Jaipur Rugs-Business with a heart

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Design has been an integral part our lives since the starting. It’s pervasiveness is such that we are unconsciously captivated and intrigued by the articles/objects with the perfect balance of design, colour and texture. It was this balance, which drew Culture Chauraha’s eyes towards Jaipur Rugs at the India Design Fair, 2017.

As we walked towards their display, the designs of the carpets, the abstract with the traditional, the use of soft, muted shades of colours made their intended impact. Gone were the borders, central designs, basically all the traditional layouts we grew up with. It was the most subtle, natural and grounded display, adding to the grandeur of carpets where the design was in sync with the modern trends and executed with an appealing & unique colour palate.

On further interaction, we found out about their store in Mehrauli, Delhi and to our delight, were invited to one of their regular workshops showcasing the process of hand-knotted rugs by the artisans themselves. At the store, we tried our hands on spinning the yarn and were patiently guided through the steps of hand-knotting, one knot at a time by the skilled artisans. Although, it was quite tricky to spin yarn into usable threads, the ease with which Ms. Durga Devi & Mrs Mohani Devi (both hailing from Bikaner) handled the wheel, made it all look so effortlessly simple.

Learning how to spin the yarn with Mrs Mohani Devi & Durga Devi
Getting the knots rights with Mrs Shanti Devi

During and after the workshop, we got time to interact with all the artisans who had come specially from Rajasthan for the workshop and learnt about their motivating journey with Jaipur Rugs. It was heartwarming to hear Mrs Laxmi Devi & Shanti Devi’s (weavers from Manpura) stories of how they learned to weave, got the strength to work, and break traditional notions of women in their villages with the help of the Jaipur Rugs Foundation.

Shanti Devi – Weaver from Manpura, standing in front of the rug “Titli” (butterfly) from the Artisan Originals Collection.
Laxmi Devi – Weaver from Manpura, standing in front of the rug “Memoir”.

With respect to the designing aesthetics, we were pleasantly surprised when the ladies told us about their inspiration and how sometimes they work from memory, not following a graph or a pre-determined pattern. When asked how they manage a repeat without a design layout, their reply was quick & simple “we count the warp and get it right”.

Mohani Devi – Katwari/Spinner from Bikaner, standing in front of the rug “Provenance”.
Durga Devi – Katwari/Spinner from Bikaner, standing in front of the rug “Phir” from the Project Error Collection.

It was refreshing to see the confidence in their work, and a strong sense of community and empowerment being built among the weaver artisans. We were also thrilled to learn of a weaver’s son, who is 21 years old and is being encouraged and trained with the Jaipur Rugs in-house design team. Since he has a flair for making great designs, Jaipur Rugs is helping him go a step further in his area of interest and talent. Needless to say, this is a fine example of a business growing cohesively, whilst reviving an age-old craft teetering on the verge of extinction within a socially responsible business model.

Founders of Culture Chauraha (Ritu Sangal & Smriti Sangal) with the artisans at the Jaipur Rugs Store. L-R: Ritu Sangal, Laxmi Devi, Smriti Sangal, Jagdish Prasad, Mohani Devi, Shanti Devi, Durga Devi, Meghna Jain

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