The journey from the sheep to the wool rug is a long way, frought with hours of twistings, dippings and double-knottings. I got to watch snippets of this process at a rug factory in Turkey.
This painting shows several skeins of wool yarn hanging above bottles of natural dyes. A worker explained that the Cochineal insect can be used for reds and pinks, but watch out, it fades. Daisies are good for yellow dye, and black walnuts for dark brown, he said.
His demonstration was particularly interesting. When he removed the wool from the vat of blue dye, the color was very pale. "Watch closely now," he said. As the wool soaked in the oxygen outside the vat of dye, the pale color turned vibrant right before our eyes.
The worker also gave us the sales pitch that a well-made rug becomes part of the family, an heirloom that increases in beauty as it is passed from one generation to another. When I returned home, I looked at my inexpensive rugs and knew they were perfect for my rather chaotic life. Besides, I want to pass on my paintings to the next generation.
Happy music and art, Cinder LeDell
Stories in Paint by Cinder LeDell © 2001