Now in Nepal, a good 800 people work to produce the finest Tibetan carpets for RUG STAR employing centuries-old techniques in hand-knotting those textile marvels. Contrary to other methods of rugmaking, three warps are threaded through the weft at the same time when making the Tibetan. The resulting knot allows for blending fabrics and colors on the loom. A technical detail that perfectly accommodates my preference of working with gradients in our RUG STAR designs. It’s all about the movement on the surface of a hand-knotted rug. But here is the story of how it all began:
As a young student of architecture, I traveled to Nepal for trekking, I think I was just 23 years old. After surrounding the Annapurna, an 8500-meter-high mountain in the Himalayas, I purchased an old Tibetan rug in the size of 90 cm x 150 cm in the mountains. The price was very low, only 50 USD and only later in Europe, I found out that this checkerboard pattern had quite a value. Slowly I started reading more and more about rugs, went back to Nepal to visit the exile Tibetan camps, and started a deeper relationship with some of the Tibetan families. Rugs became my passion and love. It took me around 10 years, the student became an architect and at the age of 33, I made the decision to transform my passion into my profession, a step in my life which I will never regret, for which I feel blessed every single day in my life since then.
In 2002 I founded my company RUG STAR in Berlin, Germany. During the first 7 years, I only worked with the Tibetan weave, which I am now producing with three different workshops in Kathmandu, Nepal.
I had to persuade the people at the manufactory in Nepal first and foremost to break away from the homogeneity that had been instilled in them – encourage them to restore a sense of impulsiveness and identity in the material workmanship and dyeing techniques. It was like having to explain that the key ingredient of a good tomato salad is good-tasting tomatoes rather than standardized tomatoes that are merely suitable for transport. Everything begins at the sources; good wool has a life of its own. That’s where you start, and each subsequent step reinforces the life of the material. Then, the product has a recognizable product soul again later on.
One of our major skills with Tibetan production is to create movement on the surface of the hand-knotted rug, as they use three threads at the same time in every single knot. You can mix colors and material in each “pixel” of the full picture. But to master this “flow” there are many different techniques you have to combine within the production process. It starts with the wool; you select very rich wool which is not monochrome but has small color variations in its structure. You follow up with this idea in the dying process, in Nepal we make a traditional pot dying, the color we dye have already various graduation, the name for this effect is abrash. In the knotting process, we can mix color and material already in one knot and this goes on until the washing process. The secret is to mix techniques that include a random effect. The result is individuality, a unique and a true one of a kind personality in our interior.