07 June 2012

Meet my new living room carpet

I just ordered this carpet the other day. I've been in the market for a handmade carpet for years and finally, I chanced upon an opportunity to take care of the glaring hole in my living room decor.

I've been coveting handmade carpets for years but I've always been concerned about the conditions under which they're made. Enter Novica, a world marketplace that operates in association with National Geographic. Novica gave me a $200 credit that I used toward my carpet.

Novica is sort of like a developing world Etsy in that that site connects artisans from all over the world and allows them the opportunity to sell their wares directly to end users. In my case, my carpet was woven by a man in India named Khalil Ahmed. Here's his statement from Novica's website:

I come from a long lineage of carpet weavers. My ancestors have been in this field for more than centuries now. We are five brothers and two sisters, and we grew up as witnesses to the craft of weaving at home. I remember how enthralled we would be every time we saw varied colors merging into different weaves.

I was just in school when I began to learn this art. I was taught by my father and older brothers, and at the time it was like a game that offered moments of great fun. As I grew up I took the loom and began to weave my own pieces. It felt so amazing when I finished my first piece!

It took me almost three years to learn the fine art of weaving. At first my designs were simple and now, as I've gained mastery, they are more intricate. It also has to do with what people want. Before they wanted simple and elegant designs, but nowadays they are more demanding, not only in design, but also in terms of quality and price. It is therefore my responsibility to update my designs and work with quality materials to fulfill people's expectations and requirements.

As a family, we have seen some hard times. I remember a period during my childhood when the situation was so bad I had to work at a tobacco company all day for only a couple of Rupees. I still to cringe to remember those days, but I do not blame my parents. I know they were extremely difficult times, and that was the only option.

I have seen really bad days in my time, but they have given me the strength and determination to do well in life. For example, I had always dreamt of going abroad, so I worked hard and I realize my dreams. In 1992, I went to London for an exhibition. I also got the opportunity to go to Turkistan and Brazil. They were all wonderful experiences.

Before there were only a few families who designed and wove rugs, and people would have to come to our homes to buy them. Nowadays there are more opportunities for us weavers to sell our rugs and carpets with exhibitions happening every now and then. They offer us to show our products to more people rather than relying only with visitors coming to our homes.

It fills me with great pride to tell you that in 2002, I won National Award for one of my hand-woven dhurrie rugs.

It's a great feeling to be in this field, carrying on such a precious family legacy. I only wish that my children will take forward this art.
I'll write more about my purchase and Novica in the coming weeks after my carpet arrives. It shipped from Khalil's studio this morning and I ought to have it in two weeks. In the meantime, take a look through Novica's offerings. They're providing a forum where the developing world and the West can interact directly. This allows anybody to impact developing world lives personally.

It's precisely these kinds of direct interactions that make the world a smaller and better place. Thank you Novica.


  1. My first thought: Etsy + Kiva = Novica

    Also, love that carpet. (I think I love it more knowing the story and the person behind it.)

    We live in a good age.

  2. Thanks Kelly and I can't wait 'til that carpet gets here. Not to be confused with Kiva, but users can also make micro loans to the artisans who sell through Novica. It's a great program and yes, we do live in a good age.

  3. Thank you for introducing me to Novica. I wouldn't consider buying a rug without knowing something about who made it, so its nice to have a resource like this.

  4. That's a fantastic website. I'm getting the poppy carpet and a chess set for Gene!

  5. That poppy carpet is beautiful!


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