The master weavers of Sir Lowry’s pass, the artisans we partner with outside of Cape Town, have mastered their craft of weaving over an 8 month period - learning the various skills needed to produce the 100% Karakul wool rugs. These reversible rugs, with their unique structure and texture, are woven by hand on a cotton warp. For smaller pieces the artisans follow the designs given to them free hand, whereas for the larger designs a method of projecting the pattern onto the wall behind the loom ensures precision and symmetry.
The women come to the cooperative's weaving center from their homes in the surrounding townships and at the same time as earning a living to support their families, the work gives them a chance to come together and spend time exchanging ideas, gossip and laughs. The approximately 50 artisans working in the cooperative are their own bosses: able to decide for themselves how many carpets they weave each month means they are in a position to balance their work load with their other responsibilities.
The group's history goes back several decades when the idea of adapting traditional African weaving traditions to the weaving of carpets out of wool was first put in place. The aim was always to help employ local women in need of a sustainable income and the cooperative hopes to continue to train new artisans and increase the number of women which can be employed. With every carpet woven for Artha we can continue to support this vision.