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Reproducing an Antique Rug: Dyeing

Included among the carved paneling, antique stained glass windows, antique furniture, and other items that form a room in a Boston institution is a large and beautiful, but worn, rug. The room and the rug have an interesting story. From the 1920’s to the 1980’s the room paneling, the rug, and the other contents graced a financial office in New York City. In the 1980’s the room was dismantled and relocated to Boston.

The 18 x 28 foot rug in the room is a type known as Karaja, named after the village in far Northern Iran where it was woven. Karaja rugs are similar in many ways to the better known Heriz rugs, but differ in structure. By this time the rug was worn and repaired many times. Our client requested Landry & Arcari to recreate this rug in the same size and design.

Landry & Arcari arranged for a new rug to be woven in Northern Pakistan by Afghan Turkmen, who have been expert rug weavers for countless generations. We documented the rug in photographs and computer renderings. To provide the weavers with the colors, we matched the colors in the rugs with color samples. The colors of the new rug, like those of the antique original, will be from indigo, madder, and other plant dyes. The new rug will be sturdier than the original, even when it was new. The weaving technique of the Turkmen creates a denser, firmer rug than that of the Karaja weavers.

We will be receiving pictures from all the stages in the creation of this rug. We start off with dyeing, shown below. We hope to post other pictures here as the rug takes form.

Matching the colors of the rug.Matching the Colors

The Dye HouseThe Dye House

The Master DyerThe Master Dyer

The Madder-Dyed YarnThe Madder-Dyed Yarn

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