her designs passes through rigorous quality control by the Indian Institute of Carpet Technology in Srinagar IICT).

Read more about Dena Lawrence’s art therapy work in Kashmir.

HISTORY

Kashmir carpets and shawls have a long and distinguished history. Acclaimed worldwide for their exquisite craftsmanship, they have been cherished as jewel-like treasures for generations.

Rug weaving is said to have arrived in Kashmir with the Sufi mystic Hazrat Mir Syed Ali Hamadani, a Persian poet, scholar and saint from Hamadan, Iran, who spread the word of Islam along the Silk Road in the 14th century. The region has been revered for the production of Kashmir shawls since Sultan Zain-ul-Abidin invited teachers and artisans from Samarkand to establish various craft industries there in the 15th century. In the 17th century, many fine carpets were woven in Srinagar, a trade-route entrepôt and the Mughal summer capital of Kashmir. With silk foundations and pashmina knotted pile, these were luxury commissions intended to satisfy the ambitions of members of the highest level of Mughal society during the reign of an empire renowned for its patronage of the arts. Being made of delicate pashmina—luxurious but impractical—they survive only as antique fragments, which are still much sought after by collectors and connoisseurs, regularly fetching considerable prices at auction.

The art of carpet weaving spread from Srinagar to remote villages in the hills of Kashmir where the technique is passed down within families, traditionally from father to son. Today, along with tourism, rug weaving is a significant source of income for both men and women in the Kashmir Valley. It provides a livelihood for thousands of people who are associated with the modern carpet industry—particularly during the winter, a quiet season for agriculture.

A huge number of specialist processes, perfected over centuries, are involved in weaving a handmade rug. In the local Kashmiri language, the nakaash is the rug designer, a kalimba is a weaver, and the ranger is the dye master. The weaving workshop is locally known as the kharkhaana.