Guide to Antique Rug Foundation
Learning about how rugs are made – rug foundation
The Antique Rug Foundation – In technical terms, the “rug foundation” is comprised of the warps and the wefts, and the vertical and horizontal yarns upon or into which the pile or (which is the “face” of the rug) is woven. On the loom, the warps run vertically, while the wefts run horizontally, alternating over and under each successive warp.
Essentially the rug foundation is the substructure that supports the pile or flat-woven facing, and also serves to hold the entire rug together.
The rug foundation, i.e. the warps and the wefts, may be made entirely of wool, cotton, or silk, or some combination thereof. Some rugs have wool warps and cotton wefts; others have the reverse. Warps are generally made up of plied yarns of either wool, cotton, or silk.
Wefting can be unplied or plied, and in the latter case it can combine these different materials. It should be noted that the rug foundation is generally indicative of the overall quality of the construction of the rug in question.
After all, a rug foundation is functionally similar to any other foundation, insofar as it is quite literally the basic unit of the piece upon which the rest is built (and upon which the ultimate results depend). The history of the craft of fine rug making is as long as it is unique, and as interesting as it is culturally significant for those people for whom rug making has been so important for so long.