Over dyed rugs – history and technique
Over dyed rugs help preserve beautiful traditions and history for the generations to come and promote recycling, as the process utilizes worn-out carpets. This also makes them a very affordable option, as over dyed rugs can be bought for a fraction of the price of any vintage or antique carpet. Thanks to a very different structure of every rug and dyes used, each one of them is a unique and special piece of weaving art. Buying an over dyed rug is not as challenging as looking for an authentic antique one but can still be difficult for an inexperienced buyer.
While the technique of overdying became popular globally, it was incented in Turkey. It is the centre of the most beautiful over dyed rugs that use authentic hand-knotted carpets. The process itself is carried out solely on the pieces which are either antique or vintage, meaning that they have to be at least 50 years old. The carpets are hand-dyed in a five step-process which ensures the intensity of color and its almost legendary endurance, as the color can stay intact for many years. First, the rug is bleached in order to remove any dye left on a pile or just to fade it. Next, the new dye, made from natural resources such as vegetables, is applied and the rug is subsequently acid-washed. Then the rugs are carefully cleaned in order to set the color. After hand-washing it to get the desired hue, the carpet is dried under the sun, setting the new colors permanently on its surface. This whole operation does not remove the pattern – instead, it is reduced to just an outline, creating a solid foundation. Majority of over dyed rugs display quite a few shades, which are a result of the uneven surfaces and original pattern.
There is also a different technique of overdying which involves creating a patchwork carpet with parts salvaged from old rugs destroyed by time or elements and hand-sewn together using yarn. Their colorings may vary from boldly contrasting to shades of the same tone. After putting the carpet together, it goes through the whole dyeing process. The results are stunning – new dye emphasizes the beauty of carpet’s parts, creating a truly modern and elegant composition. What you get is an enticing composition, where every single part has its own fascinating history, showing a wide spectrum of patterns and weaving techniques.
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If you consider buying an over dyed rug, make sure that what you are looking for for is a hand-knotted (not hand-tufted) authentic vintage or antique carpet! The rugs which are commonly over dyed are usually Turkish and Persian ones, so your rug dealer must be honest about the materials and a place of origin of the rug. Of course carpets from other countries can also be over dyed, but they are less common.
What makes over dyed rugs so special is not only their beauty, but also the whole philosophy they stand for. By giving old carpets a new life, they add a splash of color to our lives, dominated by cookie cutter products. Each and every single rug is a work of contemporary art that can enrich any type of room, instantly becoming its focus. However you want to use your very own over dyed rug, it will surely become a beloved part of your household for years to come.