ORIENTAL RUG AND CARPET FINISHING PROCESSES


Natural Capitalism Solutions of USA is trying to find better, healthier
ways of finishing oriental carpets and rugs. Our correspondence on the subject is
given below as it could be of interest to students of traditional carpet weaving technology.

 

Subject: Dry Finishing Process
Date: Fri, 20 Jan 2006 13:19:20 -0700
From: Brianna Buntje
To: info@mannamcarpets.com

Can you please explain the dry finishing process you use on the production of your rugs?
Does this completely replace the chemical washing process that is usually used?

Thank you,

Brianna
Natural Capitalism Solutions
Eldorado Springs, CO 80025
USA

Subject: Re: Dry Finishing Process
Date: Sun, 22 Jan 2006 22:30:04 +0500
From: Tariq Habib Mirza
Organization: Mannam Carpets
To: Brianna Buntje

Dear Brianna,

The dry finishing process is mechanical and 100% chemical free. Throughout the
process the carpet remains absolutely dry. Very briefly it consists of

1) Combing the pile very carefully and thoroughly during the weaving process after each
row of knots is tied so that the pile fibres are disentangled and lie parallel to each other,
imparting a rare clarity to the design. The finishing is thus very much a part of the weaving
process itself.

2) Once the weaving is done, the whole carpet is again combed and brushed, literally
hundreds of times, till it is completely cleansed and the wool pile acquires that very desirable,
characteristic look and full-bodied texture with which all ladies, who subject their own hair
to prolonged brushing, are quite familiar.

3) The carpet pile is then sheared by hand.

The advantages of this method are many. To list just a few:

1) As the wool retains all its resilience, this results in a strong, less pliable fabric. The brushing
and combing give the design an extraordinary crispness: the colours and motifs look almost
like inlaid gemstones. The carpet has a texture and handle that is unmistakably different.
Such a carpet, given the care that any valuable textile deserves, will definitely improve with
use over many generations instead of withering away within a decade as most chemically
washed carpets do.


2) The method is green. It is labour friendly. The workers are not exposed to dangerous
chemicals like caustic soda, acids, bleaches etc to which they most definitely are in the
chemical washing process. If you are not familiar with third world working conditions take
it from me that unfortunately in carpet washing units even rudimentary precautions are
almost never taken. Also carpet washing units tend to be located in the poorest, most densely
populated areas where, there being no proper drainage, the effluent poses a serious health
hazard, particularly for children.

There is only one serious disadvantage to the dry finish method. The process being
lengthy and time consuming is very expensive. This has always been so and has therefore
been primarily used for darbari or court carpets. Shearing a 9' x 12' chemically washed carpet
takes 3, at most 7 days. We have just completed shearing of a dry finished 10' x 13' carpet -
it took our shearing master a full 2 months and 3 days to do it.

Surprisingly I cannot find any reference to this method in the literature. It deserves to be
recorded in full detail with illustrations as it's a dying art of which the new generation of
carpet makers have no knowledge. I fear that as the old practitioners pass away the
technique will disappear without a trace.

You have touched a raw nerve.

Regards

Tariq Mirza


Subject: Re: Dry Finishing Process
Date: Thu, 02 Mar 2006 12:37:03 -0700
From: Brianna Buntje
To: Tariq Habib Mirza

Tariq,

I apologize for my delay in writing back to you. I wanted to thank you for taking the time to
explain the dry finishing process to me. I believe that your traditional method is the superior
way to finish carpets and that because of your technique you have a better product to offer the world.
I also wanted to thank you for your openness in explaining the variation in techniques used in Pakistan.
I have had much difficulty with other carpet companies to get feedback on the processes they use.

I am hoping you could help me with an additional piece of information. I am trying to find a
way to treat the waste water that is created from wet finishing techniques.
I realize that many carpet weavers will not take the time to convert their process to
dry finishing, So instead I would like to be able to offer them a way to treat the water
so it won't contaminate the surrounding environment and drinking water.

Do you know how much water is used to create a single carpet? How much water is disposed of
after a carpet is made? I know this water is full of chemicals, but I am curious as to how much
chemicals compose the waste water that is thrown into the environment. If you have any information
I would be extremely grateful for your insight.

I really hope that the information you can provide can really make a change in the methods
used in carpet production.

Thank you again for all your time and care in assisting me with my research

Brianna


Subject: Re: Dry Finishing Process
Date: Mon, 06 Mar 2006 20:46:51 +0500
From: Tariq Habib Mirza info@mannamcarpets.com
Organization: Mannam Carpets
To: Brianna Buntje

Brianna,

You'll certainly be doing a great service by reducing the contamination of both the
environment and the drinking water.

About 10 years ago I tried to persuade the carpet manufacturers association here to look
into this problem but came up against surprisingly stiff resistance. But today I do believe
things are somewhat different. Many manufacturers might not be averse to your solution
provided of course it is not too expensive. One thing in your favour today is that truly large
operations under one roof have come up who should be amenable to pressure from the
major carpet buyers in the US. The US importers could provide valuable and persuasive
support for your system.

I'm afraid I have no concrete figures and I doubt if my guestimates could be a substitute
for properly gathered statistics. You'll probably need to collect accurate on the
ground figures and get various samples of the effluent chemically analysed. Do you have any
partners working for you here in Pakistan ? I could help them get access to washing units for
gathering the information you require.

Yours is a very exciting project. I wish you every success.

Regards

Tariq

 


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