Every Enkay rug is the product of over 90 pairs of hands working in concert for no fewer than two months. Our network of over 40,000 artisans is world-renowned and officially recognized for their excellence in fine rug making. It has taken us fifty years to build this network of makers, who over time have become more like family to us.
And because they’re family, we’d like you to get to know them a bit better. Afterall, when you purchase a handmade rug from Enkay, you become part of this family too. While you can read a short profile on each of our artisans at the bottom of each rug’s display page (so you know exactly who it is that crafted your one-of-a-kind rug), we want to honor our weavers front and center over the next few months in our Journal, making it easier for you to learn more about each of these uniquely talented individuals.
So, without further ado, meet our first four featured artisans: Sanju, Koyali, Sunita and Uganta.
Sanju is responsible for weaving the ethereally beautiful Anila rug. But there’s a lot more behind her skill. A deeply proud community member of her hometown, Aspura, Sanju admires the beautiful temples and royal architecture that surrounds her. She also loves the local street food, her favorite being ‘chole bhature’ – fried bread with chickpea curry.
Growing up here, many of her earliest memories involve weaving. Sanju remembers that as a child, she loved the sound of the loom, sitting next to her mother and listening to her regular snips as she cut yarn off after each knot. Today, Sanju is the one at the loom with her own child at her side, a wonderful continuation of tradition and history.
Another Aspura local, Koyali’s love for the outdoors and passion for the changing seasons makes poetry of her everyday way of speaking. For example, she says that she weaves rugs “like winters”. And when you see and feel the Kinn rug in all its handcrafted beauty, you can understand what she means. Behind her gentle nature, however, is a fierce determination. Koyali credits weaving for creating the life she loves, and the regular wages she receives for her craft from Enkay that allow her to feed her family and send her three children to school. An equally kind and dedicated individual, Koyali’s husband works as a teacher for the village’s underprivileged children.
“This works gives new meaning to my life,” and Koyali speaks from experience, evident when she reveals her favorite quote: “If you trust yourself, everything in this world is possible.” The tenacity and wisdom of our artisans never ceases to amaze us, and this quote is something we can all benefit from repeating to ourselves.
Most kids around the world can relate to why Sunita’s children say that their mother’s exceptional skill at the loom is both a blessing, and a curse. (And you’ll soon discover the reason.) From the tiny tehsil (township) of Lawan, Sunita’s regular wages from weaving mean that she can afford to send her children to school where they can learn and see their friends. These wages also mean the promise of their favorite treat – salty store-bought instant noodles – which Sunita buys for them once or twice a month. However, even noodles cannot overcome the downside of a gifted weaver for a mom: “My work has taught me the basics of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. Now, there’s never a day when my kids can escape homework!”
As the artisan behind one of our jute rugs, Udaya, it makes sense that Sunita lives in Lawan; as behind its unassuming appearance, the tehsil hides one of the world’s greatest industries. Chances are, if you’ve ever purchased a true, fine jute rug, it was woven by a world-class artisan in Lawan.
The weaver behind one of our most luxurious, best-selling handmade rugs Sambhar is Uganta, who proudly states, “If a woman wants, she can do anything in the world.” And although her small daughter Priya may not know this statement as anything other than a pep talk from mom, Uganta is living proof. Uganta’s wages from weaving paid for the roof over her family’s heads and allows her to send her three children to school – it’s hard to believe that this is a woman who received no formal education with all her achievements.
And it’s not just Uganta’s children who benefit from the learning at school. “My children teach me something new every day.” During our catch up with Uganta, we learned that they had just taught her about the solar system, something that has changed the way she sees the world. For years when she looked at her rugs, she saw the ridges left by the wind in sand. A perfect way to describe the soft linear design of the Sambhar rug she is responsible for weaving. Now however, she sometimes sees the surface of the moon, or a starry night sky where there’s no room for the dark.
We hope you enjoyed reading a bit more about our artisans and their stories, and that you can see that when you purchase an Enkay rug, it really is so much more than a piece of décor for your home. Your support means that our artisans get to do what they love every day while providing for themselves and their families, and as a thank you to you they weave their blessings into every rug they make so that you may experience only joy while it’s in your home.