The textile market has numerous carpet designs from all over the world. In this article, we focus on traditional rugs made in old Europe, and more specifically, in France, Russia, and Sweden.
Although the origin of Aubusson rugs is shrouded in mystery, the most interesting fact about these traditional european rugs is that weavers still make them by hand in a small village outside Paris. Development of these rugs connects to the Italian Renaissance in Tuscany, which inspired the need to express nature through painting. This craft advanced with the introduction of three-D paintings by Filippo Brunelleschi in 1413. At the time, weaving a rug that showed a depth perspective was challenging, but the French weavers solved this problem. These weavers created weaving motifs that had depth and appearance, a tradition that birthed the Aubusson tapestry. They applied a similar method in making Aubusson carpets, only this time the wool, cotton and carpets were stronger to withstand constant footfall.
These European carpets owe their existence to the craftspeople of Finland, Sweden, and Norway. Traditional Scandinavian rugs incorporated symmetric knots directly to the warp via a custom wooden backing. Weavers would then insert the knotting through small holes in the weave using a tapestry needle. The most noteworthy weaver of Scandinavian rugs is Marta Maas-Fjetterstrom, who made pieces that depicted the intimacy of nature through a modernist approach to geometry and lines. Marta’s pieces won her a sterling reputation in the industry and her pieces adorn the most high-end museums in the world. Even today, Scandinavian weavers continue to dominate the market with enduring pieces that reflect the design elements and ideals of their culture.
The name Bessarabian refers to a rugs and tapestry technique that hailed from Russia, and Ukraine under the Ottoman rule. Contrary to the Persian rugs that referenced the tribal towns of their weavers, Bessarabian rugs reference the intended market, rural or urban. Weavers of these carpets incorporated flat-weaving or knotted pile techniques. These rugs have a mainly floral motif that works well with a solid background such as brown or black.
The history of Savonnerie rugs points to Pierre DuPont, a weaver in the 17th century who claimed to have invented the technique of making Turkish rugs using Ghiordes knot. At the time, oriental rugs were pricey thus limiting their market to the elite class of old Europe and the Middle East. DuPont teamed up with Simon Lourdet, a soap manufacturer that was going out of business. This duo started weaving carpets for kings and nobles who presented them as grand gifts to diplomats and other elites. DuPont and Lourdet later split up but continued making the Savonnerie carpet separately. In the late 17th century, the French updated the Savonnerie designs with brighter colours and Rococo elements. Savonnerie carpets use Ghiordes knot that has a symmetrical structure. The weaver passes a single weft yarn over two warps pulling through in between then severing the yarn to make a pile. This technique made durable rugs that were superior to the tapestries that could only hang on the wall. Savonnerie rugs could withstand wear and tear, hence making them ideal for flooring purposes.
Your choice of rug highly depends on your taste preferences, but if you are looking to buy timeless pieces that reflect a time gone by, European carpets are an ideal choice.