Dhurries

 

Dhurries, flat woven rugs in cotton, wool and jute, have long been a cottage industry in many Indian small villages and towns of Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan, with weavers being local men employed to create these hard wearing and attractive rugs,also in Punjab, where the weaving was traditionally done by young Punjabi girls and is still an important handicraft in Punjabi art.

Cotton Dhurries are famously known for the spectacular narrative cotton designs, made by Indian prisoners in the 19th and early 20th Century, these dhurries have intricate sceneries depicting village life, and beautifully woven flora and fauna.The art of carpet weaving was introduced into the Indian subcontinent in the middle of 16th century, by the great Mughal Emperor Akbar and is one of the oldest major industries of India renowned the world over for their design, colour and craftsmanship.scan0003.jpg

 

The tools that the weaver uses are simple and these have remained unchanged with time.

Farshi or Floor coverings have always been an important part of homes in India,where large striped and geometric dhurries are used by ordinary townspeople, affluent traders and merchants ,as use of furniture has traditionally been limited. Tent dhurries are still used to carpet outdoor marriage pavilions.The largest dhurries are still commissioned for palace decoration and can measure over eighty feet in length and twentyfive feet in width.

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The basic technique of weaving a dhurrie in its most primitive form can today be seen in villages.

 

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The warp of hand-spun white cotton is prepared by stretching two bamboos secured on the floor by four pegs. The length and width of the warp are then prepared according to the requirements of the size of finished dhurrie by winding it over stretched bamboos. The warp runs parallel to the ground about six inches above it

Weaving starts at one end with the help of a forked stick, throwing the weft thread across for a single colour going across the whole width of the warp. The weaving of the patterned dhurrie is done with a series of colours, depending on the pattern and colours to be used. One colour is woven upto the required width after which its interlocked again, thus creating a pattern of multiple threads of weft without any extra weft, with the result that there is no wrong side in dhurrie weaving.

Preparation for weaving.

The cotton and Jute is first sorted to remove waste and carded to align the fibres. Winding/spinning is done on a charkha or traditional spinning wheel.

Wool fleece is hand sorted and separated according to colour and quality.It is then combed repeatedly drawing across rows of small teeth, disentangling the fibres and making them more or less parallel.

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After this the yarn is twisted or spun to create the desired count.

Now days this is largely mechanised. Several grades of wool are blended, carded, spun on a rotating machine, wound onto bobbins and converted into long hanks.

It is then plied by twisting two or more strands of yarn to create a thicker cord.

The twist, usually in a direction opposite to that of each component yarn is a balancing act.

The weft often uses thick un- spun yarn called sut.

The yarn is then soaked in a solution of castor oil and sodium hydrosulphide to wet it thoroughly.

This dye bath is then brought to a slow boil and the dye,caustic soda and more sodium hydrosulphide is added.

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Hanks of yarn hung on metal rods are then dipped into this solution and rotated to ensure even dye penetration. The hanks are removed and the process repeated three more times, the colour darkening with each penetration, the yarn is cooled and rinsed.

 

All Dhurries are woven in weft faced plain weave.

The weaver lays the warp, which must be tied with even tension throughout. The wefts are wound into little rectangular bundles.

The graphic replica of the design where one square represents one knot or a colour coded design sketch on graph paper is sometimes used as an aid during weaving, if the weaver is working on a new or unfamiliar design.

After the creation of the colour shade the weaver inserts a single weft bundle as per requirement of design, then weaves from side to side, weaving colour. A weft-placed with dovetail joins is used for locking the two colours together in the same row.

On completing one line of weft its tightened by beating it down with the panja, to create a rug, which is crisp in design and texture. Finer dhurries with the warp set closer use more delicate seven- tined rather than the usual five-tined panja turning the weft threads around the last few warp threads.

 

Turning the weft threads around the last few warps of each horizontal row reinforces the two vertical edges. A blade, scissors and crescent shaped knife are all used to trim excess weft threads, which may protrude from the rugs surface. the needle and awl are used to pry loose fragments, such as straw or fluff trapped between the wefts during weaving.

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We,the buyers then journey outside of Jaipur for the bumpy drive to the Rajasthan village

and the Dhurrie factory, which have produced our rugs in this time honoured fashion, by skilled artisans on a traditional horizontal or vertical loom.Here over a cup of hot sweet chai, we

negotiate our order, choose our designs and send on a lorry to be packed in cloth bales and shipped to us in the UK.

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Shown here. The women sitting in the factory courtyard, sorting the wool, ready for dying .

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Lisbon – Textile Exhibitions 2014

   We have just returned from our Worldbasket Textile tour in Lisbon.

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View of Sao Vicente de Fora

 

   A wonderful relaxed city, with lovely architecture, cobbled streets and hills so nice to walk up, the narrow back lanes to look down at the city or to sit  in a local cafe, drinking strong  coffee in a sunny plaza.

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Into The Alfama, a labyrinth of tiny streets tumbling down the hillside.

Then walk down the harbour to the Ikat Textile exhibition-Woven Languages- at the Museum de Orient, a comprehensive show of Indonesian  ikats from the collection of Peter Ten Hopen, running until 25th January 2015

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 Here is one of the finest collections of Indonesian ikats, collected over the years with some very rare pieces.

