The value of craftsmanship: weaving techniques

The reason why handmade rugs are objects of fascination and admiration for so many people is that they preserve and embody a millenary cultural legacy. They tell their weavers' stories and convey the traditions passed down from one generation to the next. Creating handmade rugs requires great skill and knowledge of the different traditional techniques of each place.

The following is an overview of the main techniques used by us at nanimarquina. They encompass the artisanal process that Nani Marquina herself fell in love with back in 1992 when she decided to travel to Asia, explore the ancestral techniques of each region and later move her entire production to India, Pakistan and Nepal.

Hand knotted

Handmade on a vertical loom on which the thread is tightly knotted to the warp, this traditional technique from India, Iran, Pakistan, Tibet, Turkey and the entire Caucasus region is a slow and costly process (the knots are tied one by one, row by row) that enables highly detailed designs to be created. The more knots there are, the greater the rug's density, pattern definition, durability and, consequently, value.

The shape and thickness of the knots (Turkish, Persian, Indo-Nepalese or Soumak) differentiate the various kinds of hand-knotted rugs. The Persian method is the most traditional and each knot must be cut by hand. An example of this technique is the Persian collection, a durable, high-density rug of unsurpassed exquisiteness to the touch. The Indo Nepal technique involves a rod for faster knot cutting. Soumak is a weave in which the threads are knotted in the warp, giving the rug the appearance of being made up of braids.

Hand loomed

Made on a vertical or horizontal loom where the weft threads are interwoven with those attached to the warp loom, this traditional technique allows for a wide range of finishes, from simple, fine designs involving cut pile or loops, to more elaborate textures. It is used to create Dhurries, flat-structured rugs originating in India. nanimarquina's Tres collection is an example of this technique. An exercise of transparency in which the structure of the weave is shown almost pedagogically and without fear of revealing the warp.

The hand-loomed technique is also used to create Kilim rugs. Originally from Pakistan, these thin, pile-free rugs are known for their high density, durability, strength and lightness. One of the main differences between Kilims and Dhurries weave rugs is that the weft in a Kilim is much tighter and denser. These rugs are presented in a variety of colors and often in geometric patterns. An example of this technique is the Losanges rug designed by the Bourullec brothers. This unique piece consists of 13 colors perfectly blended in a composition of different-sized rhombuses.

Hand tufted

This weave can be used to create rugs in a variety of formats, patterns and pile heights. A hand-tufting gun is used to punch threads onto a fabric that has previously been stretched across a frame. Wool is the fiber traditionally used in tufting due to its excellent properties and strength. These high-density and durable rugs are ideal for busy areas.

Curves and flowing patterns can be woven using this technique, allowing drawings and graphic designs to be transferred accurately. Such is the case of Troupe and Hayon x Nani, two rug collections reflecting the works of artist and designer Jaime Hayon, and the closest thing to creating from a canvas. Tufted rugs also provide natural thermal insulation by trapping air between their fibers, and acoustic insulation by absorbing sound and reducing noise levels.


Embroidery was an art in the medieval Islamic world. A sign of social status in Muslim societies, it was a popular art. This laborious handmade process in Pakistan adds texture and a soft volume that emphasizes the sinuosity of each pattern. Despite its delicate appearance, it is a sturdy technique suitable for both residential and commercial use. Characteristic of this technique is Jaime Hayon's Silhouette rug made by chain titch embroidery, also available in tapestry for vertical hanging.