Jacobs Debuts Silk Road Weaves
February 4, 2008,
It is only natural that color, rather than pattern, is Barbara Jacobs' guide in creating her new line of rugs.
Silk Road Weaves is the title of this line — Jacobs' initial program that has been in development over the past year, but a brainchild of hers since the mid-1990s when she first got the idea to break into textiles.
"Along the way, many years ago, I got involved for a while in some freelance textile design and surface design," explained Jacobs, who is accredited by the International Association of Color Consultants/Designers. "I got into fabric dyeing, and in the course of that became acquainted with rugs and textiles and loved it, and loved learning about historical carpets."
In 1996 she met one of the founders of the Rugmark USA Foundation, the international nonprofit organization devoted to ending child labor in the handmade carpet industry in South Asia.
"That's when I started to think this could happen," Jacobs said. "So I got to work on it while still doing my color consultations."
Jacobs then met with a Nepalese rug factory owner while the latter was in Boston giving a business-related presentation at Harvard. "I got inspired," she said.
Today, Jacobs works with that factory to create her line, which she describes as "100% handmade from the farm to the finished product." Each piece is handmade, hand-knotted of wool from Himalayan sheep. Some pieces include allo, a plant fiber found in the Himalaya Mountains, and others incorporate Chinese silk for accents in patterns.
The result is five collections in the current Silk Road Weaves line. Each group includes roughly two to 15 patterns and color combinations that vary in theme, fiber construction and palette. Custom rugs are also available upon request.
"Basically, the work I do is to treat each rug like a canvas," Jacobs said. "I think of it like artwork."
In these nascent stages of the company, Jacobs has partnered with K. Powers & Co., an upscale Boston-area rug showroom that works with architects and interior designers, to showcase her wares.
"I'm looking for different ways to build the line," Jacobs said.
She is considering adding hand-tufted rugs to her assortment in the future. "That would be different and it would use different designs and themes than the hand-knotted rugs," she said.