After asking around, I choose Brothers Carpets in Baku as my carpet maker and went to their shop to start the design process. I flipped through their picture book of carpets, looking for design elements I liked. I quickly settled on this buta example as the basis for my carpet. The buta is a popular decorative motif in Azerbaijan, and is familiar to Americans as an element of the paisley design. I love the buta shape, and wanted it to feature prominently in my carpet. I added and subtracted some other symbols until I had exactly the design I wanted.
|The buta basis for my carpet|
The next step was picking the colors. One of the reasons I hadn't found an Azeri carpet I liked was that most of them have a lot of deep, dark reds. I wanted a carpet with brighter colors, especially bright blue. I picked a bright blue as the background color for the whole carpet, and then added green, yellow, and orange to the traditional red, white, and black carpet colors.
|Yarn colors for my carpet|
With the design and colors set, the carpet maker mapped out the diagram of my carpet. This was done on graph paper, creating an exact drawing of the carpet, showing precisely where each color and design element should go.
|My carpet on graph paper|
Using this diagram, the weaving could finally begin. Two women hand-wove my carpet in their home workshop in Baku. It's a large carpet - 3 meters x 2 meters, which is roughly 6.5 feet x 9.5 feet. It is also 65 knots per square centimeter, which I'm told is high density and means higher quality. But not knowing much about carpet production, I'll just have to take their word on that. What I do know is that it required a lot of work - 9 months to be exact!
|Weaver working on my carpet|
But after all that work, I am now the proud owner of my own Azerbaijani carpet, with designs and colors that I love!
|The blue buta carpet of my design|
|Bellini and Cosmo signal their approval!|