They are beautifully presented , such a privilege to be able to see so many ikats close up and    really appreciate the fineness of the weavings and intricacies of design of these textiles used in day to day and ceremonial occasions , with every Indonesian island producing their own distinctive style of weavings.

Our next textile treat was the Japanese Textile Exhibition – Raw Japan at the Mude, running until 8th February 2015 .

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Raw Japan at the Museu Design Moda, Mude . Baxia, Lisbon

 The simplicity and beauty of the recycled ,mainly indigo fabrics brought back to life with simple patching and stitching into kimonos, jackets and bedcovers was inspiring.

As were the folk craft items used in the home made from clay and brass also aluminum,which was reused from remnants of weaponry from the war, crafted into everyday utensils appreciated in Japan for the pleasure of reusing and recreating useful simple pieces made with traditional skills  with no need for ostentation , the artisan feels no need to sign his work as  the finished article is already an expression of his art .summed up by – my work itself is my best signature.

Truly, Lisbon was a joy for us textile lovers, with global goodies a plenty.

A friendly relaxed city, we will definitely return again.

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 Pousada de Palmela – Castelo de Palmela about 25 kms. South of Lisbon.

On the road again.

Worldbasket team have been at it again! traveling round India buying lovely goodies to sell on our site and at shows.

First stop was our favourite Banjara family to buy Rajasthani gypsy cushions, skirts and wallhangings .

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Lucy buying textiles from Banjara family.

Then out into the country side of Jaipur to the dhurrie factory, where we had great fun designing a

Bianca choosing colours.

Bianca choosing colours.

 

new rug pattern in glorious shades of duck egg blue, dark grey and cream.
We’ll be posting a picture of this this as soon as it is dyed and woven to perfection.

Bianca in the dhurrie workshop.

Bianca in the dhurrie workshop.

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We couldn’t resist the cube pouffes in handwoven wool jute to go with our brightly patchworked range, their so multi functional, put your feet up on them and relax, or
have them next to the sofa for books and cups of tea!

Lucy and Bianca outside the dhurrie workshop.

Lucy and Bianca outside the dhurrie workshop.

Next we went shopping for throws and found great pure cotton emblazoned with both traditional and contemporary designs, so we bought lots of them!

Furniture carriers, on the road back from Jaipur.

Furniture carriers, on the road back from Jaipur.

With our busy week of buying in Rajasthan coming to an end it was time for an outing.

Cool green courtyard at our hotel.

Cool green courtyard at our hotel.

We had a wonderful evening going to the latest Bollywood movie, such fun with amazing dance sequences and then on to dinner at our favourite Jaipur restaurant,
the Four Seasons, yummy local spicy vegetarian food, so much of it and we managed to fit in butterscotch ice cream as well.

Overtaking with caution!

Overtaking with caution!

Then an early start and a drive to Delhi, where we spent the next week whizzing around the bazaars of Old Delhi sourcing the latest designs of scarves in a multitude of colour, bags, jackets and quilts.
Then all we had to do was get all these wonderful purchases to the shippers, sit back and have a chai.

Rooftop restaurant in our hotel in Delhi.

Rooftop restaurant in our hotel in Delhi.

Come and see all this and more at our stand at the Bath and West show on from the 28th. to the 31st. May

Ghanaian Baskets.

 

Baba Tree basket makers
The basket makers with their wears.

New in ,our winter collection of African baskets, these beautiful and practical baskets are a must.

They are so versatile our customers tell us they use them for everything from,collecting fresh produce from
the garden,(they look lovely full of fresh apples) storage of everything from kindling wood by the fire, children’s toys

cats and small dogs adore sleeping in them and of course their wonderful for shopping at any market.

We’re very proud of our baskets as they are Fair trade, meaning that, due to the weavers being paid a fair wage for their craft, the overall effect over the last ten years
has meant basket weaving has attributed to the upgrading of the Bolgatanga region, where these are made.

A load of baskets going off to market.
A load of baskets going off to market.

These baskets are made with straw in the villages around Bolgatanga in the North East of Ghana, the weavers are both men and women, who work sitting on the floor of their houses or under shady trees.

Gathering the straw.
Gathering the straw.

First they split the straw, which is then twisted ready for weaving,

Abugre Abentarah splitting straw. He will, then roll the two strands together making a pliable rope that is used for weaving.
Abugre Abentarah splitting straw. He will, then roll the two strands together making a pliable rope that is used for weaving.

before being dyed by immersion in small pots of hot water to which the desired colour batik dye is

The dyed straw ready for weaving.
The dyed straw ready for weaving.

added, the baskets are then shaped and woven in the traditional African style.
With the final touch being the strong leather handles being stitched.

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The leather handles being stitched on.

These baskets arrive to our warehouse in large sacks with the baskets flattened to make transport more effective.
So we then sprinkle them with water and quickly reshape them.

Drying in the sun.
Drying in the sun.

When you purchase one of our baskets this is how you will receive them, simply place them under a shower spray to dampen them and gently push them into shape
and allow a couple of hours to dry and voila you are the proud owner of an

attractive durable basket, ready to go!

As each basket is unique we photograph each one so you will buy exactly the one you choose from our webpage: http://worldbasket.co.uk/product-category/african-baskets/

A wall of baskets
A wall of baskets