Over 40% of our inventory is naturally dyed. Natural dyes are made from a combination of hand-gathered roots, tree bark, nut shells, fruit skins, vegetable skins and dried flowers. Natural dyes are quite costly since gathering and preparing all the ingredients for the dye takes much time. In addition, the dyeing process for just one bundle of wool can take as long as two weeks. Natural dyes are also quite tricky to produce as a constant temperature needs to be maintained to achieve a consistent absorption of the dye.
Using safe synthetic dyes that are very resistant to fading and bleeding, the wool is dyed by one of the following methods: boiled for more than six hours in a large copper pot or steamed in a water bath. When dyed in the copper pots, the copper acts as a fixative to help the dye adhere to the wool. Steaming reduces the dyeing time to two to three hours and generally produces colors with better accuracy. The dyeing process “pre-shrinks” the wool before it is knotted and prevents additional shrinking after the rug is completed.
Three Dyeing Centers
The wool for all Bunyaad rugs is dyed at three dyeing centers located in Lahore, Pakistan’s second largest city and home to the artisans’ warehouse. A centralized dyeing system insures color consistency throughout all rugs. A dye master, who acts like a head cook, oversees the process. The dye master knows all the “recipes” for making each dye and with expert skill alters his recipe for a certain color to accommodate variations in the wool. Once the wool is dyed, it is taken to the various village centers and stored until it is dispensed to families for use.