From Tradition to Fashionable Occupation
March 6, 2020
People escaped the way they could: some by donkey, some by horse or on foot. They would cross the river and wait for a car to take them as Azerbaijanis approached the village. My oldest son, Samvel, found a donkey. He took this carpet and another smaller one in a sack and brought it to us. We had already crossed the river. We had 3-4 carpets at home, but we could only take this one. First we were carding the wool and only after that, dyeing it. We would boil the water, add dye and continue boiling with the wool in it. Sometimes elders used acid for better color saturation. Then we dried the threads and started working. The relatives of my grandmother were living nearby and in the evenings we were gathering in our home for carding and spinning wool together. The spinning wheel wasn’t taken to the neighbor’s house but they were spinning thread and carding wool and cotton. In the past we didn’t have electricity and had to weave carpets under the lamp-light while losing our eyesight. When I just came to this house as a bride, the threads of this carpet were ready and my mother-in-law and I started to weave. We decided the patterns depending on the threads we had. In the past, carpets with patterns were hanging only on the walls, It wasn’t accepted to roll it on the floor. I have 2 daughters and according to traditions I gave them as a dowry 3 carpets, one to hang from the wall, the others to put on the floor. The first time I came to this factory, I came to make a profile story about the workers with disabilities. When I saw how the carpets were weaved, I decided to give it a try myself and I liked it. I asked them to teach me too, and they accepted me. It has been already 2 years that I’m combining my work here with the study in the university. I think that a girl, besides studying, should learn a craft. I choose specifically carpet making, and not cooking or hairdressing, as it is one of the oldest crafts. It has been two and half years that we are functioning and I already have branches in Shushi, Hadrut and Jartar. There are 150 employees in all the branches combined. We had 2 goals when we were establishing the factory. The first one was social – to provide jobs for 150 women and the second one was to revive the old tradition of carpet-weaving and continue it. The very first works were just examples of the traditional Karabakh carpets without any changes. In the beginning our aim was to recover and preserve our heritage. Now, parallely, to recover such, we also use our creativity. Our carpets differ from the Kazakh and Tibetan carpets, both in the quality and the techniques that we use. The museum opened in 2013 with the initiative of Vardan Asatryan. Here the personal carpet collection of Vardan Asatryan is exhibited. There are more than 300 carpets from different parts of Karabakh here, but only 100 are represented in the museum, the other part is kept in the fond. From time to time, exhibited ones are replaced with new ones. The oldest carpet in the museum is from the 17th century. It is embroidery work weaved with silk threats and is called “Karabakh”. It is a unique example and there is no other like this in the region. It is unique with its patterns and color arrangement. A popular British magazine wrote an article about this carpet.