|Tree of Life design|
I saw them making silk rugs. It starts with these dry silk cocoons which were harvested from the silk worm, and dried for later use. They don't look like much at all, in fact I initially thought it was made just to fool tourists, but it is the authentic way silk is produced.
When they begin to make a rug, the cocoons are placed in water, and then threads of fine silk are made by pulling them with a dried bunch of sticks or something. Look closely, you will see the tiny strands being pulled up from the cocoon pods in the water. It is remarkable how anyone would have ever figured this out centuries ago from something so basic in nature.
Perhaps the fact that this is basically the same process that was started back in the 13th century that fascinated me. The modern western world has my generation far removed from this kind of basic textile production, although then again I am a city kid. Anyway I digress.
The threads are pulled into a looming machine which create twisted strands of silk thread. They explained to me that silk has a very high "tensile strength" and can be twisted easily into fine strands. The thread from just one of these silk cocoons can stretch up to an amazing 82,000 feet. Remarkable, huh? Now for the really cool part.
The women who were learning the skill of hand-knotting were developing a skill they could use to make rugs in their own home for income. In this photo, the lady is tying individual tiny hand knots on each vertical strand you see. She uses different colored thread, following a distinct pattern, working horizontally one row at a time. It is very very slow work as you can imagine.
This photo may give you a better idea. Here is another rug in production. Above the bar is a photo of the pattern the person will follow for all the hand knots. Depending on the size of the rug and the pattern, a single large rug could take 8 months to make. Again, no wonder why they are so expensive- these are not mass-produced machine made rugs.
Here is one of my Turkish rugs, which Owen seems to be quite fond of for napping in the afternoon sun. I sometimes think the pets get as much pleasure from them as I do. Not surprisingly they prefer to lounge on the rug instead of the bare tile floor. But why is it that Own insists on running to the carpet when he has a hairball? ::sigh:: Oh well, if I wanted to live in a museum I wouldn't have pets. Nothing in my home is more important than the living creatures within, even my beloved Turkish carpets.