Ten Thousand Villages to host major ‘rug event’

  • Feb. 24, 2016 3:25 p.m.

Staff and volunteers of the Red Deer-based Ten Thousand Villages are gearing up for one of their milestone yearly events – a major rug sale featuring works from Pakistan. The Rug Event runs March 4th to March 19th.

On the evening of March 4th, folks are invited to come out for ‘From Loom to Living Room: The History and Stories Behind Bunyaad Fair Trade Rugs’ which will be held at 7 p.m. at Ten Thousand Villages in downtown Red Deer (4925 – 48th St.)

The evening is ideal for anyone considering an Oriental rug purchase or who would like to learn more about the art of Oriental rug making, rug care and room design.

“It’s a major event – it’s been a year and a half since we had our last event, and we had more than 2,000 lbs of rugs come in which equates to 200 rugs. This year, we should have even more,” said Tina Bale, the store’s manager. It’s a wonderful opportunity for local shoppers to purchase a rug of outstanding quality while making a profound difference in another person’s life. “They are all hand done in the traditional method, so it’s keeping the artistry alive while providing for the people who make them,” she said, adding that families often work together with others in their communities to create the rugs.

“Artisans in Pakistan earn a living wage and North American consumers get an excellent quality rug that has an impact felt around the world.

“They are so beautiful – and when you find out where they come from and what it takes to get it to your home, it just makes them that much more beautiful and cherished.”

From intricate florals to hand-spun natural dye wool tribals, every Bunyaad rug has been designed and hand-knotted by highly-skilled and fairly paid adults. “They will literally last for 100 years. They are definitely an investment piece that can be passed down.”

Those interested in attending the Friday night talk are asked to reserve a spot by calling 403-341-0178.

According to a press release, in many North African, Middle Eastern and Asian factories, workers toil for hours in difficult conditions and for little pay on these types of rugs. And although the situation is improving thanks to global watchdog organizations, children continue to be sold into the industry as slave labour.

That’s where this sale comes in – Ten Thousand Villages partners with Bunyaad, a fair trade organization in Pakistan. Gwen Repeta, Canada rug coordinator, will be sharing the incredible story of Bunyaad rugs during the March 4th evening event.

“We’re seeing a lot of new, trendy designs from Bunyaad. It’s very cool what’s coming down the pipe,” said Repeta, who visited the Lahore facility in January of 2015.

It can take master designers, knotters, washers and finishers months – or even years – to complete each Bunyaad rug. And it’s that workmanship and quality that makes each one so durable, she said.

“A lot of people will throw their rug on the ground and then think, ‘Oh, I can’t walk on it’,” says Repeta. But they shouldn’t worry about wrecking their floor covering. Repeta has seen the metal blades and spiky brushes used to scrub each rug after it has been knotted, sheared and even burned to rid it of fluff and other irregularities.

Ten Thousand Villages creates opportunities for artisans in developing countries to earn income by bringing their products and stories to local markets through long-term, fair trading relationships.

According to the Ten Thousand Villages web site, Bunyaad was started in the late 1960s by a Pakistani Baptist pastor and rug artisan as a way to create and sustain rug knotting jobs in rural villages.

Centered around Lahore, Pakistan, Bunyaad works with both Christian and Muslim artisans, giving people the opportunity to work together, transcending differences of religion, custom and tradition. In this manner, Bunyaad is a peace-building project in addition to being a job creation project, organizers say.

As mentioned, Bunyaad guarantees a fair wage for their artisans.

“In a rural economy that normally leaves people in very uncertain financial circumstances, reliable and consistent payment fosters unprecedented financial planning capacity. And because artisans are paid per knot, rather than speed, it behooves them to make high quality, high knot count pieces. All of this enables artisans to focus on doing quality work with the knowledge that they have the security of a fair income to care for their families’ needs.”

Bale also mentioned that the store will be having an extensive jewellery sale on during the rug sale as well.

For more information about the Rug Event or Ten Thousand Villages in general, call 403-341-0178 or find them on facebook at ‘Ten Thousand Villages Canada’.

editor@reddeerexpress.com

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