Ten Thousand Villages brings fair-trade rug event to the Alcazar

Mohammad Imran works as a rug finisher at the Bunyaad warehouse in Lahore, Pakistan. 

Ten Thousand Villages is bringing a fair-trade rug event to Cleveland Heights. Although these rugs from Pakistan are not literally made of magic, they seem enchanted for the people who made them, bringing these artisans good fortune and recognition.

Ten Thousand Villages, in the Cedar Fairmount Business District, is a local nonprofit fair trade retail store that, for the third consecutive year, will bring the popular Fair Trade Oriental Rug Event to the historic Alcazar Hotel. The event will offer more than 300 high-quality hand-knotted Bunyaad rugs for sale.

The Fair Trade Oriental Rug Event is not an ordinary sale; it is an opportunity to give recognition to the artisans who spend their hours, days and weeks weaving and knotting these unique rugs. They are cut, shaped, threaded and knotted to perfection by adults—no child labor is involved—who receive fair wages for their work.

Each rug purchase supports the education and livelihood of people in Pakistan, from widowed single mothers to unmarried family members working to support their families. Because of Ten Thousand Villages’ efforts selling products from authentic producers, the artisans now have lifelong support for the craft that has been their legacy.

Yousaf Chaman, director of the Bunyaad rug program, said “When artisans know they are paid for every knot they tie, they are empowered to focus on the fine details of intricate rugs that will last for generations.” Many of the rugs are made of hand-sheared wool that is hand spun and hand dyed with extracts from fruits and vegetables, then carefully crafted and woven by the artisans over a period of a few months.

“Many of the artisans work together with their looms and discuss village issues, environmental concerns, improvements for the schools, so Bunyaad goes beyond rug making,” Chaman added. "It also opens the door for equal opportunity for women, who earn the same wage for their work as their male counterparts.”

A special preview evening is scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 24 at 6:30 p.m. for those who wish to view the collection before the sale or learn more about how these rugs are made—their traditional designs and techniques and the stories of the people who make them. Reservations for the preview event can be made by calling 216-575-1058.

Sonal Dhiman

Sonal Dhiman is a writer who lives in Elyria. She works in the marketing department at Ten Thousand Villages, Cleveland.

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Volume 8, Issue 9, Posted 1:48 PM, 08.31.2015