India has a long, storied textile tradition and is home to thousands of highly skilled weavers, but not all rugs created there are equal. Tantuvi believes in full transparency when it comes to our materials, processes, and practices, so that you’ll never have to second-guess the superior quality, sustainability, and ethics of our products.
Tantuvi’s rugs begin as designs created in the company’s Brooklyn studio, under the shared creative direction of Rao and artist Adam Sipe. Sometimes Rao finds a detail in one of Sipe’s paintings and transforms it through sketching, collage, or digital manipulation. Other times Sipe takes a photograph or an animation and abstracts it into a pattern that plays with the perception of depth and space. The couple also incorporates inspirations like the colors of India’s desert landscapes, and motifs found in folk art from around the world.
Each design is brought to life by the master weavers and their community of 26 families in Rajasthan. First the master weavers evaluate it and offer feedback and modifications, then they delegate it to one of the families based on particular skill sets. Every home has a courtyard with at least one panja loom, where Tantuvi’s rugs are woven from high-quality cotton sourced just four hours to the north. The yarn is colored by hand and any that remains after a rug is made can be saved and reused for future production, resulting in a process with little to no waste. After the weaving is completed, the rugs are cut from the loom and sent back to the city to be washed and have their edges hand-bound.
Containing 30% more cotton than average, the rugs created by Tantuvi’s weavers have been known to last for decades; historical sites in the area display flatweaves from 100 years ago that are still in impeccable condition, reflecting the community’s enduring aspiration to the highest ideals of their craft.
We use hemp because it’s incredibly strong, naturally antimicrobial, and highly sustainable: It uses less water than cotton to grow, and in many cases is more difficult to stain or damage, giving it a particularly long lifespan. Our hemp is grown pesticide-free in Northeast India.
Because our cotton is so finely spun, and so tightly woven on our panja looms, our cotton rugs use 30% more fiber than the average flatweave, making them more durable and comfortable than most. Our cotton is grown in North India, then hand-spun and hand-dyed in Rajasthan before being delivered to our villages for weaving.
The type of cotton we use with our shuttle looms is a heavier fiber, creating rugs that are five times thicker and much more water absorbent than our standard flatweaves, which makes them perfect for the kitchen or bath. They can also be put in a washing machine (without an agitator).
For our ultra-soft silk rugs, we use yarn made from discarded luxury silk that’s sourced from all over India, then cleaned and re-spun. The yarn comes from the Indian state of Bihar, and rugs made with it have a greater visual depth thanks to the varied reclaimed fibers.
We only use Indian Bikaner Wool, which is increasingly hard to find, but is produced only four hours away from our weaving villages, giving it a smaller carbon footprint than imported New Zealand wool. These rugs are truly local, from fiber to finishing.
We work with a third-generation family-run dye house in Jaipur, which dyes all of our fiber in small batches, by hand. We use low-impact dyes that contain no toxic chemicals or mordants, require less rinsing, and have a high absorption rate.
At the heart of Tantuvi is Rao’s intense personal connection to India and to her team in India, who provide creative and professional input at all stages of production. For their expertise they are paid fair wages that exceed industry standards. Tantuvi's production partner has also helped fund schools in the area, and has begun contributing to a general village fund that provides capital for community-identified initiatives and needs. When Tantuvi succeeds, the village succeeds, which not only ensures the livelihood of some of India’s most talented artisans, but helps encourage young people to learn the craft, preserving a vital tradition for generations to come.