“Nakshar” / Cartoon
Before weaving begins, a “design rendering”, sometimes called a cartoon or “nakshar” must be created. Usually drawn freehand on graph paper, each square represents a single knot.
More than just a shape and color pattern, the “nakshar” indicates to the weavers the type and quality of rug to be reproduced. Any variation requires the drawing and painting of an additional cartoon; also copied by hand.
Design resources are many and varied. Sometimes inspiration is drawn from an existing “nakshar”, sometimes from the creative imagination of the designer; perhaps adding a delicate persian pattern or an intricate european motif.
Today, buyers from all over the world strongly influence the design and color elements of hand-knotted rugs and even the trends seen in today’s fashion and home textile industries often have a strong bearing on rug manufacturing.
Once the rug is completed designs are stored and cataloged for further reference.
Remarkably, despite being firmly entrenched in a computer-age society, hand drawn, hand painted and hand copied is still the most common method of “nakshar” creation.
Rugs are woven on looms of various sizes, the width of the loom dictating the width of the rug.
Despite the simplistic, antiquated look, the frame is robust enough to support warp and weft strings of varying tension for the entire time the rug is secured to the loom.
Preparation requires a great deal of precision and patience as literally thousands of warp strings must be painstakingly placed in position. Together with the weft strings, the warp strings form the physical foundation or skeletal structure of the forthcoming rug.
Traditional weaving techniques have been traced back almost three thousand years.
The type of knots used, relate directly to a specific region or ethnic group, the obvious examples being a persian knot or a Turkish knot.
Interpretation or translation of the design from the “nakshar” also varies from place to place.