Serendipity followed me throughout my recent buying and product development trip to India and Nepal for Oscar Isberian Rugs. On my way to Lucknow, the capital city of the state of Uttar Pradesh, I met by chance an Indian fashion designer who introduced to me to a fine hand-embroidering technique called chikin, so beautiful that we will explore using it on new flat woven rugs. Ironically, my luck held out in Lucknow, where I found stunning and unusual uses of cashmere, mohair and other exotic materials for flat weaves the likes of which we have never seen.
In Jaipur, which is always one of the richest treasure troves for high-end, luxurious weaving, we found a beautiful rug with intricately woven silk on a wool ground. The effect was most unusual, with the wool appearing in relief as the silk floats to the forefront. Every wool knot was trimmed by hand down to one millimeter, revealing the silk design in full. It was a thrill to see and we look forward to bringing it to the States.
Varanasi, the oldest inhabited city in the world, dating back to the 11th or 12th century BC, was worn around the edges, as expected. An assault to the senses, the holy city on the banks of the Ganges had for us a selection value-driven product for an upcoming project that takes us outside of our luxury comfort zone, while providing us a unique opportunity to help a client in need of atypical product from Oscar Isberian.
Surprises continued in Nepal, where we went to visit weavers with whom we have a long and trusted relationship. Travel is critical in this business, we’re reminded of time and time again. This trip proved that in spades. While browsing designs with our weavers, we stumbled upon a selection of new textures which they had archived/discarded, believing they were unappealing. However, with our Western eyes, we discovered new weaves that are quite beautiful and exciting. That’s not all. We also uncovered groundbreaking use of Persian knots by our Nepali weavers, a development that is creating entirely new knotting structures and paving the way in Nepal for more intricate designs and antiqued textures.
Worry not, those purists among you. Breathtaking new Tibetan-style rugs are emerging even as I speak, which elevate Tibetan weaving and textures to levels never before seen. Sorry, but we are keeping these hush-hush for now. I can promise you they will be worth the wait!