Who made the handknotted rug or carpet that graces the floor of your home? Do you even know or care? Perhaps a name familiar in Western design circles comes to mind, or perhaps it is the name of the gallery – the fancy 2020 marketing term for ‘showroom, store, or shop’ – from which you purchased said rug. In either case, and indubitably countless others, neither is likely the name of the firm or people who actually made the rug or carpet, but it is the one the former cohort would prefer you know; because it benefits them.
This scenario is not unique to the world of handknotted rugs and carpets, but in an industry that routinely espouses craftsmanship, artistry, uniqueness, and the so-called ‘mystique of handknotted rugs’ one is left to wonder if all of this is perhaps intentionally opaque as to benefit Western brands, those aforementioned design houses, galleries, and – increasingly so – online rug and carpet retailers of obscured authenticity and identity. Why do Western firms promote the name of the rug designer, the stylist, the photographer, the long dead architect of the carefully coifed setting, the property owner, and the like, but never the actual maker of the rug and carpet they promote? This is asked rhetorically, for the answer is self-apparent.
If the handknotted and handwork rug and carpet industry truly cares about craftsmanship and artistry, which is to say carpetry itself, I posit that it should then supplant egocentric marketing and advertising with that which truly honours those who craft the rugs and carpets we so love and appreciate. Isn’t it time that we truly meet our maker(s)?
📸: Carpet samples shown on loom at Ranta Carpets in Kathmandu, Nepal. This photograph was taken by Rupesh Maharjan (@rupeshmaharjan_ on Instagram) for ECS NEPAL for a feature article on carpetry in Nepal. Ranta was a seminal force in transforming the carpet industry in Nepal during the latter part of the 20th century.