The dye workshop
Here, yarns are colored using plant-based dyes using traditional Azerbaijani methods. Seemingly simple but complex in reality, these methods require great skill from the masters. To obtain the seven major colors – red, green, yellow, blue, navy, black, and white – and their different shades for carpet use, the leaves, timber, peel and fruits of plants like madder, licorice, wild hemp, walnut, pomegranate, oak, chestnut, buckthorn, mulberry ,sallow-thorn, elder-berry, quince, and so on in addition to the roots of madder (marena) are used.
For example, to attain the color yellow and its shades, onion and apple peel, sarichop, and autumn mulberry leaves are used. Madder is used for red and pink, and indigo is employed forblue, navy and green. At the end of the dyeing process, the master adds a hardening substance like salt, alum or vinegar to increase intensity and durability.Later, dyed skeins are pressed in special cabinets and dried in hot cells. During the selection of the dyes and dyeing process as a whole, the different characteristics of silk and wool yarns are taken into consideration.
The complete process of dyeing the yarn and strengthening its color guarantees artistic and aesthetic brilliance of the carpet.
Design is one of the key contributors to the success of each carpet. In this sense, major responsibility falls on carpet designers. Professional artists with a vast knowledge of the secrets of the carpetswho develop compositions, define technical parameters, position each "knot" on squared paper and specify the range of colors and shades work at "Azer-Ilme". To date, approximately 1000 colorful classic and modern carpet designs from the Baku, Karabakh, Shirvan, Gazakh-Borchali, Tabriz, Iravan, Nakhchivan, Guba and Ganja groups of Azerbaijan have been woven here. In addition to the compositions that are specific to each group, carpet artists combine the patterns and elements from two or more groups with successful results.
Thus, compositions created by Azerbaijanis over thousands of years now decorate international museums and private collections; designs that were almost forgotten are created and revived on new carpets.
At "Azer-Ilme" weavers from different districts have the opportunity to realize their fantasies and skills on carpets on the basis of historical carpet traditions without using the designs created by artists. The carpets woven by carpet weaving women using the techniques they acquired from their grandmothers and mothers are the true successors of the ancient Azerbaijan national carpets. In this case the technical indicators like color, pattern choice, size, density, the height of the pile are identified by the weaver. In addition to being a production success, this is the result of the search of creativity and the continuation of classic traditions.
High quality portrait carpets are also woven at "Azer-Ilme" on special order. These carpets, woven on the basis of sketches produced by carpet artists, are distinguished by their high quality, accuracy of depiction, and specific colors, borders and ornamental decoration.
The weaving workshop
Silk or wool Azerbaijani pile and flat weave carpets in different sizes (from 1m² to 40m²) with a density between 35x60 knots and 55x65 knots in 1 dm2are woven in the shortest time at "Azer-Ilme" weaving workshops. The looms are constructed from high quality materials. The carpets are woven using special knives with hooked tips, heve (hammer comb), and scissors reflecting ancient traditions. Carpet weavers masterfully copy simple and complex compositions onto various-sized carpets with accuracy, based on the designs. These carpets please consumer tastes and have found their way into the interiors of modern apartments due to their colors and compositions.
"Azer-Ilme" carpets were demonstrated as modern examples of ancient carpet art of Azerbaijan at the 1997 exhibition in Atlanta, USA, in Hanover, Germany in 1999, and in 2003 in Moscow, Russian Federation. These carpets were critically acclaimedby international experts. Such carpets now hang in private collections and homes worldwide including in the USA, Germany, France, Turkey, Russia, Australia, Japan, Switzerland, Italy, Norway, South Africa, and other countries.
Washing, drying and ironing
Once separated (cut) from the loom the carpet is still not fully ready for use. At "Azer-Ilme", once the weaving is finished, carpets are cleaned of dust and pile trimmings in process of "movement" inside beech wood cabinets. Then they are washed in special pools with water, soap and natural detergents.
One of the beauty secrets for smooth, bright pile is the modern ironing method.
At this point, whether the carpet is pile weave or flat weave, or made of silk or wool is taken into account as these technical parameters dictate the correct ironing temperature.
Pulling the carpet
One of the final stages of carpet production at "Azer-Ilme" is called pulling. At this point, elastic silk and wool is woven into the carpets; therefore, any disproportion is observed in their width and length. To remove this defect, carpets are laid on wooden floors and pulled from the top and bottom or from both sides.
The carpet is erected right from the middle by wood and is ironed from the back at the established height; then it is pulled tight again and held in the same position for two days. As a result, any curvature on the surface is removed.
Weavingshortfallsorphysical wear and tearalong with incomplete carpets are restored here. First, the technical specifications, age and dyeing methods are determined by professionals at "Azer-Ilme". Thisis a prerequisiteto restorethe damagedcarpet with accuracy andprecision. Colored yarn is selected in accordance with thecarpetand the restorative work is completed in line withthe existing design. The replacementof eachdamagedknot gives a second life to the carpet.
One of the most significant achievements of "Azer-Ilme" in terms of promoting carpet weaving is the foundation of the "Carpet Weaving Education Center" in 2013, aspart of the company. The center meets the demands of modern standards.