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home > hand woven woollen wall hangings > info

floriade in close-upThe Making of our Hand Woven Woollen Wall Hangings

The work at Tapisseries la Mere (TLM) takes place on large, old-fashioned hand looms. The looms are lined with a cotton warp and the tapestry is woven on the warp, one colour detail at a time.

The weaver quickly picks up a few of the warp threads with her fingers, and threads the wool through it. She then beats the wool in place with a large comb. After one line of wool is woven, she changes the position of the warp using the foot pedals of the loom, and puts in place the next line.

The weaver carefully follows the design, which is hanging behind the warps of the loom, and can be seem by looking through the threads. It is a large sheet of paper with a lot of contour lines on it, marking the edges of the different colours. Using a system of numbers, the weaver knows which colour to use where. Every colour detail is woven separately, this is incredibly labour intensive, but creates stunning results.



dhanalakshmi weaving 'dawn sky'


The women working on the large looms are incredibly skillful. Their nimble fingers quickly pick up the threads and put the wool in place while accurately following the design. Their feet move the warp in sync with their hand work.

A wall hanging is built up detail by detail, and it is very important that the right amount of force is used when beating the wool in place. A small detail requires a relatively light touch, whereas a larger part needs a firm touch. When the force used is not balanced, the wall hanging will be baggy.

Dhanalakshmi working on 'Dawn Sky'





weaving 'floriade'


Due to the complexity of the weaving process, it takes a long time before the women are fully trained. In the beginning, the women will weave only simple designs and smaller size wall hangings. The larger and more complex designs can only be woven by women with at least three years' experience. It takes from 2 weeks to 2 months to make a standard size wall hanging (60*100cm), depending on the complexity of the design.

It is no wonder then that a bond grows between the weaver and her work. The circle is only completed when the wall hanging is bought and taken home by an appreciative buyer, to be enjoyed for many years.




two girls in rooms with loom


Working conditions at TLM are excellent, the working areas are well lit and ventilated, and the women get paid a wage that is above the local minimum wage, also during their time as apprentices. They work from 8 to 5 with a one hour lunch break and two tea breaks. All employees can take part in a savings scheme, which enables them to save 10% of their income, and whereby their inlay is doubled by the company. The money they save in this way becomes available when they leave the company, and it is usually a sizeable amount.

There is also a medical insurance in place. If an employee lives at some distance from her work, she can take part in the bicycle project. This allows her to buy a bike and with help of the company, pay for it in small instalments. Quite a few women have taken part in the project, as the neat line of bikes in front of the building shows.






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