The Persian Gabbeh rug: known for it's deliciously thick pile that your feet sink into and unique in that it is pretty much the only authentic Persian rug that is very simple and plain in design. Personally, it has always been one of my favourites, and it always my choice of rug in a snug living room.
They come in four main colours: cream, red, blue, and green. The cream is the most popular, but has often been criticised for being a little bit too 'golden' or 'yellow' in tone. So, over at Lilla Rugs, we decided to work with a team of weavers to get the Persian Gabbeh's to a place that would be perfect for the Western home. We focussed on keeping the wool to its natural colour tone, avoiding anything interfering with the colour and thereby changing it's colour to a darker/ more golden shade. The main focus was to ensure the cream coloured Gabbeh's were as light in colour as possible.
We're pleased to say that this has all paid off and we're so happy with our latest collection of Persian Gabbeh rugs, that are now live. They are completely unique to Lilla Rugs, which also feels a little bit special.
I thought it would be nice to share some behind the scenes snaps, so that you too can understand the process involved with these gorgeous pieces.
First things first, what are Persian Gabbeh rugs?
Gabbeh (sometimes known as Gabba) rugs are tribal Persian rugs. They are characterised by abstract designs, often minimal with playful; geometric motifs. They are popular among the populations of the Zagros Mountains in Iran, known as the Kurdish, Luri and Qashqai tribes.
1. The Weaving
Gabbeh rugs are made by the nomadic Qashqai tribes of southern Iran. They are rough cut and long piled rugs, made from a great quality of wool. They are woven on ground looms, on the floor. Historically, nomads were often on the move, so it had to be a process that could easily be rolled up and transported throughout its weaving stages. They are carefully knotted, one knot at a time, with a natural wool. The cream coloured Gabbeh's you see are untouched. The colourful Gabbeh's you see are dyed using vegetables.
2. The Washing
Once the rug has been weaved, it goes through a washing process, to get rid of any excess fibres and impurities. This process is all done by hand and uses no chemicals. This is a crucial part of the process for the natural coloured Gabbeh's in particular. If any chemicals interfere with the wool, it will of course change its colour tone. We are super careful to ensure its natural colour and beauty are preserved.
3. The Clipping
If you see a Persian Gabbeh rug just off the loom, the pile will be incredibly long. Once washed it is carefully clipped to create a shorter pile. As far as Persian rugs go, the Gabbeh's have the most dense and highest of piles. In the photo below, on the left, you can see how the pile looks more 'shaggy' as the clipping process is not quite complete. The fringes also have yet to be cut here.
4. The Washing & Clipping again, and once more
Yep, that's right, step 3 is repeated not once more, but twice. In the photo on the right you can see how the pile is near to fully clipped.
5. The Straight Check
After the washing process, there is always a risk that the wool has shrunk slightly. One by one the rugs are laid out and stretched if necessary, to ensure they are at the correct size for the weave, but also that the edges are nice and straight.
6. All set!
After the whole process above is complete, the rugs are ready to be shipped to the London Warehouse. They are carefully wrapped and protected, and sent on a plane. Before they leave, we also add on leather strips on the reverse side edges. This just further protects the edges from wear. See photo below, on the left.
7. Like Magic... They are in the London Warehouse
When they arrive, they are immediately unpacked and laid out in our warehouse to avoid any creasing.
8. Photograph & Upload.
Final step is to get all the rugs photographed and then uploaded to the Lilla Rugs website. Here are some of our favourites, by size & a bonus 'Jazzy' category:
SMALL PERSIAN GABBEH RUGS
MEDIUM PERSIAN GABBEH RUGS
LARGE PERSIAN GABBEH RUGS
THE PERSIAN GABBEH RUNNERS
THE JAZZY PERSIAN GABBEH RUGS
If you have any questions about the process of our Persian Gabbeh rugs, please do reach out. I'd love to hear from you! We'll end with a photo of one of our Persian Gabbeh rugs in situ, the TALLULAH rug.