Fay + Belle
Our custom collection is sourced from Nepal and made with the finest Tibetan wool and natural fiber materials.The creation process represents the finest rug craftsmanship in the world
Sourcing the Materials
Nepalese rugs start with the finest wool found in the Himalayan Mountains of Tibet. It is this region where indigenous Tibetan nomads roam the grasslands to herd yaks and sheep. The nomadic families make their income from selling these same products: animal meat, butter and wool. These planes mark the very beginning of the rug process, where the high altitude and harsh conditions produce coarse, thick, and durable sheep wool. Here the wool is sheared, bundled, and shipped to Kathmandu, Nepal.
Wash, Sort, Spin
After the sheep are sheared, the raw wool is packaged and shipped to Kathmandu where it is washed and cleaned to remove dirt and thorns. Once washed, the natural wool is separated and divided by its naturally-ranging white to brown color. The cleaned and separated wool is then hand spun into long strands and bunched into loops.
Each workshop has its own dye master charged with creating the perfectly dyed yarn. Using Swiss made chemicals and compounds, they mix by hand, like a baker, each individual ARS or custom color. There is no automation to this process; it is all done entirely by hand and eye while working off hand-written recipes.
Once the dyes are prepared, they are mixed with water and heated to pre-specified temperatures. The uncolored yarn is then put onto a simple hand-cranked spinning mechanism, which keeps the yarn slowing moving for color consistency. The master dyer must check the color of the pot yarn against the sample yarn, adding and subtracting dye to make a perfect match.
While the dyes are being created, the designers use software to translate the rug design into a knot-by-knot map of the rug. The life size map is printed and hand colored before being brought to the weavers. Creating this map takes one to two days.
The map becomes the instruction grid for the weavers. A few inches a day are completed as one weaver (or many weavers) begin tying a knot around a pair of warp threads and the metal rod, pulling them tight and repeating the process until he or she comes to the end of the line or needs to change color. The process is dictated by the graph – the master plan for the design – which the weaver follows from the bottom upwards.
Washing + Drying
Once completed, the rugs are washed with water and a small amount of detergent on both sides. Soap and water are squeezed through the pile with wooden paddles. The washing process causes the rigs to shrink a small amount which is why they need to be stretched in the final dying process. The outdoor sun drying process takes three to four days depending on the season and temperature. Because the sun drying can add a slight hue of yellow to the whitest of whites, we dry the lighter runs indoors or shade to maintain a pure color match.
All rugs require finishing from Tibetan Scissors. The fine hairline carving is done along the contours of the different threads to promote color differentiation. This entire shearing process is undertaken by hand to an exact level. Designs that call for variation in pile depth are more complicated and different sections must thus be sheared to different levels for a more three-dimensional effect.